In the early 1950’s, many men came to the East Texas area in search of work on the railroads or oilfields.
Those who couldn’t get or keep work often became homeless, sleeping and eating wherever they could. Several local pastors saw the problem and understood that people who are consumed with meeting the most basic human needs often cannot help themselves out of their situation, let alone open themselves to the healing power of God’s Word. Thanks to the efforts of these clergymen, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission was established in 1955 for the purpose of providing food, shelter, and gospel services to homeless men in the East Texas area.
In the 1990’s, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission began to see an alarming increase in the number of homeless single women and women with children. The Mission offered food and clothing, but there was not a place to shelter these women and children. The Board of Directors of Hiway 80 Rescue Mission began to pray and search for property suitable for a women and children’s home. As a result, the Women & Families Shelter (formerly known as Hope Haven) was established in 1998 to accommodate the increasing population of homeless women and single mothers with children.
In 2002, the ministry began to see the need for programs that would help individuals struggling with life controlling issues. As the ministry moved into the 21st Century, it became evident that more men were struggling with issues of addiction and other life controlling issues that perpetuated the cycle of homelessness. The New Creation Discipleship/Recovery Program was created.
In 2012 Hiway 80 Rescue Mission began a Community/Youth outreach Program in our community. Through events like the Family Christmas party, Family Easter Egg hunt, and Camp Rescue (a seven week summer day camp for children in the mission shelter and in the community), the mission is making contact with and reaching out to children and families to share the Gospel message.
2014 saw the completion of the Women and Families Shelter family cottages. These cottages provide a more secure space for families, and create more of a since of home and belonging. The number of women and children in homelessness continues to increase, and the family cottages have been a wonderful factor in contributing to the long term success of moms in shelter.
2015 saw the establishment of the New Directions program at the Women and Families Shelter. Encouraged by the success of the men's New Creation Discipleship/Recovery program, the New Directions program is a nine month, intensive, Christ centered program aimed at helping women gain victory over the abuse, abandonment, and neglect of the past.