Understanding Homelessness

Homelessness is often misunderstood, and those who experience homelessness are plagued with negative public opinions. Here at Yakima Union Gospel Mission, we see these men and women as neighbors in need. We are all God’s children. We are all sent to be His servants. By looking for what brings us together, we look past what separates us to build healthy families, thriving neighborhoods, and stronger communities.

Hands of a man experiencing homelessness

What Causes Homelessness?

After much research, modern social scientists understand the root causes of homelessness and adult addiction are greatly impacted by childhood traumas. It is common to find individuals living on the street that experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) that include domestic violence, mental illness, crime, neglect, and substance abuse. These negative experiences growing up increases the likelihood of being dysfunctional in society and ultimately leading to homelessness. It has become more obvious how important it is for children to build healthy habits to handle stress and form positive relationships. Adults who never achieved those basic skills are the men and women we see living on the streets.

How Do We Help?

YUGM’s was founded in 1936 to help the homeless transition to wholeness by giving them a safe place to live, food to eat, and community support to develop interpersonal growth. On-campus, we help our clients build healthy relationships and habits, and we share the love of Jesus Christ. We live by Jesus’ teachings to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In striving to serve the underserved Yakima community, we hope to give others the same opportunities that God has graciously given to us.

With God’s blessings and continued support from our community partners and volunteers, we have expanded our services and programs to reach more people in need than ever before.


Clients Secured Employment


People Moved from YUGM into Housing


Clients Completed or Enrolled in Further Education

What Makes Us Different?

Love + Professionalism = Outcomes


LOVE is our secret sauce. The pure, sacrificial, all-consuming love of Jesus Christ is our guiding light and the very same love we do our best to share with all those who we meet.


We combine love with professional training to effectively help adult survivors of severe childhood trauma. Our staff receives training in mental health first aid and trauma-informed care. The majority of our executives have post-graduate degrees in social work and a combined 60 years of experience working in the field. Our team is dedicated to continued learning and developing the best care for our clients.


This leads us to “outcomes”. We rigorously measure all of our programs for quality and effectiveness. Our recovery graduates stay sober 5x the national average of other drug treatment programs. We are never satisfied with good enough. God has given us the passion and the desire to do better. When there are lives and souls on the line, we cannot afford to overlook any way to increase the success rate of our programs or introduce new services.

What Is Included In Your Program?

Yakima Union Gospel Mission designed a 5-Space Model that effectively addresses all the barriers that keep an individual homeless. First, we send outreach teams to the streets to connect those in need with shelter options and provide necessities. In the next stage, we focus on building relationships of trust that enable clients to seek out personal change and participate in our recovery programs. Those who graduate move to the next stage of entering the job market and building their financial independence. Finally, once a person is stable, they can move into a place of equity that allows them to become contributors in the community and invest in the lives of others.

Do You Think Homelessness Will Ever Be Solved?

This process does not have a specific time frame. Each client is unique and helping them discover their true potential requires much patience for everyone involved. Yes, it is a struggle. Yes, it is costly. However, this 5-Space Model endures as the premiere homelessness program because it is successful! Just as there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love and no price that He would not pay for your salvation, there should be no limit to what we try to do for those in need.


We invite you to take a moment to look at the faces of those who graduated from our programs and meet your neighbors. They are raising families, starting careers, and moving into homes. Listen to their stories. Decide what you would want someone to do if you sat where they sat.