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Sacramento Union Gospel Mission is Saving Lives of the Homeless and Lost

A successful homeless program involves work, commitment, accountability and sometimes tough love

By Katy Grimes, January 13, 2022 12:07 pm

Union Gospel Mission Sacramento takes in dozens of drug addicted homeless men every year, helps them get sober, educated, acquire skills, learn jobs, and graduates them back into society. They could teach cities and counties how to do this.

Faith. Hope. Charity. And discipline.

The Globe met with Pastor Tim Lane who runs the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Sacramento. He gave a tour of their facilities, and we talked for two hours about the work they do at the Mission, and why it works.

He explained: “To see God take someone from the hard life of homelessness and the streets, and reintegrate them into a warm, loving, community of fellow believers.”

As they say on their website, they have been “restoring dignity to broken lives for 60 years by providing meals to hungry men, women, and children.”

Union Gospel Mission offers food, clothing, showers and beds to the homeless living on the street not yet ready to join a program of change. The in-house life-changing program is only for men, but they hope to be able to provide a similar program to women some day.

“We feed 8,500 to 9,000 meals a month to the homeless, and even continued during COVID lockdowns,” Pastor Lane said.” During Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, the mission prepares 440 food boxes to families unable to adequately feed their children, and they give away 300-holiday food boxes with all the trimmings.

They take donations of clothing and household items, and collect, sort, and distribute this clothing and necessities 365 days a year in their men’s and women’s clothing closets.

Pastor Lane said he is often accused of “supporting” the homeless as some sort of “advocate.” While he said he loves all of them, in or out of the program or on the streets, they don’t have the right to live on the streets doing whatever they want.

Of the Mission, “We are not a welfare state. We don’t hand out tents, and they should not be allowed to live on the streets anyway,” Pastor Lane said. Notably he added, “We are responsible for the sidewalk (legally), but aren’t allowed to move tents. I don’t believe in letting them live on the streets. I’m not some homeless advocate.”

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