A new vision to see people exit poverty, homelessness, or addiction

Hey there, the Upper Room’s mission statement is¬†to care for and improve the lives of people struggling with homelessness, addiction or poverty in our¬†community by providing a place of belonging and hope rooted in the love of Jesus Christ.¬†We have been doing this for the last 43 years. It’s been a blessing to serve our community in this way!

This mission was born from Jesus’s call in Matthew 25 to care for the “least of these” in our community.

The landscape of homelessness in Vernon has changed over the years and continues to change. Most recently, I have written a blog about the unregulated drug deaths in 2023, which have significantly increased year over year.

A recent (April 2023) homeless count done by HSABC (Homelessness Services Association of BC) indicated that there were 279 people identified as experiencing homelessness within the community of Vernon, BC. Eighty-one of these people are unsheltered and live a life on the streets. This is an increase from the previous study in 2021, with 224 people experiencing homelessness and 54 people unsheltered. Most of our guests are adults (78%), seniors (19%), and youth (3%). 42% of our guests identify as indigenous, 61% are male, 38% are female, and 1% claim another identity. 14% of the people surveyed identify as 2SLGBTQIA+.

Today, at the Upper Room Mission, we encounter complex mental health challenges, addiction and behaviours when providing for the basic needs of people. We see people stuck in homelessness without the availability of complex care.

Our hearts desire change. We want to see transformed lives, good health, and opportunities for prosperity and growth for those struggling in our community. We desire to do more, and this change starts with a new vision that can guide our leadership into the future.

Our new vision statement is to see people exit poverty, homelessness, or addiction.

Besides the complexities that come with homelessness, addiction and poverty, we believe that lifelong recovery in these areas is possible, and everyone should have an opportunity for support in their pursuit of healing. We don’t want to stand on the sidelines and hope for the best.

Our new vision is a calling, a stepping into, to ensure we see a decrease in opioid deaths, a¬†decrease¬†in homelessness, a decrease in people struggling with substance use and a¬†decrease¬†in poverty in our community. For us to see these results,¬†we need to walk “with” people¬†struggling with homelessness, addiction and poverty.¬†We envision a¬†Continuum of Care.¬†Continuum of Care refers to¬†a coordinated system of care services¬†designed to address the needs of individuals who are experiencing homelessness, poverty and addiction.

What does this all mean for the Upper Room Mission? Our new vision means that our leadership is dedicated to positively impacting our community. We desire to see people exit homelessness, addiction, and poverty, and we need and want to invest in resources, new partnerships, and new services to accomplish that vision. We know this is a big and complex vision that requires expertise and partnerships, and we cannot do this alone.

Over the coming months, we will share more about what we are doing to effect change. So stay tuned. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest information.

If you have questions about our new vision or are interested in participating in it, I would love to connect with you. Please click the link below to schedule a meeting with me.

Blessings,

Jacco de Vin, Executive Director, Upper Room Mission

Jacco de Vin
Executive Director
Upper Room Mission Society
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