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summer 2015


A quarterly publication sharing the stories of those who are beating the battle of homelessness with the support and care of the programs provided at Union Mission.

Cramped for clean: The

Laundry struggle at UMI

Photo by Casey Jackson

Photo by Casey Jackson

By Marilyn Jones Armstrong

This summer saw the launch of a campaign for

a new laundry center in Grace House. With 56
residents generating 15 to 20 loads a day, the
current household washers and dryers simply
cannot keep up with the demands. The volume
of laundry created on a daily basis has been hard
on our existing old, non-commercial units. It
is a struggle, and we have often resorted to air
drying, even draping wet clothes on any available surface in the laundry area. Our campaign
goal is to raise $12,000 so that we can purchase
a commercial washer and dryer to ensure our
residents have the clean towels, fresh linens and
washed clothes they need.
Of prime importance is ensuring the health and
safety of all our residents. A first step in the intake process is washing and drying all clothing
and any bedding they may have with them to
ensure cleanliness and to control contamination. New arrivals bring in pollen and animal
dander even bedbugs that can compromise the health of other individuals in our facility. Washing and drying sheets, blankets and
towels, in addition to clothing, for this many
people is a gargantuan task. Winter brings in
additional blankets and sleeping bags, adding
extra stress to our current washers and dryers.
(Continued on page 3)

Union Mission helps Jerry back on his feet

By Andrea Six

It isnt always a long downfall to homelessness; sometimes its sudden.

Your wife leaves, depression kicks in, a gambling problem develops,
the bipolar disorder you were diagnosed with as a teenager becomes
a problem again and when your car suddenly breaks down, you cant
afford to fix it. At least thats the case with Jerry, a former antique shop
owner and head of a recycling business from Fredrick, Maryland.
I needed $1700 to fix the truck and I couldnt get it, said Jerry. So
I lost my truck and everything else too. Because without the truck to
go out and make money, I couldnt make the money to fix the truck.
One of Jerrys friends offered to help him start over and with the help
of a church, Jerry made is way on a bus to Savannah, but when he got
here his friend was nowhere to be found.
I got down here and I was just stuck, said Jerry. No place to go,
didnt know anybody, not a clue about where I was at.
After three days of sleeping on the streets, Jerry found Union Mission
and was able to get a bed at the Grace House, Union Missions 90-day
program designed to offer immediate relief for those living on the
I was lucky enough that they had a bed available that I was allowed

to come in, said Jerry, who struggles with depression and has a bipolar
(Continued on page 3)


Hodge Foundation Grant
Union Mission was granted a generous
amount by the Hodge Foundation to expand their prison re-entry and Beyond
Grace programs.
With this grant, Union Mission plans to
renovate space at its Fahm Street campus
to transform the administrative offices
into dormitory space to support clients
who require additional time to transition
from homelessness, through the Beyond
Grace program, or out of the state prison system, via the Re-Entry Partnership
Housing (RPH) program.
This will make room for 28 new beds,
which will provide Union Mission with
an additional 10,220 shelter nights. Accommodated, clients will be provided
employment, mental health counseling,
and educational services daily by human
services professionals equipped with
empirical-based interventions that lead
to real opportunities for social recovery
and a hopeful return to self-sufficiency.
Additional residential space would allow Union Mission to double the only
prison reentry program in the Chatham
Country area that provides wrap around
recovery services in the areas of employment, education and mental health
counseling. Other programs in the area
provide only temporary bed space.
In addition to the dormitory space, renovation plans include upgrading one restroom to current ADA compliance and
restoring another restroom to full usage,
which will allow Union Mission to serve
both existing residents and new residents at a higher level.
For more information about the different programs and projects going on at
Union Mission, go to

