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UGM rolls out Fraser Valley rescue van to help connect homeless with resources, necessities

Last Updated Apr 29, 2019 at 1:09 pm PDT

(Courtesy Union Gospel Mission)
Summary

The UGM is rolling out a Mobile Mission in parts of the Fraser Valley

UGM says there's been a rise in the number of homeless people around the Fraser Valley

The Mobile Mission will hand out food and survival gear to those living on the streets, will connect them with services

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) – As the need grows to help some of the region’s most vulnerable people, the Union Gospel Mission is rolling out a new rescue van with the hopes of doing some good.

The Mobile Mission is a specially outfitted vehicle stocked with food and survival gear.

It will drive around Abbotsford and Mission as volunteers keep an eye out for vulnerable people in areas like makeshift camps or underneath bridges and in alleyways.

“In areas where there aren’t a lot of services,” explains the UGM‘s Jeremy Hunka.

He says the Mobile Mission will not only give people something to eat and provide them with some gear, but also connect them with housing and recovery programs in the Valley.

“We noticed that homelessness has really increased in the Fraser Valley,” Hunka adds. “And as we ventured out there to see what the need was like, we were surprised by how big the need was.”

Another rescue van in the Metro Vancouver area has often been the first point of contact between homeless people and the services they may be in need of.

According to Hunka, the rescue van that already operates west of the Fraser serves up to 200 people every week.

The Mobile Mission will be staffed by volunteers, which the UGM is in desperate need of to make this rescue van a success, Hunka explains.

“It’s not a small thing to launch a new rescue vehicle in a new area. We’re putting a call out for people to volunteer, step up, make a difference in their own communities.”

Hunka says expanding into other communities south of the Fraser like Langley or Chilliwack is not in the immediate plans, but is not out of the question.