The Union Gospel Mission began as a street ministry in 1949 when a group of Christian businessmen took to the streets of Dallas, telling the poor about God’s love for them. Through the 1950s, the Mission operated out of two rented buildings on Ervay Street, south of downtown offering food and clothing to those in need through a volunteer staff.
In 1962 we opened our first homeless shelter on Park Avenue, sheltering up to 75 men and 30 women. When Bill Thompson became Executive Director in 1988, he formalized our 4-phase, faith-based rehabilitation program that has transformed countless lives through spiritual counseling, job training—and God’s redemptive love. (Mission clients who graduate from our program are referred to as “disciples.”)
By the 1990s, the shelter was extremely overcrowded, with up to 150 men sleeping on the floor. Expansion was necessary—and in 1993, a one million dollar donation allowed the purchase of what is now our men’s shelter and administrative offices at 3211 Irving Boulevard.
In 2000, a HUD-owned property in the Parkland Hospital District was secured to become our new women and children’s shelter and the Center of Hope Women and Children’s Shelter opened in 2002.
In the Fall of 2010, the Mission purchased a 34-unit apartment complex in Lake Highlands to be a shelter and recovery program for single women without children. It opened in January, 2011.
Union Gospel Mission expanded our men’s shelter in March 2013, adding 128 new beds, 14 of which were dedicated to the Health Care for Homeless Veterans, a partner program with the Veterans Administration.
In 2015, we expanded our vocational training offerings and continue to establish partnerships with businesses who will help with both training and employment opportunities.
While our history is constantly evolving, the presence and sovereignty of God has remained steady. God has heard our prayers and requests and has always supplied the resources we need to transform lives in His name.