Preventing mistakes, partnering in mission, and providing hope for Vancouver
How Union Gospel Mission is caring for the homeless
By Rob Horsley | Monday, August 13, 2012
Photo courtesy Union Gosepl Mission Vancouver.
VANCOUVERLast year, the number of people on the streets doubled in the city of Vancouver. Despite this, Bill Mollard, president of Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver, has seen some positive steps taken towards responding to the crisis.
In Vancouver, there are 306 on the street this year compared to 154 from 2011. However, Mollard states that the actual homeless number is down from the previous year. Over the last five years the number of people on the street has been trending downward as well.
"The good news…is that we have seen some dramatic decreases in homelessness both in shelters and on the street in the last five years," he says. "The challenging news is that, in the last three years it has plateaued. That you would have 306 people still on the street…that's a crisis."
Mollard points to three "P" initiatives that UGM is responding with. The providing of services, partnerships with other organizations, and prevention programs are each playing a role in UGM's response.
Services like added meals and bed space, partnerships with other businesses in the area, and preventative care like the UGM mentorship program are all ways that the ministry is responding to an ongoing need in the city.
Commenting on meeting both the present and future needs of those UGM seeks to help, Mollard offers this analogy: "You have to drive the ambulance to the bottom of the cliff and back, but at the same time you also want to build a guard rail up top."
The mission is to be like Christ in caring for the downtrodden members of society.
"Christ had compassion for the crowds, but he ministered to the individual."
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