Over 100 Years of Helping Detroit
The Mission began as a soup kitchen that provided church services, shelter, food and clothing for the homeless and downtrodden. It changed locations several times and added services to meet the needs of the ever-changing community. Those services include substance abuse treatment, transitional and permanent housing, job preparation and educational courses.
Since the beginning, we have rebuilt hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed by addiction, homelessness and poverty. We’re a firm believer that you have to treat the whole person to make a permanent change and that’s what we do. You’ve got to help the homeless help themselves.
Our main mission at DRMM is to find permanent solutions for the disheartened and disadvantaged so that they can look to the future and not look back at their past.
The Detroit Rescue Mission was founded by David C. Stucky on February 14, 1909. The Mission was housed in an old poultry store, and in order to hold the first chapel service, Mr. Stucky had to beg for and borrow chairs for his guests. He did not have music for the service either, since he did not have the $30.00 needed to purchase an organ. Following a strong prompting from the Lord, Mr. Stucky went home. When he arrived, there was a letter waiting for him containing a donation of exactly $30.00. With a thankful heart, Mr. Stucky bought an organ that day, and was able to play for the Detroit Rescue Mission’s first chapel service.
The growing Mission moved into slightly larger quarters. Thanksgiving and Christmas were very challenging for the Mission staff and volunteers. They worked in shifts for several days preparing bags of food to distribute to over 400 needy families.
The Mission moved into the Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, and during the subsequent depression years, approximately 400 families received food from the Mission each week. Mr. Stucky sometimes took canned goods from his own basement shelves at home in order to keep some inner city families from starving.
The work of the Mission became more widely known. However, all of the needs of the inner city were never quite met. The hard work began to wear on Mr. Stucky’s health and he died later that year. The Mission continues under the leadership of his son, Obed Stucky.
A new facility was built on June 13, 1953. During this era, the Tuesday night medical clinic was started through the local chapter of the Christian Medical Society. Young doctors and medical students were brought in to help.
The Auxiliary was formed and began sponsoring many special projects and luncheons. Their annual Christmas project made it possible for all program clients, transients, and neighborhood women and children to receive something for Christmas. The auxiliary also held a Ladies’ Day Bible Study and provided counseling for neighborhood women.
On January 30, 1963, the Mission moved into its present location at 3535 Third Street, in the heart of the Cass Corridor. This gave a facelift to a very run-down neighborhood.
Lakeview Farms (later to become Wildwood Ranch) was purchased. The farm of 240 acres of woods, streams, lakes and fields is located in Howell, Michigan. The property was initially used for rehabilitative therapy for men in the Mission’s programs.
The Christian Guidance Center was established. The facility offered a therapeutic community, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Corrections, for pre-release inmates who were substance abusers. The program included weekly individual counseling, group therapy, Alcoholics for Christ meetings, and recreation and social activities. The Christian Guidance Center also offered a Substance Abuse Life Training Program for clients referred from other agencies.
Lakeview Farms was transformed into Wildwood Ranch, a Christ-Centered camp for inner city children and teens. The ranch provided spiritual nourishment and Bible teaching to young people and offered outdoor activities. The children engaged in such activities as archery, horsemanship, arts and crafts, swimming and fishing.
On Christmas Eve, the doors of Genesis House 1 opened to shelter homeless women and their children. It was one of the first residential shelters of its kind in Detroit. In addition to emergency shelter, food and clothing, the women and children at Genesis House 1 received Christian counseling, advocacy services, and referral services.
Genesis House II opened after being beautifully restored through the Adopt-A-Room Program, in which many churches and agency volunteers “adopted” a room to decorate. This facility provided a haven for homeless women and their children, while Genesis House I began to provide residential substance abuse treatment services for women.
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries rescued “The Grateful Home” from fiscal insolvency. The Grateful Home was the oldest emergency shelter and residential substance abuse treatment facility for women with children in the State. With this merger, DRMM became the largest provider of substance abuse treatment.
DRMM successfully met the high standard of performance required by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and was accredited for a period of three years. Accreditation was renewed again for three years in 1997, 2000, and 2003.
The Daybreak House at The Grateful Home was renovated and beautifully furnished through the efforts of churches, individuals and businesses involved in the Adopt-A-Room Program. In July, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would award grants to help fight homelessness in Detroit. Three DRMM facilities, Detroit Rescue Mission, Genesis House II, and the Grateful Home (later renamed Genesis House III) were among the 20 recipients of funds and received $ 4.1 million to begin transitional housing services.
