UCAN City Mission Shows Off Improvements In Open House
Mission windows that were once dark were lit once more, and the door that was once locked was thrown open in welcome on Saturday.
The UCAN City Mission formerly the Union Gospel Mission, held an open house for the public to give people a chance to view the improvements that have been made and the hard work that has gone in to making the mission a viable shelter and community center once again.
Jim Quattrone, mission executive director, said he was thankful for the work of volunteers and the support from local churches and the community. UCAN, or the United Christian Advocacy Network, acquired the keys to the building in January, and the work began right away.
“After about 700 volunteer hours, you can see what the building looks like here,” Quattrone said. “I asked Stan (Colver) if he could give me some ideas on what we could do with the facility here, and that was probably some time in January. Stan has a key to the facility now, and I don’t think he’s left or that he ever gets home.”
He said board members, staff members and others were also helpful throughout the process. Without the effort of many, Quattrone said the mission would not be opened.
“The support that we’ve had from the churches and the public has been awesome,” he said. “We’re looking forward to this. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what the mission used to be, it used to be an overnight shelter, and we’re still going to have that.”
The overnight function of the mission is for men, but the daily programming will be for everyone, Quattrone said.
In addition, he said the mission will have programming throughout the day, as well as a 90-day “Voluntary Employment” program where someone could stay for the allotted 90-day time period but would be expected to do some chores and work. There is also a longer-term program which would extend for nine to 12 months which would help people stay sober and learn basic life skills.
“We have said we really don’t know what we don’t know, so we’re learning as we’re going,” Quattrone said.
Susan Rowley, State Sen. Cathy Young representative, said the senator supports the mission. “I am amazed by the community involvement and the love,” Rowley said. “You all are amazing, so thank you for what you are doing and thank you for making a difference. I can’t wait for the senator to see this. She is going to be amazed.”
Quattrone said the mission has already made a difference in the lives in a few people. The facility wasn’t supposed to be opened until May 1, but some men came to the door looking for shelter recently, which sped up the timeline.
“We had beds, and it was difficult to say ‘You can’t come in,'” Quattrone said. “They had to realize we weren’t a full service. We’re not quite to the healthy meals yet.”
Dale Robbins, board chair, said he is grateful to all the people who have made the mission what it is today.
“There’s a great feeling that is going on here, and hopefully we can make a huge difference,” he said.
The mission located at 7 W. First St., had been closed since the retirement of the Rev. John Steinhauser. Rev. Steinhauser announced his retirement after 43 years of service as director of the Union Gospel Mission in October of 2015.
The mission’s kitchen is currently not up and running due to the need for a freezer and refrigerator unit. The walk-in freezer no longer works, Quattrone said. For the meantime, St. Susan’s Center will be providing evening meals for the mission, he said.
“We have a stove down there we can use, and a dishwasher,” Quattrone said. “Any donations are appreciated.”
The center is in need of non-perishable goods as well as monetary donations. Quattrone said those who would like to donate non-perishable food items, they can be dropped off right at the mission. For monetary donations or checks, they can be mailed to UCAN at P.O. Box 202, Lakewood, NY. There is a staff member on 24/7, and check-in for overnight stays is from 4-9:30 p.m.
For more information, stop in to 7 W. First St. in Jamestown or call 488-7480.