Welcome to the CONNECTION

As I viewed the current UWCE
(United Way of the Coastal Empire) campaign video several times
recently, with an extra focus on the
segment featuring Union Mission,
two things jumped out that Id like
to share with you. I hope you will
see these reflected throughout this
edition of The Connection.
The first is that Union Mission continues to provide a valuable, critical, life-changing service to many
in our community who are most
in need of assistance. Whether its Rudys compelling story (captured in
the video) of navigating an amazing life change, or the impact UMI is
having on Jerry whos featured in this issue, the work we do is meaningful and makes a difference for our clients and our community. Our
UMI team earns the credit and deserves the recognition for these results,
which are achieved through their tireless, dedicated and often sacrificial
effort. Were excited that our work will include an increased capacity to
serve clients through our Grace House mens shelter as we undertake a
renovation project converting administrative office space into resident
living areas. The 28 additional beds will enhance UMIs Prison Re-Entry
and Transitional Housing Programs with significant collaboration and
support from our Counseling Center Program Staff.
My second observation is that UMI is truly blessed by the wide-ranging
support we receive for our work from across the community. Our efforts
are accelerated through inclusion in the UWCE video and by the investment of those who have either underwritten a portion of the renovation
project, or provided essential in-kind services for it. Numerous volunteers individuals and groups bring their energy and their presence
in service to our clients and in support of our staff throughout UMIs
programs. Our donors and financial contributors (individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations or grant funders) provide the resources required for us to perform client services. Our partnerships and collaborations with other organizations committed to addressing and resolving the
issues facing the homeless in our community, such as with the Chatham
Savannah Authority for the Homeless, give our voice and message greater
reach and impact when delivered together rather than in isolation.
As you read on, please consider expanding your effort and support of
UMI as we continue forward by joining us for the first time if youve not
already done so. There is much work that remains to be done, but we can
complete the task, when working together.
-Steve Allison


Union Mission helps Jerry back on his feet

Board of Directors

(continued from page 1)

Bill Lattimore
Lattimore Company

Patrick Monahan
Governomics, LLC

Vice Chair
David Paddison
Seacrest Partners

Ira P. Berman
Gulfstream Aerospace

Frances Kaminsky
Retired, South College

Thats kind of been my whole goal in getting here: stabilize myself, get my
health issues taken care of, get a truck and get back into business.

Dr. Linda Bleicken

Armstrong State

Renee Kennedy

Jerry is currently living at Beyond Grace, a transitional housing program that

works to motivate residents to be more self-sufficient so they are able to move
towards independent living on their own, and works as an RA at Union Missions Grace House.

William L. Cathcart

disorder. As far as the shelters go, Grace House is the best place to be; they give
you the most freedom, they give you the chance to make the most of your time
and I was lucky enough to get in here.
After just one month at Union Mission, Jerry became a Residence Assistant
(RA), taking on the responsibility of serving dinner and snacks to all of the residents. He finished his 90 days at Grace House, moved onto the Beyond Grace
program and has started saving to buy a truck while working to get another
recycling company started.

Christopher Cay
Cay Insurance
Trey Cook
Savannah Tire

Cramped for clean: The Laundry struggle at

Union Mission (continued from page 1)
Clients need clean clothing every day, the same as you and I, for job interviews
and medical appointments. Simply being clean boosts their morale and gives
them one less thing to worry about while struggling to get back on their feet.
With the new equipment as our focus, we also plan to redesign the laundry
center, now cramped and with inadequate lighting, shelving and storage. We
envision a space that will allow us to manage multiple tasks simultaneously,
better serving our clients. Promises of donated time, labor and materials for
the laundry update project are helping keep the dream alive. We know we have
a long way to go, but with the many friends of Union Mission, we can do this!
Staff and supporters are spreading the word, and were counting on our readership to help as well.
Wont you support to the laundry center today? Donate online at our GoFundMe site or mail your check to us
at 120 Fahm Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401. If you have questions or want
to learn more about Union Missions laundry center needs, call Laura Lane
McKinnon, director of development, at (912) 236-7423 x. 1322 or email her at

William T. Daniel, Jr.

