History of Hope Ministries

Hope Ministries was founded as Hope Rescue Mission in 1954 by Tobe Schmucker under the direction of the Mennonite Board of Missions in a former hotel and tavern in downtown South Bend. Hope's initial mission was to shelter, feed and minister to homeless men, but within a year Hope began serving homeless women and families as well. Hope has been an independent, non-denominational ministry since 1963.

Hope has a long history of growing and changing its programs to meet the needs of our community. Starting in the 1980’s, Hope’s board became concerned with the growing number of homeless in the community, especially homeless women and families. After working with a number of other organizations throughout the 1980’s and the 1990’s to try to meet this need, Hope’s board made a decision to open a second facility. A building was acquired in 2001 at 432 S. Lafayette Blvd. and opened as our Family Life Center in 2005. The original building on Michigan Street now primarily provides space for a community kitchen, where nearly 300 meals are served every day. The Family Life Center provides housing for 18 families (including single mothers, married couples and single fathers), 16 single women and 40 single men. Hope's newest program, Help With Love, joined forces with us in 2015 and helps churches join resources to help people in need all over St. Joseph County.