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Union Gospel Mission to 'refocus' on residential services, Ober Community Center to close

Updated: November 12, 2019 06:15 PM

Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities will close Ober Community Center at the end of the year as it works to "refocus" on its residential offerings, the nonprofit has announced.

The St. Paul mainstay of 117 years is putting a greater emphasis on its residential services by improving staffing, facilities, services and software. Over the past two year's the nonprofit said its adult education and training programs have been completely integrated, and through different partnerships, optometry care and fitness and nutrition classes have been added, and chiropractic care will soon be offered.

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However, UGMTC CEO Dr. Charles P. Morgan cited recent research from Wilder Foundation that indicated homelessness is on the rise, despite a strong economy. That has led to nonprofit to refocus and make some changes, including with Ober Community Center, which has provided services to youth and their families in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods since 1940.

"Narrowing our focus to deepen programming has led to difficult decisions that are never easy. Because of the profound needs within our residential programs, we believe the community will benefit from a more focused approach that will lead to long-term sustainable outcomes," Morgan said in a news release. "We have a track record of success with Ober. But we are also looking to the future. Refocusing our programs will bolster our efforts to ensure the highest standards of care and delivery of services, with excellence, well into the future. We are transitioning the youth we serve at Ober to programs that will continue to give them the tools and support they need to be successful."

Morgan said the Mission doesn't want to minimize or detract from everything that's been accomplished through Ober, but said the nonprofit is looking to have the greatest impact it can, which requires hard decisions to be made.

You can find more information about the Mission at ugmtc.org.

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