Vaden Automotive Group
Dr. Cheryl D. Dozier
Savannah State University
Neilie Dunn
Neilie S. Dunn Public

Michael C. Traynor
Savannah Morning News

LeeAnn Kole
LeeAnn Kole Photography
Dr. Gerald Kramer, DDS
Coastal State Prison
Michael T. McCarthy
Hancock Askew & Co. LLP
Charles F. McMillan, Sr.
McMillan & Associates
Dr. Brian Redmond
Anesthesia Associates
Don L. Waters
Brasseler USA
Stacy B. Watson
GA Ports Authority

Terry L. Enoch
Savannah Impact Program S. Elmo Weeks
Fox and Weeks
Funeral Home
Matthew Gignillliat
Georgia Power
Scott E. Weeks
Fox and Weeks
Margaret Gill
Funeral Home
Memorial University
Medical Center
Matt West
Industrial Technical
Brad Harmon
Services, Inc.
Eric B. Johnson
Hussey Gay Bell
Ben Jones
Thomas & Hutton

LeeAnn Williams
Great Harvest
Bread Company

Recent Donations
An anonymous donor gave a gently-used refrigerator and washing machine to the Barnes Center and dryer to Grace House.
The Mary Allen Lindsey Branan Foundation gave a grant to support the Counseling Center.
Changing Lanez, a military sorority, prepared and delivered lunch to the residents of the Barnes Center.
Wells Fargo Bank gave a grant to support the Culinary Arts training program.
Sophisticated Divas, a local service group, made a Pizza Night possible for the families at Magdalene Project.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church volunteers made care packages and distributed them to area homeless and at-risk individuals.


UNION mission


Volunteer Opportunities
Please contact Lisa Jones at ljones@ or (912) 236-7423
ext. 1317 to discuss current volunteer
or service day opportunities.

Union Missions Wish List

Disposable diapers (in all sizes)
Blankets (twin or queen)
Bath towels & wash cloths
Mens white button down dress
shirts (all sizes, including big &
Khaki, black or navy mens dress
slacks (all sizes)
Black or brown mens dress shoes
(all sizes)
Mens ties
Housewares: dishes, plates, bowls,
silverware and glasses
$10-25 gift cards to McDonalds,
Target or Wal-Mart

Donations & How to Give

Tax-deductible contributions can be
mailed to:
120 Fahm Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Secure donations can also be made online at: by clicking on the DONATE button


Chairmans Reflections
Remembering Ben Barnes
Union Mission has received many blessings
over the years but none more precious than
the support and friendship of Ben and Bettye
Barnes. We lost Ben recently at the age of 96,
and this loss is now filled with a legacy of his
success as a wonderful father, husband, businessman, veteran/patriot, community leader,
and dear friend to many. Ben will live in our
hearts at Union Mission forever as we extend
our love and prayers to Bettye who continues
to be an inspirational beacon and important
part of our lives and organization. The Union
Mission Ben and Bettye Barnes Center for
women is only one constant reminder of how
they both have touched so many lives for so
many years ... such wonderful people and an
incredible blessing for so many.

Providing a home for the homeless

A Union Mission board member recently mentioned that providing a home for the
homeless often requires much more than the temporary provision of shelter and food
... although these are certainly critically important. In order to escape homelessness,
many need assistance rebuilding their lives which have deteriorated because of bad
circumstances and/or bad decisions, illness and, in many cases, a lack of continuing
relationships with family and friends. This rebuilding process often takes time and
requires heavy lifting from experienced professionals who coordinate an array of
services including counseling, treatment, and mentoring ... services which are most
effectively administered with a consistent dose of care, respect and dignity.

During the year 2014, Union Mission touched many lives, including:

682 individuals who lived in housing managed by Union Mission

More than 800 individuals who received behavioral health services
Approximately 280 individuals who received HIV/AIDS related services
through the Phoenix clinic
More than 700 individuals who received employment services which helped
416 secure jobs, 213 of which were above minimum wage.

This heavy lifting would not have been possible without our dedicated staff and the
generous support of the Savannah area community. This year we need to raise $700,000
of the $3.5 million total Union Mission budget to augment the federal, state and local
grant funds received for the various programs. We are in the midst of our Annual
Fund Campaign and ask you to please consider a donation.
Next year, Union Mission will celebrate its 80th anniversary of service in Savannah ...
let us all keep it going for another 80 years! On behalf of all of us on the Union Mission
board, thank you for your support!
-Bill Lattimore