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Union Rescue Mission

August 21, 2010 | By Sam Allen and Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times
The Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles will begin charging on a voluntary basis for some of its beds because of overwhelming demand triggered by the recession and recurring visits by some guests, shelter officials said Friday. In September, the homeless shelter will begin charging $7 a bed for up to 25 beds for men and 25 for women, said the Rev. Andy Bales, director of the mission at 545 S. San Pedro St. The shelter has 268 beds for men, and 208 for women. From the fees collected, $5 a day will be used to pay for programs the mission runs, and $2 will be set aside as savings for the guest, Bales said.
November 26, 2013 | By Gale Holland
Want to volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner on skid row? Take a number - for next year. Volunteer sign-ups at several downtown shelters closed in late September or October. During the final days before the holiday, coordinators were turning away up to 50 callers a day - some of whom insisted they would show up Thanksgiving Day, with or without an invitation. "It's like getting a concert ticket," Midnight Mission spokeswoman Mai Lee said. "You have to sign up as soon as it's posted.
June 17, 1986 | EDWARD J. BOYER, Times Staff Writer
Basketball is called the city game, and you can't get much more "city" in Los Angeles than a parking lot south of the Union Rescue Mission on Main Street. The mission's chaplain, Jim Bray, thought putting up a backboard and basket there would be just the thing to let some of the 150 men at the mission work up a sweat, burn off some tension. After the lot's owner agreed to let the men play after the lot closed at 6 p.m.
October 30, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
When people talk about all the new activity in downtown L.A., they probably are not referring to the 100 or so people in running gear who recently gathered before dawn at a park near Chinatown. They were there to run a mile around Los Angeles State Historic Park - some running that far for the first time - and launch a chapter of an organization aimed at helping them cast off adjectives such as "homeless" or "jobless. " The group, a nonprofit called Back On My Feet operates in 10 other cities around the country, and on Monday it began its local effort to fight homelessness with running.
Michael Teague, president and chief executive officer of Union Rescue Mission, died unexpectedly Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hollywood. Teague, who was rushed to the hospital after being stricken at his Hollywood Hills home, was 41 and died of undetermined causes. Union Rescue Mission is the largest inner-city rescue mission in the nation, serving 2,500 meals a day and providing beds for 1,000 men, women and children each night.
September 1, 1995
Sporting a suit and tie, Larry G. Williams stood before an attentive crowd. Homeless just five months ago, he told the story of his downward spiral, from family life to drug addiction and the streets. "I thought I was lost for the rest of my life," Williams, 45, said after his speech during the dedication this week of a $300,000 learning center at the Union Rescue Mission in Downtown Los Angeles.
October 12, 1989 | CHARLES WOO, Charles Woo is chairman of the Central City East Assn. and
A shocking process is under way to move hundreds of homeless men who seek shelter from the elements each night in downtown Los Angeles. The city's Community Redevelopment Agency is enticing the Union Rescue Mission with millions of taxpayer dollars to encourage it to find a new home. Why does the CRA want to give the Rescue Mission $6.5 million to buy a new home and then millions more in payment for its Main Street facility, where it has served the homeless for more than 70 years? It's simple.
Sparking protests from the homeless and their advocates, the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles' skid row is closing its emergency overnight shelter for single women to save money. "It really rips us to do this," said Warren Curry, president of the mission. "It's dollars, just simple dollars. We're shifting to cover the most critical need today, and that is women with children." The Union Rescue Mission, at 545 S. San Pedro St.
"Merry Christmas. Hats off please!" It was a greeting repeated hundreds of times Saturday by men in dark suits signifying passage from a world of filthy concrete and predatory faces to a sanctuary of warm food and loving care.
In the massive kitchen at a skid row mission, Harry Keller is hosing down plates slick with turkey gravy and pans speckled with syrupy bits of sweet potatoes. He's sloshing water all over his neat gray slacks. It's Thanksgiving Day, and this is what volunteers are for. But it's also Keller's regular day to give thanks for a life that could have ended on the streets long ago.
January 16, 2013 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
One of the newest hot spots for filming in the San Fernando Valley is a 71-acre former retirement community featuring lodge-style residences and medical buildings, surrounded by oaks, redwoods and pines, on the edge of the Angeles National Forest - owned and operated by the Union Rescue Mission. On a chilly Tuesday morning, operations manager Scott Johnson was barreling a red golf cart through the sprawling hillside facility, known as Hope Gardens Family Center, his two-way radio crackling.
March 31, 2012 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
As evening falls, a dazed woman with a gangrenous thumb spreads a blanket over a row of plastic crates to make a bed on the urine-soaked sidewalk. As many as 10 people are camping along this stretch of pavement on 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles. Their belongings - tents, sleeping bags, shopping carts, a leather chair, at least two microwaves and piles of clothing - nearly cover the concrete. Rats scuttle in the gutter. A bony man lights up a crack pipe. Scenes like these had all but disappeared several years ago when the Safer City Initiative brought 50 additional police officers to the 50 gritty blocks known as skid row. Crime rates dropped, homeless encampments were cleared and the street population shrank.
December 6, 2011 | Sandy Banks
The hard-core Occupy L.A. crowd is still at it, even though its encampment is gone. Protesters marched through downtown this weekend and rallied Monday at City Hall. But the hard-luck Occupy L.A. contingent is back to life as it was before — sleeping on cardboard pallets on filthy streets and crowding skid row shelters for meals. It's impossible to know how many Occupy L.A. protesters came from the ranks of skid row homeless. The skid row folks were considered a management issue in the tent-city enclave, running off more genteel protesters with rough language and raucous behavior.
June 25, 2011 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
Officials at one of the largest nonprofit homeless shelters in downtown Los Angeles say they can no longer operate government-funded programs because the costs are not fully covered and it takes months to get paid. Andy Bales, president of Union Rescue Mission, said no one would be forced onto the streets because of the decision. But nine families who are in transitional housing in South Los Angeles may have to move into the mission's main shelter on downtown's skid row until alternative placements can be found.
March 22, 2011 | Sandy Banks
It ought to be easy to decide whom to root for in a feud between these two guys: the crusading cop, champion of clean streets and quiet nights, and the drug-dealing ex-con, hell-bent on living outside the law. But when skid row is your vantage point, it's not as simple as it sounds. Last week I went on a ride along with Deon Joseph, the LAPD's lead officer in skid row, which harbors more homeless people than any other neighborhood in the nation. In my column I mentioned Joseph's effort to get rid of a collection of tents parked on a block of San Julian Street, across from the Union Rescue Mission.
March 15, 2011 | Sandy Banks
I was five minutes into my skid row ride-along when I wound up alone in an idling police van, watching LAPD Officer Deon Joseph handcuff a drunk for raising a ruckus inside the Union Rescue Mission. We had barely gotten rolling again when the security guard at a residential hotel across the street flagged him down. A tenant, recently paroled, was accused of stealing his neighbor's welfare benefits card. I went inside with Joseph this time. A few minutes later, I saw a speeding patrol car whiz by outside.
May 11, 2010 | By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
On Monday night's dinner menu at the Union Rescue Mission: tacos made from elk, deer, sheep, wild pig, black bear and antelope. For pescatarians, there were yellow tail, tilapia and tuna tacos. Vegetarians were out of luck. About 250 pounds of fresh game meat was donated for the feast, sponsored by the Sportsman Channel as a part of its national "Hunt. Fish. Feed." initiative. Most diners were unfazed by the rustic fare. Many skid row residents who eat at shelters are used to diets that vary depending on what has been donated that week — from day-old doughnuts to Dodger dogs.
Nineteen people who ate shark for lunch at Los Angeles' Union Rescue Mission were rushed to the hospital Friday with food poisoning, while eight others were treated and released outside the Skid Row charity house, Los Angeles City Fire Department officials said. The shark was served to 43 mission staff members and transients taking part in live-in recovery programs for alcoholism and drug dependency, mission President Warren Currie said.
December 26, 2010 | By Alexander Zavis, Los Angeles Times
Until a week ago, Veronica Long was wondering how she was going to explain to her four children that Santa might not make it this year. Her husband, Jonathan, used to make a good living as a music engineer and producer. But when the economy tanked two years ago, work dried up and he was forced to pawn his equipment. For a while, the family rented a room from a friend in Corona. But when the friend was evicted earlier this year, they suddenly were homeless. They are now staying in a room at the Union Rescue Mission on downtown Los Angeles' skid row. Last week, the shelter converted its chapel into a Christmas store where parents could pick out free toys and books for their kids.
December 9, 2010 | By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Sofia Russell opened the door to Apartment 404 and stepped inside. Sunlight cascaded through two large windows, and the walls gleamed with a fresh coat of soft yellow paint. Russell, 67, took one glance around, nodded and asked, "May I move in tomorrow?" Not quite. But soon. Next week, Russell and dozens of other once-homeless women who live in permanent supportive housing at the Downtown Women's Center will relocate to the center's new home: a beautifully renovated former shoe factory in the heart of skid row. At 67,000 square feet, the new facility on South San Pedro Street is twice the size of the original location a few blocks away.
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