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.

September 13, 2022

10:00 AM

Victory Fall Graduation

September 15, 2022

6:30 PM

September 30, 2022

5:00PM to 8:30PM

November 24, 2022

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner

December 23, 2022

10:00AM to 1:00PM

April 7, 2023

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Dr-Mills-counselingThe 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 and we’ve remained dedicated to this mission.

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.

In 2015 we opened the DRM Job Training & Donation Center and began renovations to the Church facility and added a new elevator.

In 2017 the new Ball  Family Student Housing opened with 66 new beds, family room, and computer classroom.

In 2019 the new Clegg Family Student Housing opened with 54 beds,  kitchen, dining room, and TV room.

In 2021 we began construction on the new Mills’ Family Student Housing. This should be completed in late 2022.

On December 31, 2021 our Founders, Ernie & Gail Mills, stepped away from day to day operations to focus on the Mission’s Rescue Legacy Fund. The board of directors named COO Rob Tart as the new CEO-President starting January 1, 2022. Rob has been with the  Mission for 25 years.

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. In 2018 we opened our Wake Forest thrift store on Main Street. In 2020 we opened our first pound store in our Training Center location on S. Alston Ave in Durham. In 2021 we opened our 4th location on Maddison Blvd in Roxboro.

Each of our thrift stores & pound store 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 the Durham Rescue Mission

DRM-Men's-CampusBe 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.

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