Since 1972, Long Beach Rescue Mission has opened its doors to thousands of men, women and children. The Mission provides food, clothing, shelter and spiritual guidance to the homeless and less fortunate people of the community.
Long Beach Rescue Mission stands dedicated to helping individuals overcome the homeless cycle, achieve long term goals and make a world of difference in today’s society.
We also provide meals and worship services in the evenings and on Sundays to senior citizens and neighborhood families. The Mission provides loving care and spiritual guidance to help people who are homeless find purpose, direction and hope.
Individuals work with a case manager either in our 90 day Case Management Program or our one-year New Life Program, which helps men and women overcome substance abuse, addictions and life’s deeper challenges.
Through changing times – and the work of dedicated founders, staff, donors, volunteers and community leaders – Long Beach Rescue Mission has helped thousands of at-risk individuals for over forty years, transforming many hearts, minds and souls.
Troubled over the absence of emergency services for the homeless, founders Wayne and Janet Teuerle gathered support in the early seventies to open Long Beach Rescue Mission in an old shoe store that stood on the current World Trade Center site.
Through connections at Biola University, McDonnell Douglas and Bethany Baptist Church plus help from local law enforcement and city officials, the Teureles managed to serve 27 meals on opening day, offering a chapel service and a place to stay for 16 homeless men. That was August 7, 1972.
Later, in 1973, they started one of California’s few shelters for women and children with the purchase of a local residence for the original Lydia House, funded in part by the Good News Club and Ladies Auxiliary.
They also acquired a former clinic on 14th Street which was remodeled into a youth center – the first of its kind to focus on homelessness prevention and ministering to the young.
In 1982, in order to embrace the Teuerles’ broader vision and an expanding local homeless population the Mission moved to a space on Pacific Avenue, six times larger than the previous facility. Named Samaritan House, it was a truly special place where men with different backgrounds and challenges could get the in-depth help they needed.
Then, in 1984, a nearby building bought earlier as a youth center was demolished to make way for the new Lydia House, with three times as many beds as the original.
Samaritan House was later expanded in 1987 to include two additional dorms, classrooms, an administrative office and upstairs staff apartments.
Building on the Teuerles’ amazing work, Bill and Cindy Thomas assumed the helm of Long Beach Rescue Mission in 1996. And it continued thriving under their leadership.
They opened our Thrift Store, which serves the local community by offering low-cost goods and using the proceeds to fund Mission programs. They also aimed to expand the breadth of the Mission by acquiring additional property.
With a big heart for children, Bill and Cindy Thomas developed many new Mission programs designed to improve their welfare.
Arriving in Long Beach in 2006, Jim Lewis, the Mission’s third Chief Executive Officer, set the course for restructuring the Mission to meet the rapidly changing needs in Long Beach. Collaborative activities built stronger community relationships and allowed other agencies an inside view of the Mission’s programs. LBRM was immediately asked to take on the County Winter Shelter, housing up to 180 additional people during the winter months.
Long Beach Rescue Mission’s programs now have an established curriculum and structure to ensure our guests don’t just experience a “revolving door” ministry at the Mission. Case Management has been designed to help people connect to available resources, regain momentum and envision a new life in permanent housing.
The Mission enjoys a positive reputation in the community. More than fifty men and women are in its New Life Program, a one-year residential rehabilitation program. In addition, the “Bridge” program has been added, assisting in the re-entry of program graduates into the community.
After making significant contributions to the advancement of services and programs at the Mission, CEO Jim Lewis announced his departure in December of 2012.
Immediately after Mr. Lewis’ departure, Associate Director Chaplain Robert Probst was named the Interim CEO, and served in that capacity for eight months until he was officially appointed as the new Executive Director on August 12, 2013. Chaplain Probst had previously served as the Mission’s Associate Director for 5 years, bringing depth, structure and greater accountability to the Mission’s programs and services.
Chaplain Probst has since been leading the Board and staff through a new phase of the Mission’s strategic plan, which includes updating its infrastructure, building a new parking lot and expanding the Lydia House. According to Chaplain Probst, “The success of the Mission is determined by our success in operating as a unified team. It is my prayer that we draw closer through our vulnerability with one another, building trust and commitment to the task ahead, and focusing on the Mission’s strategic plan and accomplishing its goals. With God’s help and your partnership, we can continue to succeed!”