From left ot right: Amy Paige Condon, Adam Van Brimmer, Julie Wade, Martin Fretty, Harold Tessendorf, and Josua Rine during Wednesday’s Brews & Views panel on affordable housing at El Coyote Oyster Bar
BREWS & VIEWS: AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN SAVANNAH
Union Mission’s Director of Operations, Josua Rine, spoke on the the importance of affordable housing at Augest’s edition of Brews & Views.
“Affordable housing is not a challege that is isolated in Savannah and there’s a lot of other communities and it’s incumbent on us as a community to begin to peel back what it will take to make Savannah a high-performing community in the eyes of the government and go out there.”- Josua Rine
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Volunteer from Georgia Southern University
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: UNION MISSION
Spotlight On: Pat Youngquist
Director of Finance
Pat has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Franklin University in Columbus, OH and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL. She attended Fuller Theological Seminary and was ordained as Deacon in the United Methodist Church in 1996 and then as an Elder in 2003.
After leaving the corporate world, Pat has dedicated her lift to the service of others. Most her work has been in administrative service but she also served as a local church pastor for six years. Prior to joining the Union Mission team, Pat worked with United Methodist Churches in the Los Angeles District to form a food collaboration to centralize food support for those in need. She was the Chief Financial Officer for the Claremont School of Theology, and also served with the General Counsel on Finance and Administration in Nashville.
“My husband and I moved to Savannah a year and a half ago. I was working with United Methodist Insurance and felt a call to get out more in the community, to work with an organization that was impacting people’s lives daily.”
Why Union Mission?
“Union Mission has the opportunity and does impact the lives of people that, in the Bible, are often described as ‘the least of these’. They are often people who don’t have a voice and Union Mission provides that voice. Being a part of an organization that can really help people in those kinds of situations is especially meaningful to me.“
Rebuilding your life after years of drug addiction requires determination. When your decision to get clean leaves you and your children homeless, it can be hard to find hope for the future. But Donna, a single mother of two children, found the help and the hope she needed right here at Union Mission.
After 15 years of drug addiction. Donna entered drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Taking the chance the rehabilitation program offered meant leaving her old life behind. She and her two year old son were together in her residential treatment program but, after completing the program, they were homeless.
“When I came into this program, I was pretty hopeless,” Donna says. “I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t even make sense of what these people were telling me – we’re gonna help you, it’s gonna be okay.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Even while she was in rehabilitation, Donna was able to find help at Union Mission.
“I was fleeing a domestic violence situation,” Donna says. “So when I left, I left and I left everything. I came here with the clothes on my back and I wore them for a week straight.”
She reached out to Union Mission and received a voucher for clothes. Later, as she was trying to transition out of her rehabilitation program, she received employment referrals and support as she was trying to find a job. The help she received from Union Mission set her on the right path and gave her the support to be successful.
“I can’t express my gratitude for this program,” Donna says. “If this program wasn’t in place and I had to go back out in the world and I was homeless – I don’t think I could have stayed clean.”
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
After leaving rehabilitation, she reached out to Union Mission to help find permanent housing. Thanks to the Shelter Plus Care program, Donna and her sons found a safe, stable house where they could rebuild their lives as a family.
“This is a second chance for me to be what I’m supposed to be, “Donna says, “and for them to be what they’re supposed to be because with me being in place and being a stable parent, because we have a home to come to, that opens a lot of doors for us, doors we hadn’t had before that.”
Donna says the support she received from Union Mission did more than just get her off the streets. By giving her tools she needed to help herself, Union Mission saved her life. That second chance at a better life is a gift, one that means more to her than she can express.
“It not only save people’s lives, it saves generations’ lives,” Donna says. “I can’t express how important that is to someone like myself because everyone deserves a second chance but we don’t always get it. This program makes that possible.”
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Donna is working to be a peer mentor for those still struggling to leave their addiction and homelessness behind for good.
“I just want to give back, especially to women,” she says. “I want to reach out to those experiencing domestic violence, homelessness, and recovery because usually they go hand in hand. I want to put a face to my story and to show other women that it is attainable. It’s hard work but as long as you want it bad enough, you can get it.”
With the help of Union Mission, Donna and her family were able to leave homelessness behind for good. Thanks to those who donate generously to Union Mission, the support that Donna received is available to those still in need of a helping hand.