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Helping the homeless

Mission brings hope … and way out

The Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission conducts outreach programs to help the homeless. Photo credit: Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission

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From a borrowed soup kettle 87 years ago, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission began feeding and caring for those needing help during the Great Depression.

"It is a passionate community of people who follow Jesus in His relentless, redeeming love for all people," said Hillary Dunham, director of marketing. "Our mission is to serve, rescue and transform those in greatest need through the grace of Jesus Christ."

That need is homelessness.

To address the root causes in order to break the cycle of this problem, the Mission meets urgent physical needs, builds relationships with those it helps, and offers long-term recovery programs.

While the Mission's work is focused on the cities of Seattle, Kent and Burien, it also conducts homelessness outreach operations throughout King County.

Seven percent of the men and women helped identified as veterans, and this statistic matches the greater King County's most recent Count Us in Survey where 830 of the total 11,199 people contacted had served in the military.

"We seek to be a consistent friend to those who are isolated and in need," Dunham continued.

"We go where people live, listen to their stories, and regularly connect with each person to restore dignity and help move people to healthy, thriving lives."

Last year, the Mission provided the following services:

  • 857,439 meals served (2,350 per day)
  • 77 percent of those enrolled in recovery programs graduated
  • 476 individuals rescued off the streets due to outreach efforts
  • 41,645 attended Bible studies and devotionals
  • 149,719 nights of safe shelter provided

There is a cost, however, and this is where the Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, plays a role.

Dunham pointed out that in fiscal year 2018, 77 cents of every dollar was invested directly into programs which provide homeless individuals with food, shelter and other care.

As to the remaining 25 cents -- 13 cents of every dollar is used for fundraising and the remaining covers administrative costs.

"We love and care for thousands of our homeless neighbors every day," noted Dunham.

To illustrate the Mission's work, she related a story about a person named Gus.

A high-school dropout, Gus enlisted in the Army. While serving overseas, he began abusing drugs and alcohol.

"When I got discharged, my life really went downhill," he wrote.

Addicted and homeless, he found the Mission and completed one of its programs. 

"With God's help, I've been sober for over two years now. I'm happy and enjoying my life."

Dunham concluded with a simple request: "Give now to help those who have lost so much find HOPE."

The Seattle's Union Gospel Mission's CFC donation number is 33329.

For more information, visit: or call 206.723.0767.

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