Denver Rescue Mission has been serving people experiencing homelessness and poverty in our community since 1892. Deeply rooted in our history is a love of Christ and a desire to share that love with others through critical services and life-changing programs.

Through the tireless efforts of our staff, volunteers, donors, and supporters, we’ve been able to continue the Mission’s work for more than a century.

130 Years of Changing Lives in Denver

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  • History Timeline

    Jerry McAuley Opens the Water Street Mission

    Jerry McAuley opens the Water Street Mission in New York City which quickly becomes the model for rescue missions across the U.S., spreading from the East Coast to Denver.
  • History Timeline 1

    Dwight L. Moody Meets Joshua Gravett

    Meanwhile, 3,400 miles away in England, Dwight L. Moody, founder of the Moody Bible Institute, meets Joshua Gravett at one of his Christian crusades. This friendship would later inspire Gravett to reach out to those in poverty and despair in Denver.

  • History Timeline 2

    The Mission Begins

    The Mission begins as a rescue home for women called Market Street Mission near 31st and Lawrence St. founded by Reverend Joshua Gravett, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church.

  • History Timeline 3

    Living Water Rescue Mission

    Market Street Mission merges with the Florence Crittenton Mission and Home for Women. Living Water Rescue Mission begins with new focus on serving men in need.

  • History Timeline 4

    Jim Goodheart Becomes Director

    Jim Goodheart, a former Living Water Mission guest, becomes Mission Director and changes the Mission’s name to Sunshine Rescue Mission.

  • History Timeline 5

    Sunshine Rescue Mission Expands

    Under Goodheart’s leadership, the Sunshine Rescue Mission expands to include three locations providing more than 3,000 overnight accommodations every month.

  • History Timeline 6

    Mission Board Sells Sunshine Rescue Mission for $1

    Because of his proven success, the Board of Directors sells the Mission to Goodheart for one dollar.

  • History Timeline 7

    The Mission Closes

    The Mission closes and is sold to pay debts after Goodheart was unexpectedly hospitalized for a breakdown and could no longer run the facilities.

  • History Timeline 8

    Denver Rescue Mission Opens

    Reverend Gravett and a dedicated group of volunteers rent a space and reopen the Mission at 1120 18th Street—with the new name, Denver Rescue Mission.

  • History Timeline 9

    Mission Purchases Building at 1818 Larimer Street

    Denver Rescue Mission purchases a one-story building at 1818 Larimer Street, providing gospel services, clothing distribution and meal service.

  • History Timeline 10

    Mission Supporters Make All the Difference

    Between 1930 and 1950, countless men and women kept the Mission’s ministry alive by donating their time, food and money.

  • Reverend Truman Thompson Becomes Director

    Reverend Truman Thompson Becomes Director

    Under the new leadership of Reverend Truman Thompson, another building is built on Larimer Street. The new 7,500 square-foot facility features a kitchen, dining room, garage, and dormitory.

  • History Timeline 13

    First Medical Clinic Opens

    The Mission opens its first medical and dental clinics staffed completely by volunteer physicians.

  • History Timeline 17

    Reverend LeRoy Bradrick Becomes Director

    Reverend LeRoy Bradrick becomes the Mission Director and builds a strong financial foundation by steadily increasing donations from churches and individuals.

  • History Timeline 15

    Homelessness Increases in Denver

    Homelessness in Denver increases as demolition starts on Larimer Street’s “Skid Row.” [Source: 5280.com]

  • History Timeline 16

    Lawrence Street Shelter

    Our prayer is answered! The Mission purchases its current downtown facility, the Lawrence Street Shelter.

  • History Timeline 18

    New Shelters Address Rising Poverty

    New shelters, including a Salvation Army shelter, open to address doubling numbers of homeless and poor individuals in Denver. [Source: 5280.com]

  • History Timeline 19

    Reverend Del Maxfield Becomes Director

    Reverend Del Maxfield becomes Executive Director of Denver Rescue Mission and initiates a new phase of growth.

  • History Timeline 20

    Harvest Farm

    The Mission acquires Mercy Farm in Wellington, Colorado and renames it Harvest Farm. Harvest Farm is a working farm that grows food crops, provides long-term rehabilitation for men and serves as a rural outreach.

  • History Timeline 21

    Champa House Opens

    The Champa House building is donated to the Mission, beginning a long-term, life-changing program for women with children.

  • History Timeline 22

    Literacy and Education

    The Mission launches the award-winning Literacy and Education Center program offering men and women the opportunity to improve their academic and practical skills.

  • History Timeline 23

    Ministry Outreach Center Opens

    Cowles Media donates the facility at 3501 East 46th Avenue to Denver Rescue Mission. This 37,000-square-foot building becomes the Ministry Outreach Center with administrative offices and a central warehouse for food, clothing and furniture.

  • History Timeline 24

    Homeless Population In Denver – 3,000 people

    The city’s homeless population is estimated at around 3,000 people. [Source: 5280.com]

  • History Timeline 25

    First Easter Celebration

    The Mission celebrates Easter service with families in need—an annual tradition that has spanned decades.

  • History Timeline 26

    First Thanksgiving Banquet-in-a-Box

    The Mission holds its first Thanksgiving Banquet-in-a-Box event, which has grown to provide thousands of needy families in Denver with a traditional holiday meal.

  • History Timeline 27

    New Life Program Begins

    The New Life Program begins, a long-term rehabilitation program which offers life-changing support and spiritual counseling.

