UCAN began to engage and meet with county officials, town officials, law enforcement, zoning boards, educational institutions, church congregations, and interested community members… and through these discussions the community at large voiced their support of the need for this resource in our area; A Board of Directors was formed, not-for-profit status was acquired, and UCAN set out to accomplish its vision.
UCAN’s initial desire was to establish a supportive transitional housing unit for males recently released from jail and prison, where the housing program would work hand in hand with the day program. Lack of resources and funding however, plus community need, influenced the Board of Directors to switch gears and simply start with day programing only.
In January 2017, UCAN was excited to be able to acquire the former Union Gospel Mission at 7 West 1st Street in Jamestown, NY. They were able to begin updating the facility in order to provide emergency housing for homeless men. And on April 10, 2017, UCAN City Mission saw the fulfillment of their initial vision as they officially opened the doors to their first emergency shelter which was made possible due to the generous donations and support of individuals, groups, churches, organizations, and businesses from around the community. UCAN was now able to meet individual’s needs during the day and offer a safe and secure environment for individuals in need of a place to sleep, as well as two meals and a hot shower.
Since that time the UCAN organization has come to realize the overwhelming need for similar community resources to be provided for women, children, and families in need across the county. Knowing that this need exists for more shelters within the community has become the catalyst for UCAN’s expansion and desire to acquire more locations throughout the Chautauqua region.
Even now, a second location, 100-102 N. Main Street, Jamestown, is under contract as of early June 2021, and the plans to renovate this downtown location and build to suit for women, children, and families is underway. This forward movement and expansion of the initial vision is only the beginning of what UCAN desires to see become a network of “community resource hubs” across the entire Chautauqua County region.
For the mission of UCAN will always and forever be to help “the orphan, the widow, and those in need” to come to know the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ, through meeting practical needs that displays Jesus’ love for each one.