In February, the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit donated the Highland Park YMCA building to DRMM. This newest facility opened its doors in September as The Oasis. It is DRMM’s largest facility, housing emergency and transitional housing and community youth recreation programs. The Grateful Home, Inc. was renamed Genesis House III.
DRMM established a Medical Department (located in The Oasis) staffed by a doctor and several nurses, providing medical treatment, drug and alcohol detoxification services, and drug screening of clients 24 hours a day. Genesis I substance abuse treatment clients were moved to the Genesis III campus so that all addicted women and their children could receive services at the same site. A food depot was established at The Oasis, serving as a central storage and routing facility for all donated food goods. The food was distributed to all DRMM’s facilities on an “as needed” basis, allowing the Ministries to fully utilize its donations and furthering its ability to meet the ever-growing needs of the community. The Christian Guidance Center moved to the 5th floor of The Oasis. The former Christian Guidance Center buildings became the site of New Beginnings, a mentoring program for Associate Staff.
The Teen Moms Program, a transitional housing program funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Wayne County Family Independence Agency, opened its doors to eight homeless teen mothers and their children at the Genesis I site. President Donald F. DeVos was honored by the United Community Services as the Executive of the Year for his accomplishments in guiding the Ministries through the expansive growth that addressed the emerging needs of the City’s residents.
The Oasis Library, funded through donations, had its grand opening. The facility was fully equipped with shelving, furnishings, comprehensive reading resource materials and computers for use by residents learning computer skills. The Samaritan Center, a transitional housing program for 25 homeless, mentally ill and addicted adults, was opened through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. A fully equipped commercial laundry and kitchen were installed at The Oasis. DRMM celebrated its 90th anniversary with a dinner at the Athenaeum that was hosted by Diana Lewis of WXYZ-TV and attended by 400 people.
DRMM received the Honorable Distinction of the Huegli Award through the United Community Way for its collaboration with and responsiveness to needs of the Highland Park community; the Veterans Independence Project, a transitional housing program for 18 homeless veterans, and its grand opening at The Oasis. The Hub, a central warehouse facility, was purchased and all support and operations services moved to that site. The facility houses a food depot and all material resource donations as well as providing office space for all centralized services personnel. The McGregor Fund awarded a major grant to expand the Medical Detoxification program at The Oasis.
DRMM purchased 211 Glendale, in Highland Park, to house its expanding Medical division and Detoxification Unit. Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries was recognized by “Detroit 300” for its continuous length of service to residents of the City of Detroit.
The six-story Highland Park YWCA was purchased and named The Donald F. DeVos Ministry Center in honor of our late president. A five year contract was negotiated with the City of Highland Park to manage the City’s Ernest T. Ford Recreational Center and continue services to seniors and youth.
Boulevard House, a grand old mansion at 335 East Grand Boulevard, was completely renovated and furnished to provide transitional housing for 16 women and their children. The Boulevard House is designed to cement sobriety and assist in resolving issues that would otherwise promote relapse and continued homelessness.
“My Own Place”, two single-family homes located on Webb adjacent to Genesis House II, provide permanent housing for women with disabilities. Both in 1975 and 1981, the single-family homes on Webb were completely renovated and furnished to house mothers and their children.
816 Brainard was renovated and furnished to provide seven permanent housing apartments for men.
Youth Challenge Course, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, was initiated at Wildwood Ranch. The objective of the Youth Challenge Course is to increase leadership skills and personal responsibility.
The DRMM Annex, located at 3607 Third Street, was remodeled to provide a large activities area and to house Mission offices, thus freeing up space in the Detroit Rescue Mission at 3535 Third for additional transitional housing for men.
Detroit Rescue Mission was reconfigured to provide for 72 men in transitional housing.
The Donald F. DeVos Ministry Center, the former Highland Park YWCA, renamed in honor of our late president, had its open house and fund raiser on April 28, 2005 for new permanent housing clients.
In conjunction with Mitch Albom, DRMM opened the S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit Family Health Clinic to give basic medical treatment to low-income mothers and their children.
The Cornerstone Bistro opened to offer a Culinary Arts program for our clients and the first five (5) Star Restaurant for the City of Highland Park, MI.
The Veterans permanent housing program was opened at 211 Glendale.
Renovation was completed for the DRMM Banquet Hall located at 4606 E. Forest.
The Lighthouse Food Bank, in Macomb County, that offers food baskets to the poor and homeless, was added to our Ministries.
DRMM identified as a warming center in Detroit and acquired Camp Burt Shurly