Mission UGM drop-in centre closing

The North Railway Avenue facility's doors will shut Aug. 1

The local Union Gospel Mission (UGM) drop-in centre on North Railway Avenue is closing its doors Aug. 1.

A lack of finances and a reassessment of the organization’s “strategic priorities” lead the board of directors to decide June 28 to shutter the site, according to UGM spokeswoman Keela Keeping.

A press release issued Thursday morning said UGM’s three main priorities are to grow broader community influence networks, establish more drug and alcohol-free housing, and to help vulnerable women in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

And citing “finite finances … UGM does not anticipate being adequately donor funded to the point whereby it can meet all three of these objectives as well as continue to operate the drop-in facility” in Mission, which costs $338,000 annually to run.

“We can’t do it all,” said Keeping, who added that the majority of the services offered — referrals to other agencies and counselling — will continue to be offered in Mission, but through Lydia Home recovery house.

The three people employed at the drop-in centre have been offered other jobs within UGM.

The Mission UGM drop-in centre opened in 1993.

UGM has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for more than 70 years throughout the region. UGM provides counselling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction.