History of the Durham Rescue Mission
The Durham Rescue Mission was founded in November 1974 by Dr. and Mrs. Ernie Mills with one goal in mind: to mend shattered lives by restoring families and giving hope in Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill for the glory of God. We’ve remained dedicated to this mission for the past 43 years.
Our rescue mission began in a small, two-story house on the corner of North Holman and East Main Street in Durham, NC, with just enough space to provide shelter for up to a dozen men. After only a short amount of time, we were running out of space to meet the needs of everyone coming through our doors.
In 1978, the Lord blessed us with a larger church building for a men’s shelter just a block away from our original location on East Main Street. This new space provided room for up to 35 men.
In 1993, the Lord led us in opening a three-story home for up to five mothers with small children. With an ever-growing waiting list for this women and children’s shelter, we soon opened a new shelter for five families in 1997 and a shelter for single women in 1998.
Our women, children, and family division, the Good Samaritan Inn, opened in 2005. The entire project was funded by the gracious support of friends of the Durham Rescue Mission. We are currently able to house more than 100 women, children and families in this facility.
In 2013, we opened our new facility, the Center for Hope, at our men’s division. The Center for Hope offers a spacious dining room that seats 250 individuals, a commercial kitchen, classroom space for our Victory Program, a GED classroom, and a computer lab, as well as 3 dormitories. We are thankful for the many friends who gave sacrificially to help this dream become a reality.
How Far We’ve Come
Over the last few decades, our ministry has grown tremendously. Today, our Durham homeless shelter and urban rescue mission has room to house and provide food, vocational training, counseling and much more to 400 men, women and children in the Triangle area.
We are so thankful for all the ways the Lord has blessed us thus far, and we continue to look to His provision in the years to come.
Contributing to the Durham-Raleigh Community Through Our Thrift Stores
The first Durham Rescue Mission thrift store opened in 2006 at the corner of Cornwallis Road and Highway 55 in Durham, NC. The Raleigh and Chapel Hill thrift store locations opened in 2009 and 2012 respectively, with locations on Glenwood Avenue and Chapel Hill Boulevard.
Each of our thrift stores provides a wide selection of used clothes and other goods for sale, and serves as a drop-off for individuals or businesses in the Triangle interested in donating gently-used household items, vehicles and more to our mission.
“A Step of Faith”: Donate to Our Urban Rescue Mission
Be a part of Durham Rescue Mission history! When you make a donation of $15 or more, you can receive a copy of “A Step of Faith: The History of the Durham Rescue Mission,” detailing the Mills’ journey of founding, growing and sustaining this ministry for the homeless in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.
When making your donation, please choose “Step of Faith Book” under giving options, and your copy will be mailed to you. If you would like a book and cannot purchase one at this time, please contact us.