From January 2016

Michelle holding her son, Zane

“While I was pregnant, we were living in Spokane, and during that time, I was flying a sign (panhandling). I was sleeping under bridges, and my boyfriend would stay up while I was sleeping to make sure nothing happened to me.

“We have three meals a day here, and I know I have a warm place for me and my son, a safe place, and I think that’s what the important thing is.

“When I came here to UGM, I learned that God is a loving God. He is a forgiving God, and He is full of grace. He has given us a second chance.” – Michelle, UGM Center for Women & Children, Coeur d’Alene

Ron standing in front of truck

“Being out on the streets makes it really hard to sleep because I’d always need to keep my guard up. Often, I’d walk half the night just to find a place to sleep. I was always packing everything I owned on my back. I did panhandle, but that would only go so far. When I got desperate, I would rummage through dumpsters which, many times, would be baking in the sun all day. I never looked anyone in the eye, my head was always down. I was ashamed by my appearance and how I smelled.

“Thanks to Union Gospel Mission, I have hope. I have self-esteem, and I have a future.” – Ron, UGM Men’s Shelter, Spokane

Charlie portrait

“It was hard for me to stay here because I didn’t really like staying indoors … What made me really stay here was the fellowship with the people and how everybody cares for everybody.

“…The most important thing to staying in recovery is the people you hang out with. If you don’t want change, you’re going to go back to the old people. But if you want change, you’re going to find healthy people that believe in the same thing you believe in.” – Charlie, UGM Men’s Recovery
You can find his full story on the UGM blog.

Derrick, founder of Spokane Doesn't Suck

“Spokane Doesn’t Suck was born out of a love for Spokane, paired with being tired of all the anti-Spokane rhetoric that exists in the region. Spokane is a great city that is getting better all the time. The motto “Near Nature, Near Perfect”, while a little cheesy, is entirely true. The community here is a thing of beauty, as evidenced by how people helped each other out during the Great Windstorm of 2015. There are so many individuals and groups in town that are doing things to improve the quality of life in Spokane. It’s a very exciting time to call Spokane home.” – Derrick Oliver, founder of Spokane Doesn’t Suck

[photo by Derek Schave of 1.618 Films]

John, in front of Men's Shelter

“I know where the guys have come from. I have been where they are. I walked through the east door just like they did, I felt the emotions they feel when they first get here. I think that’s one of the best things about it, because I came from where they are, it gives them hope that they can accomplish anything they want.” –John, Men’s Shelter Day Desk

Ashley and father, Chris

“I used to be one of those teenagers who just didn’t care about anything. I went out and did bad things and I hated everyone. On top of that, I used to think that no one loved me and that no one ever would. I was in a deep dark place and had no idea how to get out.

“It’s funny, ’cause the first time I remember meeting Katie (my dad’s wife) and kind of re-meeting my dad, I came down to be in their wedding. At first I wanted nothing to do with either of them. I mean, my dad had basically abandoned me, and I was still trying to get over it.

“It took me less than a day to see that my dad had changed, and Katie just had something about her that drew me in. They both had this kind of light to them, and I didn’t know how to take it.” – Ashley, Spokane

Click here to read Ashley’s story on UGM’s blog.


“I thought freedom was being able to do what I wanted when I wanted, and not be accountable to anybody but myself. I didn’t know what freedom was. I was stuck in this vicious cycle of addiction, and awful choices that just kept me in emotional bondage. I had no idea what freedom was. I hadn’t felt free until about four months ago. The Lord revealed some things about me that I didn’t want to admit to. I was a selfish person, I only thought about myself, and I basically didn’t want help from anybody. Didn’t want to be accountable to anybody but myself. And it wasn’t until I really tried putting Jesus first in my life—that was the beginning of true freedom. It’s the most free I’ve felt in my whole life.” –Kevin, Men’s Recovery

Katherine Emmett

“The best part of nursing is absolutely getting to meet people. You really get the patient interaction and get to develop a rapport and can talk to people, and you really get to learn about them and develop a trust. I’m only here once a week, but we get to talk, and I get to develop that rapport [with the ladies] more quickly in just being here. To be able to be someone trusting that they can talk to has been really cool.” – Katherine, Volunteer in Medical Clinic at Anna Ogden Hall


“I decided I wanted to quit drinking, and a friend of mine told me about this program…I haven’t touched a drop since I’ve been up here, and I’m just trying to do everything I can to get back on my feet and change my surroundings and my life.” – Dale, Men’s Shelter resident



“I’m learning He meets me in every storm. I never knew I had worth.  I never knew I had value.  I never knew I had so much potential, and I believe that’s a gift God gave me.

…I want to model for my daughter what a woman of integrity is and show her that dependence on God is absolutely necessary.

…Before coming here I would wake up feeling like I was just waiting to die.  I don’t feel that way anymore.  I want people to know this place saves lives, reunites families and creates God-dependent, beautiful women.” – Rowan, Center for Women & Children resident