Mission / History
Our mission is to seek to rescue the poor and needy of the Knox area by providing recovery services in Jesus' name.
Knox Area Rescue Ministries was formally established on December 8, 1960 by five local pastors under the original organizational name Knoxville Union Rescue Mission. Recognizing the necessity for a permanent ministry effort to meet the needs of the growing population of the homeless in Knoxville, these men forged the vision as well as established the first ministry center located in the heart of the downtown area on Fifth Avenue.
The founders of this work envisioned a truly compelling ministry that would share the love of Jesus Christ by meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of hurting and homeless men who found themselves lost and forgotten in a busy world. With a new facility and staff fully in place, the young ministry began the slow, yet steady work of rescue.
The early years were both challenging and rewarding as the lives of men were profoundly changed. Homelessness was exchanged for shelter, hot meals, decent clothing and a welcome smile. Hopelessness was replaced by optimism, confidence and opportunity. Lives that formerly had no defined purpose or direction were now being transformed as the young mission extended the hands and the heart of Jesus Christ to all who came. In the subsequent years, the problem of homelessness in the greater Knoxville area became multifaceted and more complex as an alarming number of homeless women now joined their male counterparts on the streets.
The homeless population further increased as whole families found themselves impoverished, destitute and completely without hope or resources. Crimes of violence, theft and prostitution dramatically increased, creating a cyclical lifestyle that many of the poor and homeless found impossible to escape on their own. Accompanying issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction and domestic violence increased, producing a culture characterized by despair, desperation and the downward spiral of acceptable human conditions.
In the midst of this seemingly hopeless and chaotic situation, Knox Area Rescue Ministries has emerged as Knoxville's answer to the plight of the poor and the homeless. The passing of years has seen change of leadership, expansion of facilities and the refinement of operational processes and procedures.
Today KARM serves men, women and children through a variety of progressive ministry programs designed to break the cycle of homelessness.