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Grant Will Help Union Gospel Mission Purchase More Beds

Union Gospel Mission

In recent weeks, the number of people seeking shelter and support from the Union Gospel Mission has increased dramatically — another haunting effect of the coronavirus outbreak on our community.

As of last week, the downtown homeless shelter was serving 200 people daily — an increase of 30 percent from earlier this year. While all guests still receive meals, spiritual support and have access to shower facilities, the increase in numbers have left many without a bed to sleep in.

When Eric Weber, Union Gospel CEO, had to make room for guests to sleep on the floor, he turned to the Community Foundation for help. Weber submitted an application to the Foundation's new COVID-19 Response Grant Program, an emergency grant program for nonprofits who have seen an extraordinary increase in demand for services and/or need emergency operating support due to the pandemic.

The Community Foundation approved the application, awarding a grant to help the Union Gospel Mission purchase more beds.

From Weber's viewpoint, the grant will provide those he serves with a pathway to hope.

Locally purchased beds are delivered to the Union Gospel Mission.
The Mission has seen a 30 percent increase in the number of guests it serves.

"This grant helps the people in our community get off the floor and into a bed during a time like this," he said. "When people don’t have anything and we give them a place to sleep, they at least have something. This grant (is helping) us love out loud in a tangible way to those in need."

Patrick Gale, vice president for community investment, said local nonprofits like Union Gospel Mission — organizations who are dedicated to serving the area's most vulnerable populations — are weathering unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19.

The Response Grant Program is designed to help, he said.

"We're committed to deploying resources and support to help our nonprofits during this difficult time," Gale said. "That includes our emergency grant program as well as efforts to build connections and create shared synergies among nonprofit leaders through initiatives like our twice-weekly Zoom meetings. We're all in this together. And by working together with compassion and ingenuity, we will get through this."