On-Air Now
On-Air Now

Amazing Stories from Skid Row, with Rev. Andy Bales

Saturdays: 8:00 AM

Andy brings over 35 years of experience in community outreach and service to his “friends experiencing homelessness,” 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 Union Rescue Mission is to regionalize services and decentralize Skid Row and keep with the Mission’s long and distinguished history of service in the City of Los Angeles. Established in 1891, URM 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 development 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. By working to establish the thriving Hope Gardens Family Center, he also worked to provide 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 late June of 2007.

As CEO of Union Rescue Mission, Andy has had a pivotal role in reshaping hospital and governmental policies related to the “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 address the epidemic of homelessness in Los Angeles.

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 was declared a Treasure of LA by the Central City Association in 2017. 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 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, 2010 and 2011. Andy was named the “2011 Fundraising Professional of the Year” by Fundraising Success Magazine for fundraising achievement in 2010. Andy received the Los Angeles Business Journal’s award for Nonprofit Leadership Excellence in June 2012.

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 success in receiving this distinction.

Andy and his wife Bonnie (a nurse) have six grown children, and delight in their grandchildren, Elijah, Ava Marie, Ezra, & Asher, twin grandsons Jack and Benjamin, & Isla along newest granddaughter, Opal Jean. Andy and Bonnie have also welcomed over 25 children in Foster care alongside their children.