Thank you, Union Rescue Mission Team!


I just want to encourage you today, we are just off the phone with one of the top LA County Department of Health Doctors, she said she has never seen a group wage a better battle against a Pandemic like this and she needs to do a write up.

Let me paraphrase in my own words; never has a non-medical group like us, with guidance and assistance from the Department of Public Health Services, and Department of Public Health, transformed into a mini hospital and waged a better chess match against this Covid-19 Monster.

Imagine this; Covid-19 attacked the Navy’s Mercy Ship, with 1000 beds, similar size to URM, off the Coast of Long Beach, after it came to assist non Covid-19 Cases, and because of Covid-19 cases on board, they had to quickly downsize and abandon their initial mission and send medical staff out to assist area nursing homes, greatly impacted by Covid-19.

A local Federal Prison, with 1000 beds, has regretfully, had more than 600 Positive Cases.

Even one case is far too many, and each positive case is a spear to our soul, and any loss of life breaks our hearts and has hit us like a ton of bricks, yet Union Rescue Mission, with the help of the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Pubic Health Services, and LAHSA, and others, has kept our cases to 10% of our original 1000 precious people under roof. Nearly 75% of that 10%, or 75 precious people, had no symptoms.

I shared this with the County this week,

“We have been playing chess with this Genius Monster Covid-19, and we would have had no chance of making it through without our partners. Thanks to LAHSA, Department of Public Health, Department of Health Services and our City of Los Angeles, for responding to our cry for help and stepping up to assist Union Rescue Mission by decompressing URM downtown,” said Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission. “You helped us get our most vulnerable guests out of Harm’s Way, when this uninvited unseen ferocious mysterious Monster Covid-19 invaded our space and attacked our precious guests. We will never be able to thank you enough for your compassion and immediate action.”

A local news station and a local professor stated erroneously in a headline this week,

Unhoused Residents Alone in Tents Have Less Positive Cases of Covid-

This is absolutely not true, or proven in anyway. I responded to this story by requesting an invite on this news show with this;

A test of less than 10% of the population living in tents on Skid Row, and only those who came forward for testing does not make anyone able to make a scientific conclusion that this headline indicates,

Unhoused Residents Alone in Tents Have Less Positive Cases of Covid-19

Some of our staff and I also go to those sites to test.  We are not alone or living in tents. The test results are skewed by the housed like us participating in the tests on the streets.

Our Mission, which has 100 positive cases, out of a once 1000 person population, with nearly 75% reportedly with no symptoms.

This is also due to our testing everyone under our roof every week-Universal Testing.

We are the only Mission receiving Universal Testing of everyone under the roof as this is not happening at any other mission or on the streets of Skid Row or elsewhere on the streets of Skid Row or in other areas with encampments.

It is far too early to indicate in any way that someone is safer on the streets alone in a tent.

A Doctor with the Department of Health agrees, and I believe Dr Barbara Ferrer would as well.

The many other issues of illness and possible violence, even death by homicide, along with the greater(25%)  possibility of Covid-19 while living in the streets compared to 22% in a Mission, make living in a tent far more dangerous than living in a Mission, especially a decompressed Mission that has now lessened our numbers by 50% for this new Pandemic World we are living in. 

Just after writing this, the following happened on our streets and appeared tragically, in the news.

Vermont-Square: One Dead, Two Injured After Car Plows Into Homeless Encampment – ONSCENE.TV

Though criticized and attacked on all sides and most of all by this ferocious fierce unseen Monster Covid-19, we kept our eye on the task at hand, and as I shared with our leadership team this morning, after hearing from the Doctor that this Dreaded Virus is sputtering and may leave us perhaps even by next week or the week after;

“It looks like our persistence and teamwork is wearing out this Monster Covid-19”

It is hard to believe I am saying this after all we’ve endured, team.

You are champions!

With God, All Things are possible!

Union Rescue Mission of Los Angeles Taking Precautionary Steps Regarding Coronavirus


We’ve just been briefed by Dr. Heidi BEHFOROUZ. from LA County Department of Health Services

These are the steps we will take if coronavirus shows up;

If a single person, man or woman, shows up with fever and cough, or comes in contact with someone who has a fever and a cough, we are going to place them in quarantine in the gym. They will reside in the gym and use the bathrooms in the gym and have their food delivered.

