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Union Gospel Mission
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Union Gospel Mission brings in stylists for homeless makeovers

(Heather Bosch, KIRO Radio)

The Union Gospel Mission has been helping people experiencing homelessness in Seattle for more than 80 years. This week was no different, though, the organization embraced its mission with just a little more pizzazz.

A total of 50 homeless men in recovery at Union Gospel Mission were treated to a makeover Monday and Tuesday. Gene Juarez stylists from Bellevue volunteered their time, and their clippers, for the effort.

“I use the phrase ‘look good, feel good,'” said Darcy, one stylist at the event.

“Styled Seattle” picked out new outfits for the men. Darcy says it was a joy to watch the guys come out sporting their new clothes.

“Eyes light up, and their shoulders go back a little bit,” she said. “The outfits themselves, we’re talking button down shirts, and blazers with nice-fitting pants. So it’s kind of a business casual type look. A lot of the guys are walking in with sweat pants or jeans, so this is elevated from what they wear … which is just fun in itself.”

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The makeover comes amid Mark Issacson’s recovery. He says he was a heroin and a meth addict for 30 years, before Richard McAdams entered his life. He credits McAdams, with the Union Gospel Mission, for saving his life.

“I absolutely love the mission,” Issacson said. ” I have a sense of, not only belonging but loyalty to the mission. They helped me save my life.”

“I was lost,” he said. “I overdosed three times. I was brought back to life by the grace of God, and Narcan … I didn’t know if the darkness or my addiction would ever end. I was really hopeless, broken. Thanks to Richard, and thanks to Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, they picked me up when I couldn’t pick myself up.”

After those 30 years of addiction, Issacson says he’s been sober for nearly two years. Today, he’s grateful for the new look.

“Not this June, but next June I will graduate with a degree in chemical dependency and a degree in human services and it is my job to help those that are currently suffering from where I come from,” he said. “Seattle has been amazing to me — first three weeks were a little rough until I met Richard McAdams. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worth it.”

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