History & Mission
Wayside has been serving the most vulnerable in our community for more than 63 years.
Wayside Christian Mission’s mission statement reflects the agency's programs of providing emergency shelter and offering life-changing programs.
"The purpose of the Wayside Christian Mission is to respond to the human need of the poor and homeless by (1) providing temporary housing/shelter, food, clothing, nurturing, spiritual and social enrichment, encouragement and referrals (2) and by providing the support services and skills that would permit and encourage a return to a state of self-sufficiency so that human dignity can be restored and the love of God can be shared."
Wayside Christian Mission was started in 1957 by Reverend Richard Anderson, a student who had moved from Indianapolis to attend the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.
Rev. Anderson had worked as a counselor with homeless people at Wheeler Rescue Mission in Indianapolis but had found that his clients coming through Louisville did not have a place to stay.
While a student in Louisville, Anderson organized an ecumenical group of church leaders, business people, law enforcement officials, judges, and concerned citizens to help develop a rescue mission.
E. Preston Young, a local attorney, churchman, and advocate for the poor, drew up the articles of incorporation and Wayside opened as an interdenominational rescue mission on Dec. 8, 1957, with just 10 beds for men to have overnight lodging.
Wayside was the first rescue mission in Louisville. Rev. Anderson opened the doors of the mission to people of all races. This was a bold move during the late 50’s. In fact, Wayside Christian Mission was the first racially integrated rescue mission south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
During the following years, the mission grew as the need for shelter increased. In 1972, Wayside Christian Mission moved to 822 East Market Street. In 1984 the mission opened a Family and Women’s Shelter to meet the new face of homelessness: entire families living on the street.
The 800 block of East Market Street would remain our home until 2009, when a regentrification thrust necessitated us finding a new location. In 2001, Wayside Christian Mission purchased the former Pavilion Healthcare Center as the new home of our Men’s Shelter.
Throughout the years, the Wayside Christian Mission has always adjusted and adapted to the needs of the population. In a bold move in 2009, Wayside Christian Mission purchased the 12-story Hotel Louisville at a foreclosure auction.
Today, we operate two primary campuses: The Jefferson Street Campus – 432 East Jefferson Street, and the Hotel Louisville Campus – 120 West Broadway.
These two campuses, located in downtown Louisville only 12 blocks apart, house between five to six hundred people or more nightly, and provide about 2,000 meals to the homeless and hungry each day.
Most programs are open twenty-four hours a day and assist target populations, such as families with children, women and men with substance abuse issues, and veterans.
To provide additional emergency overnight shelter, the mission operates a low barrier shelter, the Wayside Rescue Station, at the Jefferson Street Campus, housing an additional 100 men, women, and families.
In addition to emergency and transitional shelter, Wayside provides 51 permanent supportive housing units for homeless people who are either physically and/or mentally disabled.
Our goal has always been to walk in the path of Christ and minister to all people who find themselves in desperate situations, often lost, confused and without directions.
We meet not only the emergency needs of food, shelter and clothing, but guide our residents to experience the full love of God and to live their lives as children of God.
Since its beginning in 1957, Wayside Christian Mission has been serving the most vulnerable in our community. The Mission has been a beacon of hope for thousands of people over the years.
Our history is grounded in our love of God and our duty to share God’s love by our actions to all people. We follow the example of Christ, who reached out and healed the sick, loved the outcasts and saved those separated from God.
Throughout our history, God has provided us with many locations to carry out our duties to provide food, shelter, and clothing.
We have been given the honor to serve the least, last and lost of our community, not only with the basics for survival, but with hope for a better life, a positive way filled with God’s love and grace.
Wayside Christian Mission operates many programs, including:
Men’s Emergency Shelter
Women’s Emergency Shelter
Family Emergency Shelter
Veteran’s Emergency and Transitional Shelter
Men and Women’s Permanent Supportive Housing
Affordable Low-Income Efficiency Housing
Men’s Sober Living Program
Women’s Sober Living Program
Sober Living Transitional Lodging
Wayside Rescue Station - Low Barrier Shelter
Hotel Louisville housing our women’s sober living program, women’s permanent supportive housing program, and sober living transitional lodging. The hotel is also open to the public and provides income to the Mission and job training for our residents.
Wayside Christian Mission Shelter Campus
432 East Jefferson Street
Louisville KY 40202
Hotel Louisville Campus
120 West Broadway
Louisville KY 40202
Wayside Christian Mission
PO Box 7249
Louisville KY 40257
502-584-3711 and 502-582-2241