If a family member comes down with a fever and cough, they will be placed in a special quarantine wing on 5th Floor.

If a staff person has a fever and cough or comes in contact with a person with fever or cough they will be asked to quarantine at home and perhaps if they can, work from home.

We will provide special assistance to any frontline staff who need to quarantine at home.

Here are other steps we’ve taken to prepare;

I’ve immediately ordered this equipment that will arrive today and tomorrow;

Paper masks, Personal Protective Equipment kits, disposable thermometers, big Biohazard bags, as anyone who shows fever and cough or is exposed to someone who has fever or cough will need to be placed in quarantine for 14 days after showing symptoms.

All who clean the bathrooms in quarantine area will need to wear the protective suits.

All who deliver food to those in quarantine need the protective gear as well.

All the gear and masks worn need to go in the big bio hazard bags.

All the protective equipment should be disposed of in one central area.

We will post signs in visible places alerting anyone with a fever and cough to notify URM staff so they will can receive shelter and services and not have to battle this illness outside and alone.

Please expedite the equipment coming in, with my name on it to Mayra and operations department.

More to come as we learn more.

Everything will continue as normal for now, along with diligent washing of hands.


Andy Bales

President & CEO of

Are We Accessories To The Crime Of Leaving People On Our Streets & All The Consequences Caused By This Crisis?

Are we accessories to the crime of leaving people on the streets and every complication that comes from this crime?

Folks who insist on leaving 44,000 on the streets without shelter while we wait for eventual, far out in the future, costly, imaginary housing units at $600 thousand per unit, are applying cruel and unusual punishment to 10’s of thousands of people who haven’t committed any crime other than losing everything. I say imaginary not because they aren’t being built, but because more than 5,000 Angelenos will perish on our streets before even 5300 units can be built over the next few years. We will never end homelessness in Los Angeles at $600 thousand per unit. We need to construct immediate 24/7/365 Triage/Emergency/Bridge Shelters like the just opened by

3 to 4 Angelenos are dying from complications of homelessness each day in Los Angeles, Ca, over 1000 precious human beings, 10 times more than died in the state of California this past year from natural disasters, including wildfires.

People devastated by homelessness represent just 1% of our population but represent 17% of homicide victims in LA.

Others have been attacked by mentally ill people devastated by homelessness and struggling with untreated mental illness and rage.

The folks on the streets are vulnerable and are most at risk of danger from their housed and their unhoused neighbors.

We have left so many people on the streets for so long, we have allowed the devastation and destruction of thousands of people. Homelessness devastates people physically, emotionally, psychologically, educationally, vocationally, and in every way.

The young man who approached me on New Year’s Eve, when I spent the night on the streets, had lost his job, his home, had lived in his car, then lost his car and was on the streets for just two weeks, yet said he was becoming someone other than himself as he lashed out at God and us verbally for over 2 hours before we convinced him to come to Union Rescue Mission to rest.

When a gang member attacked us while I was describing the impact and danger of leaving people on the streets devastated by homelessness to KNBC News, a very troubled former boxer came out of his tent and stuttered, “These are good people”, then knocked the much larger gang member out..

The man who came to our aid, has unfortunately, committed many acts of violence since then.

Human beings were not meant to survive on the streets. They are pushed beyond their limits and reduced far beyond beyond a “survival of the fittest” mode of operating.

There will be more fear, more attempted kidnappings, more attacks, and more murders of innocent people, especially innocent people living on the streets.

If we continue to leave human beings on the streets we will especially endanger the people on the streets but we will endanger all Angelenos.

Murders are up 5% in all of Los Angeles, but up 20% in downtown, due to the proximity to Skid Row, but again, the increase is to people without homes as well as by people without homes.

Again, if we don’t act, we are accessories to this inhumanity and all of the consequences related to this crisis. We should act now to provide places to go.

I reminded our staff today that putting anyone out with no where to go for anything less than violence and a call to LAPD puts the people we care for at risk and puts URM at risk as we are responsible for them.

It puts my character and reputation at risk and makes me liable for them both personally and financially.

We are our brothers and sisters keepers, after all.

Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help. If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,” will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know— Someone not impressed with weak excuses.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:3-4, 11-12‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Why doesn’t our city and county and state and federal government and all Angelenos think like that?

Are city, county, and our leaders personally responsible.

Please all, act now, together, without delay!!