Rev. Andrew (Andy) J. Bales, M.A.T.

 

CEO

Andy brings over 25 years of experience in community outreach and service to “his homeless friends”, as Andy puts it, as he leads Union Rescue Mission into a new era of unique and innovative services for Los Angeles’ Skid Row community. 

Andy’s vision for the future of the Mission is most definitely in keeping with the Union Rescue Mission’s long and distinguished history of service in the City of Los Angeles.   Established in 1891, the Mission has always served the most desperate men, women and children of the community.
 
One of Andy’s earliest challenges as Mission leader was to assist in the developing of transitional housing for mothers and their children living in the Mission’s downtown facility and in neighboring SRO hotels in and around Skid Row.  He is also committed to providing permanent supportive housing for senior women away from the mean streets of Los Angeles.  Hope Gardens Family Center, in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest near Sylmar, was developed to serve this growing population of abandoned and desperately poor women with children and elderly women.  The Senior Women’s Permanent Supportive Housing facility at Hope Gardens was opened in August 2006.  The Women’s and Children’s Transitional Living Facility opened in July 2007.
 
As CEO of Union Rescue Mission, Andy has had a pivotal role in reshaping hospital and governmental policies related to “dumping” of homeless patients from hospitals on to the streets of Skid Row.
 
Andy’s present focus is organizing and working with community partners to make a commitment to ending homelessness in Los Angeles by a significant number within the next 7 years.
 
Andy has many awards and honors for his community service, including: being named as the 930th Point of Light by President George Bush in 1992, receiving the 1999 Des Moines NAACP Community Service Award, and receiving the 2004 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Pasadena. He has been featured in Leadership Journal’s article “Great to Good Churches”, CBS’s 60 Minutes, NBC’s Dateline, CNN and Social Media, and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences, schools, and clubs. Rev. Andy’s Blog (www.urmblog.org/category/rev-andys-blog/) was awarded 1st place for media success by the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission’s at their Annual Convention of 350 participating missions world-wide in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
 
In June 2009, Cone, Inc. published the Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100 Report.  Union Rescue Mission was listed in the top 100 brands at #94, ahead of national charities such as: YWCA, United Cerebral Palsy Association and Camp Fire USA.  When you consider that there are 1.1 million registered non-profits in the U.S., the fact that URM was listed at #94 is incredible.  Andy’s personal participation in embracing social media opportunities has been credited for the Mission’s success in receiving this distinction.

Andy is currently working on the final phase of his Doctor of Ministry degree at Bakke Graduate School in Seattle, Washington. He will add this degree to several other academic credentials: a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) from Drake University (1983), a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Bethel College (1980) and awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Pacific Theological Seminary. Andy has also completed 50 hours towards a Ph.D. in sociology from Iowa State University.

Andy and wife Bonnie (a nurse) have six grown children, and delight in their grandchildren, Elijah and Ava Marie. Also, Andy and Bonnie often open their home to foster children.