Since Deborah DeLay took over staff retention has been abysmal. Essentially if you do not go along with her and her beliefs, she lets you go, which isn't to say there aren't good case workers there, but they have learned to be extremely careful about what they say and do, not only to other staff but to clients as well. What the other reviewers have said is true, if you want to eat at UGM you must attend chapel, whether you're a resident or not, and their infraction policy for residents is draconian and uneven. Essentially it's all up to the discretion of Ms. DeLay and as long as it remains her little fiefdom, the good that they could be doing in the community is woefully limited.
I worked for the mission for many years and have witness many things. It is a great Christian organization that has grown over the years. It works to give its clients a new beginning and direction. With that said it is a very hard task on the client and staff.
Clients come in a lot of times with almost nothing; they have lost so much that they are building themselves back up. Some come in with compete openness and other come in with baggage. All are given a copy of the rules and the rules are gone over with the clients many times. They start working with a case worker right at the beginning to start making achievable goals and start to identify barriers and working on those barriers. There are a lot of rules in place and not all the clients enjoy the rules but all the rules have purpose to keep everyone involved safe.
The staff goes in to do everything they can for the clients with the resources out there; which the resources are still lacking out there. It is a thankless job that the staff does because they care for every client there.
Overall a client can only get as much out of the program as they work on getting out of it. The Union Gospel Mission lays out the tools and gives guidance for all that come through its doors and is always changing and growing with the client’s best interest in mind.
Review from Guidestar
I worked at UGM-TC for over 5 years and played a key role in the Administrative Area with Don Shisler the acting CEO. What residents say about this place is true. They were forced to work 40 hours a week for $15 to $25 a week "Program Pay". When we hired "successful" residents who'd moved out and proven their worth as employees, they were "coded" differently as to prevent them from obtaining Health Insurance Coverage because Mr. Shisler deemed them as "high risk" to the benefit plans of the Employees. Other staff members who became pregnant were immediately pressured and harassed for the way they performed their job in effort to get them to quit because they would need "too much time off". Staff members are violent towards one another and residents. Mr. Shisler was verbally and sexually abusive towards both. It is NOT a Christian Facility!
I have to agree with the other former residents who posted here. On the face, UGM looks like a wonderful establishment, but the staff treats the male residents very unkind. I worked for the mission 35 hours a week for $15 a week which left no time to find a job. If you didn't work (they call it "program duties") you would be asked to leave. In the time I was there, only one case worker actually helped me but he was fired after not long. I was actually thrown out because I got a job working at night and couldn't attend their Thursday night Bible study. Thank God for the Presbyterian Night Shelter.
I am so saddened by the reviews from the residents. I have volunteers at UGM in the past and of course, enjoyed it. No one should have that experience and feel that way about a non profit organization that is solely there the help support and show compassion for those in need. I hope that this gets looked into and will also do what I can to research the matter.
I was a resident at UGM. The staff puts up a good act. They state that they do not receive any government funding; however, they do. they receive HUD funding every time they scan a client's TB card. If a resident does not believe the way they do they kick him/her out. They have the residents work 32-40 hours a week for no pay, which gives them very little time to find a job and get on their feet. They do not provide any housing programs for residents, but decide after a year that the resident has been there long enough. The case managers that they have are a joke. They do absolutely nothing to help the residents. The residents have to do it all on their own. If a case manager does try to help someone, UGM terminates his /her employment. They force residents to attend chapel services everyday and a bible study on Thursday nights. Even if a resident has a job or attends college, he has to be at these services. The kitchen staff has been known to serve spoiled food. They constantly serve out-of-date food and store food on the floor. Both of these actions are major city health code violations. the resident workers and volunteers do not even have food handler cards, also a health code violation. When they receive food donations, they give the garbage to the residents and the staff takes the good stuff home with them. They promote homelessness and want people to remain dependent on them. They provide no help at all. I will NEVER help this organization with anything.
Review from CharityNavigator
I was not only a volunteer but also a former resident. The staff is great in front of volunteers but behind the scenes they berate and belittle the residents. I will never again do anything to help the organization. I have watched the kitchen staff (not chefs, there are no chefs there) serve food that was bad. This mission was started with good intentions but has now become more about raising money, Donations are sorted and the best items are put aside and taken to a sale they have each year. the people that donate think the stuff is going to residents and to help those that get apartments to furnish them. but what is given upon move out is usually trash. Some examples former residents were given a coffee maker but no coffee pot. Tv's that don't work and furniture that was broken and completely unable to be used. when residents called they were told they should be glad they got anything.
I started volunteering at Union Gospel Mission in 1995 and have done so each week for all these years. It is my opportunity to give back to those that are unfortunate enough to find themselves without a home. I am the one to benefit from helping them, not the other way around. I pray each time I go that God will place someone in my path and that I will make a difference in their lives. I leave each Monday with a smile on my face because I am so blessed to volunteer for such an organization that makes an impact on hurting people lives. I have seen some amazing people turn their lives around with the help and love that comes from Union Gospel Mission.
what a blessing and honor to be a volunteer at the ugm. I LOVE serving meals to our residents and guests, help with the children, serve for special events and help in general.. i never leave the ugm without learning something meaningful from someone i serve.. every person is gracious and beautiful. i am a better person for my volunteering.
My history with UGM is short, but it has been an amazing twelve months. It is real easy to think that all is well in the world, or at lease here at home where everyone is supposed to be warm and comfortable, and eating three meals a day. UGM is my reality check and when I don't get to be with them every weekend, I feel useless. In my short experience, it is evident that the staff is invested in this ministry. It is a privilege working with other volunteers in helping the dedicated staff relieved the burden of the residence as well as bless the guests. Working side-by-side with staff and volunteers has brought meaning to my life and I can only pray that the residence and guests feel the same. Initially, working with the homeless was my main focus, but now encourage the staff and trying to fill in the gap for them is uppermost in my mind, especially if I am not there. I thank God for this ministry and I give glory to God for allowing me to help in any way I can in this ministry.