Local News

Durham Rescue Mission announces new shelter, change in leadership

Posted January 19, 2021 11:16 a.m. EST

— The Durham Rescue Mission announced plans Tuesday to build a third homeless shelter in downtown Durham in the next two years.

"I can't predict the future," said Ernie Mills, Jr., the Durham Rescue Mission's stewardship officer. "But we need to begin to prepare for what I believe is coming in the future. And that is we need more beds."

Mills said the new building will provide shelter for 66 more people and is needed as the COVID-19 pandemic causes a spike in homelessness, substance abuse and addiction.

The City of Durham has approved the use of the site, and the Durham Rescue Mission has started raising money to make it a reality. Mills hopes to break ground this year and open the new shelter in 2022.

He also said he is resigning from his position as CEO so he and his wife can focus their attention on talking to donors and raising the money to build the new shelter.

"We're not retiring," Mills said. "We're not leaving the mission. We're just stepping down as CEO and moving over to our other corporation, which is the Rescue Legacy Fund."

Rob Tart, a member of the Durham Rescue Mission for 25 years and the current chief operating officer, will take over the CEO position.

"He has a heart for the clients at the mission ... and he is the brains behind our thrift stores," Mills said, adding that, thanks to Tart, the thrift stores have been one of the Durham Rescue Mission's greatest projects.

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