“I came to hear about UCAN’s (United Christian Advocacy Network) shelter while incarcerated. Needing residence upon my release, I contacted UCAN for a “letter of assurance” for temporary housing at its shelter and received one. On March 14th, 2018, I entered UCAN’s shelter and became amazed at its cleanliness, professionalism of staff members, safe environment, nutritious (and delicious) meals, and comfortable bedding arrangement. As a Christian, I appreciated the constant reminder of God’s grace, that He is in control, and that He will make a way out of what seemed no way out, through the ministering of UCAN’s staff members. I also appreciated the daily prayers said before each meal as well as the weekday early morning scripture reading and study.

From day one UCAN’s staff members, which include its executive team, were eager to assist me in my transition from prison life to civilian life. I was able to obtain my own residence (a one bedroom apartment) within one month from the date of my release from prison as a result of UCAN’s staff members, and the referrals I received from them. However, my employment prospects did not seem as promising despite my diligent efforts.

Upon my release from prison, I immediately began submitting my resume and job applications to numerous businesses. I assumed that finding a job, any job, would not be difficult because I had earned a Master’s degree while incarcerated, but was proven wrong. It is my belief that my lack of employment for the past 10 years and/or my past criminal convictions was the culprit for my unemployment status. Giving up or reverting back to a criminal lifestyle was not an option for me, so I continued to pound the pavement in search of employment. Finally, approximately one month after my release I was given an interview by a non-profit organization in which if hired would not only have provided me with much needed employment, but also an opportunity to assist others in need. I had come to realize while incarcerated and earning my Master’s degree that my ideal employment upon release would consist of me assisting others in some capacity. To my great fortune I was hired by the non-profit organization whose executive team believed that I would be a great asset.

The non-profit organization to which I’m referring, and for which I am forever indebted to for providing me with shelter, food, a safe and clean environment, beneficial referrals, and a constant reminder of God’s grace through daily prayers and the reading of scriptures, as well as employment upon my release from prison, is none other than UCAN City Mission! UCAN’s executive team gave me an opportunity to become self-sufficient when no one else would. Therefore, my road from homelessness to employment and independence was paved by UCAN’s staff member’s sincere dedication toward improving the lives of those who walk through the doors of UCAN City Mission.

Thank you UCAN and all its staff members; I don’t know where I would be today without you.

Stacey F.