Simply Grateful: Steve’s Story

Photo of Steve

 

Article by Amber Mitchell, Intern

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Simply Grateful: Steve’s Story

Steve travelled the states as a carpenter before coming to the Savannah area in 2007, where he began to face challenges with alcohol. His increased drinking eventually led to an incident in which he broke his ankle. Unable to work, and with a cast on his foot and crutches in tow, he became homeless. It was especially difficult being homeless with an injury while being an alcoholic. He could not easily maneuver to organizations offering free-meals, and sometimes went days without food.

“I was probably closer to dying than I care to admit”

After a time, he enrolled and graduated from the Salvation Army’s CSRC program, targeted at addiction. Eventually a friend referred him to Union Mission’s Grace House for further assistance. However, after continuing to drink alcohol and failing a breathalyzer test, he was disenrolled from the 90-day program. Steve was homeless yet again, this time for about 4 months.

Steve later arrived back to Grace House, and is now in the Beyond Grace program. Now sober for 9 months, he says that Union Mission has done so much to change his life, offering housing, mental health counseling, and referring him to receive dental work, among many other things.

“I’m so grateful to be here now”, Steve says.

He believes that having a strong support system, along with the power of prayer, have been key components in his recovery.

His advice to others in similar situations is:

“Breathe in and breathe out just for today, and don’t pick up a drink….it took a long time to lose everything, and it’s gonna take a long time to get it back.”

Steve takes great pride in mentoring newcomers to Grace House, and likes to spread hope and positivity by handing out this quote:

“Never again, will I give up my self-respect, values, spirit, or soul; because of any condition, situation, or misfortune that may come my way. I will stand in the authority that God has ordained for me, as the man and leader of myself and my household. I am the head, and not the tail. I am a Godly man” -Wanda C. Hunter

Help Provide a Fresh Start

Your donation can help someone just like Steve rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind. Your gift today can change lives and provide hope for a better tomorrow.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

Michael Traynor | Board Chair

CHAIRMAN’S COLUMN

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

 

The June 2019 issue of the Beacon magazine,  a  quarterly  publication   of Savannah Morning News, was dedicated to shining a light on the Coastal Empire’s challenges with affordable housing and homelessness. The magazine had in-depth coverage on topics ranging from housing prices and income to mental illness and living wages.

We live in a beautiful place termed a “Destination City” that is diverse with a thriving economy. However, some would argue that Savannah is in a crisis stage with 44% of its residents not being able to find affordable housing.

According to the Chatham County Housing Coalition, the fair market rent for a 2-bedroom in good condition is $996/month. An individual would need to make an annual household income of $39,840 to avoid a cost burden. At the current minimum wage in Georgia, that would take and individual 106 hours per week to afford rent. The numbers don’t add up (see chart below).

While our community is having a con- versation about affordable housing, the reality is people are experiencing home- lessness due to the lack of adequate supply. There are 35 homeless camps serving 250 individuals experiencing homelessness and unfortunately, Sa- vannah has a limited amount of shelter beds to accommodate the high demand.

As a response to  the  current  lev-  els of homelessness, Union Mission partners with people to end their homelessness through housing and supportive services. In 2018, we served: 286 clients in our Emergency Services Program, delivered Commu- nity Mental Health Services to 132 individuals, and provided stable hous- ing for 277 residents in our Permanent Supportive Housing Programs.

This is why the work of Union Mission is so critical in our community and the people that we serve. I am proud to Chair the Board of Directors at Union Mission and advocate on behalf of all those trying to transform their lives and re-enter into the workforce.

I  welcome  your   comments   on  this article and/or the most recent edition of Beacon  magazine. You can find an online version at www.savannahmorningnews.com/beacon 

UNION MISSION PARTNERS WITH THE SAVANNAH BANANAS

UNION MISSION PARTNERS WITH THE SAVANNAH BANANAS

Union Mission Executive Director, Patricia Youngquist and Marketing Coordinator, Emily Bressler

EVENTS

UNION MISSION PARTNERS WITH THE SAVANNAH BANANAS

The Savannah Bananas hosted Union Mission as their featured non- profit this past June. This partnership allowed Union Mission the opportunity to earn a portion of all ticket sales. “We enjoyed talking with community members about Union Mission and our staff had fun with attendees participating in our ‘raffle pong’ game,” said Executive Director, Patricia Youngquist. “Thanks to the community’s continued support, Union Mission was able to generate $1,100 from ticket sales, raffle and donations.”

GIVE WITH CONFIDENCE

Union Mission is a registered 501(C)3 non-profit organization. 85¢ of every dollar donated is used for housing and supportive services that help partner with people to end their homelessness.

WHY HAMMERS DO NOT BUILD HOUSES

WHY HAMMERS DO NOT BUILD HOUSES

Union Mission Director of Operations, Josua Rine, speaking at TEDxSavannah 2019

EVENTS

TEDXSAVANNAH
WHY HAMMERS DO NOT BUILD HOUSES

This past June, the staff, volunteers, and sponsors of TEDxSavannah put on a day-long event that gave individuals and organizations in Savannah a platform to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Union Mission’s Director of Operations, Josua Rine, was one of individuals selected to take the stage at the event to speak about a subject that he is deeply passionate about—housing the chronically homeless.

 

 

“My hope is that those in attendance and those who watched the talk on YouTube were left contemplating “why hammers do not build houses, that ballots do,” said Rine. “Until the voters of our community demand that our elected officials, business leaders, and social service providers build, operate and maintain a more robust stock of planned, non-segregated affordable housing in our community, we will continue to have community members that live without a house. However, I am confident that Savannah can shape the synergy required to produce a robust stock of affordable housing, making a positive and progressive impact on our homeless population.” 

GIVE WITH CONFIDENCE

Union Mission is a registered 501(C)3 non-profit organization. 85¢ of every dollar donated is used for housing and supportive services that help partner with people to end their homelessness.

A NEW SCHOOL YEAR KICKS OFF

A NEW SCHOOL YEAR KICKS OFF

Pat Youngquist | Executive Director

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COLUMN

A NEW SCHOOL YEAR KICKS OFF

As the new school year kicks off, many children are excited about the simple joys of going back to school, while others unfortunately, continue to struggle with simply finding a stable place to call home.

Homelessness is an incredibly stressful life event for the entire family but particularly for children. The Savannah- Chatham County Public School System reported 1,046 homeless students (2018-2019 school year), a 30 percent increase from the previous school year.

At Union Mission, we provide a physical space that allows our families to be safe and comfortable so that they can then concentrate on the things that will help them to move beyond their homelessness.

Over the past 5 years alone, the Magdalene Project at Union Mission, has served 370  homeless  children,  240 of them were school age at the time of entry. Without the Magdalene Project, many of these families would have been living throughout the city doubled up with family or friends, in uninhabitable spaces, cars or home less camps increasing their exposure to environmental dangers and academic instability.

As the homeless count within the school system continues to rise, there will be an increased need to provide emergency shelter and supportive services to these individuals. I encourage you to help make a child feel settled in the new school year by making a gift to the Magdalene Project or by sending a Gift Card to Union Mission to be used for the seasonal needs of these families.

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow