Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange ‘safe place’ for women


Join KOIN 6 News for a Union Gospel Mission telethon on Thursday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Women with children make up 35% of the homeless population and many are victims of domestic violence.

The Union Gospel Mission LifeChange for Women and Their Children is a recovery home women escaping homelessness, domestic violence and addiction. They keep women and children together.

One of those women, Tiffany, grew up with a typical family. “Went to college, got married. I had my first son and then my dad died very suddenly.”

Tiffany is a resident the Union Gospel Mission’s Lifechange for Women and their Children, December 10, 2019 (KOIN)

Soon her life spiraled out of control. She broke her leg and got addicted to pain medication.

“What ultimately brought me to Union Gospel Mission was my husband became physically abusive,” she said. “He got violent with me in front of my daughter.”

She’s been at the LifeChange facility for 8 months. Other women there have become family — with counseling, Bible studies and reading together.

Two years ago, Misty Smith was out on the streets.

“I lived a homeless life for 2.5 years in the La Palencia, over by the PDX race track,” she said. “I struggled with my addiction then.”

But Search and Rescue, a homeless outreach team, turned Smith to LifeChange.

This holiday season KOIN 6 News is partnering with the Union Gospel Mission on Thursday for a Home for the Holidays telethon. You can help: A night of safety and 3 meals for a woman or child is just $22.

“They actually really care and love me. That’s what makes it a safe place,” she said.

Misty is a resident at the Union Gospel Mission’s Lifechange for Women and their Children, December 10, 2019 (KOIN)

LifeChange for Women and Their Children houses about 40 women and children. They provide basic needs like housing, food and clothing along with services like counseling and work therapy.

The program is designed to get the women in this unique sisterhood back on their feet.

“It’s been a difference between life or death for me, and this means life,” she said. “This place means life for me.”

For the women who complete the entire program, there’s about an 82% success rate — sober, housed, employed and with a healthy relationship.

Inside the Union Gospel Mission’s Lifechange for Women and their Children, December 10, 2019 (KOIN)

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