To passersby, it may look like an ordinary brick office building. But when you step inside the Union Gospel Mission Center for Women and Children in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, you enter a self-contained community dedicated to recovery, healing and helping those in need get a new lease on life.
While the Mission does offer emergency shelter and daily meal programs for those in need, the Center is a facility designed to provide more permanent results by serving the unique needs of women and single mothers and their children in the long-term. Constructed in part with financial support from the Murdock Trust, the Center offers more than just a place to sleep; it helps residents re-establish their lives with dignity.
Residents will stay at the Center for anywhere between 18 and 24 months. During this time, the adult residents receive vocational training, which can range from learning an entirely new trade to filling in the gaps of an existing skill. For example, the Center offers regular computer training to help residents understand the latest digital applications and programs that would be required in a standard office setting.
During the week, residents hold regular jobs that help the Center function, including working in the kitchen, helping clean various common spaces, maintaining the outdoor garden and assisting staff with clerical needs. They also meet regularly with counseling staff and support groups to overcome addiction and work through personal traumas and other issues that may have contributed to the lifestyle that led to them being homeless. Residents also have access to 24/7 support should an issue arise at any time, day or night.
Children at the Center are able to share a living space with their mothers, attend school and have safe, friendly spaces to play and do homework outside of class hours. During a recent visit to the Center, residents shared with the Murdock Trust staff that the space feels like a large family. Family photos cover the hallway walls, children form lasting friendships and different residents help keep an eye on the young ones throughout the day.
In addition to work, recovery and play, the Center offers a variety of other services. For example, the Center features a fully equipped medical center that is staffed during the week by a volunteer nurse practitioner. Residents are able to receive routine medical and dental care without having to worry about finding the right doctor, scheduling an appointment or covering significant medical bills.
The dedicated volunteers and staff at the Union Gospel Mission invest unending hours to help individuals struggling with addiction and homelessness to re-establish their lives through a process that centers on the dignity of the individual. They have helped countless people earn a fresh start to their lives. We are incredibly grateful for their hard work and for the opportunity to continue to support their mission in Idaho and across the Pacific Northwest.