  • History Timeline 28

    Denver Broncos Support the Mission

    The beginnings of what is now a vibrant partnership with the Denver Broncos began with former player, Mike Horan, and his wife, Kim, who ministered to our homeless working families.

  • History Timeline 29

    Vehicle Donations Begin

    The Mission establishes the Vehicle Donation Program, which restores donated vehicles and gifts them to people in need, including Mission program graduates.

  • History Timeline 30

    Broncos Holiday Party

    The Denver Broncos hosts their first Broncos Holiday Party for our families in need at The Crossing, which has become an annual tradition ever since.

  • Brad Meuli Becomes Director

    Brad Meuli Becomes Director

    Brad Meuli becomes President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mission.

  • First Harvest Farm Fall Festival

    Harvest Farm creates the first Fall Festival & Corn Maze, which raises funds for the New Life Program and has become an annual fall tradition for thousands of families across Colorado.

  • The Mission Purchases The Crossing

    The Mission Purchases The Crossing

    The Mission purchases a 94,000 square-foot former hotel at 6090 Smith Road to serve as a new transitional program facility.

  • History Timeline 33

    Family Services Begins

    The Mission develops Family Services—the STAR Transitional Program, Family Rescue Ministry and Family Refugee Services.

  • History Timeline 34

    The Crossing Opens

    After extensive renovation, The Crossing officially opens to provide a transitional program for families and housing for New Life Program participants.

  • New Life Program Moves to The Crossing

    New Life Program Moves to The Crossing

    New Life Program participants move from the downtown shelter to The Crossing, and the program for men in Denver grows from 75 to 130.

  • History Timeline 35

    Education Classes Expand

    LifeSkills, Education and Career classes become available at all program facilities, expanding access to educational opportunities.

  • History Timeline 36

    Changing Lives

    The Mission changes the name of its monthly newsletter to Changing Lives which has been in publication for decades to inform and inspire supporters.

  • History Timeline 37

    Property Purchased for the Administration & Education Building

    The Mission purchases Pilgrim’s Rest Church, across the street from The Crossing, as a new site for its administration building.

  • History Timeline 38

    Fort Collins Rescue Mission Opens

    Denver Rescue Mission acquires Open Door Mission in Fort Collins and renames it Fort Collins Rescue Mission, providing beds for 80 homeless men and women each night.

  • History Timeline 39

    Ministry Outreach Center Moves to New Warehouse

    A 55,000 square-foot warehouse is purchased on Holly Street to serve as the new and improved Ministry Outreach Center.

  • History Timeline 40

    Fort Collins Rescue Mission First Program Graduate

    Fort Collins Rescue Mission celebrates its first life-changing program graduate.

  • History Timeline 41

    Plans for a Community Center Take Shape

    The Mission acquires the property adjacent to the Lawrence Street Shelter to create a new day-time community center for Denver’s homeless.

  • History Timeline 42

    Homeless Population Increases

    Denver’s homeless population includes 5,812 men, women and children. [Source: 2014 State of Homelessness Report]

  • History Timeline 43

    Administration & Education Building Opens

    The new Administration and Education Building opens at 6100 Smith Road to provide classrooms, office space and an in-take area for programs at The Crossing.

  • Construction Begins on the Lawrence Street Community Center

    Construction begins on the Lawrence Street Community Center at 2222 Lawrence Street.

  • History Timeline 45

    Opposition to Community Center Rises, Denver Backs the Mission

    A groundswell of community support emerges as Denver Rescue Mission faces opposition opening the Lawrence Street Community Center. [More at: The Denver Post]

  • History Timeline 46

    Lawrence Street Community Center Opens

    The Lawrence Street Community Center finally opens to the public on November 23, 2015 offering ADA access, a large dining room, a courtyard, showers, bathrooms, washing machines, and water fountains for our homeless community.

  • History Timeline 48

    1,000th New Life Program Graduate

    The Mission celebrates its 1,000th New Life Program graduate. More than 1,000 lives changed… and counting.

  • Holly Center Opens

    Holly Center Opens

    An overnight emergency shelter is built inside the Ministry Outreach Center warehouse. It includes showers, restrooms and 200 beds for men, the first shelter beds added in Denver since 1989.

  • Champa House Sold

    The COVID-19 Crisis

    The Mission is essential during the COVID-19 crisis. Our doors stayed open, as many doors in the city closed. “It’s a time for the light of Jesus to shine through all of us.” Brad Meuli, President/CEO, said.

  • Shelter Services Move to Auxiliary Location 1

    Shelter Services Move to Auxiliary Location

    The Mission operates the National Western Complex auxiliary shelter along with local service providers and later in the year the Denver Coliseum.

  • Fort Collins Rescue Mission Runs Temporary Shelter Location

    Fort Collins Rescue Mission Runs Temporary Shelter Location

    The Northside Aztlan Community Center became an auxiliary location for men during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Lawrence Street Shelter Renovations Completed

    Lawrence Street Shelter Renovations Completed

    Thanks to a grant from the City of Denver and generous donor support, the Lawrence Street Shelter building added many features including a ramp and elevator to accommodate guests with disabilities.

  • 48th Avenue Center Opens and 24/7 Shelter Begins

    48th Avenue Center Opens and 24/7 Shelter Begins

    In partnership with the City of Denver, the 24/7 operation includes beds for men, three meals a day, showers, restrooms and access to case managers who work with guests toward long-term solutions.

  • 2021 Annual Report 4

    Denver Rescue Mission celebrates 130 Years of Impact

    Denver Rescue Mission celebrates 130 Years of Impact.