Contact: Dallas Life
1100 Cadiz Street
Dallas, TX 75215
Phone: (214) 421-1380
Fax: (214) 426-5114
Dallas Life reaches out to homeless men, women and children with food, clothing, shelter, education and long-term rehabilitation programs founded on spiritual principals and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Dallas LIFE began its service to the city over 50 years ago. However, the story of Dallas LIFE starts before that with a man named Reverend Robert J. Key. Reverend Key’s vision to help the homeless in Dallas was first put into action when he and several others started the Union Gospel Mission. After a few years working with that mission and recognizing the abundant need of the homeless, Reverend Key left to begin the plans for establishing the Dallas Rescue Mission. His one passion in life was to minister to the homeless. He threw that passion into building what was to become Dallas LIFE, the largest homeless shelter in north Texas.
Dallas Rescue Mission opened its doors in 1954 in a small storefront location on Commerce Street. The first location was just a few blocks from the city jail and housed 25 men each night. There, Rev. Key would minister to the men who came to him nightly for shelter and a hot meal. For 25 years, Rev. Key and a group of volunteers kept the shelter open every night, feeding thousands of meals.
In early 1979, Rev. Key, ailing and in poor health, asked Reverend James Starkes of the Jupiter Road Baptist Church to take over the operations of the Dallas Rescue Mission. Rev. Starkes, or Preacher as he liked to be called, moved the Mission just a few doors down on the same street into a larger building, now capable of sheltering 80 men every night. Less than a year later, the facilities were expanded to be able to house 25 women and children. For three more years, the Dallas Rescue Mission opened its doors to those that needed help. The small building on Commerce Street became known as a lighthouse of Christian love, teaching the Bible, treating those with addictions and helping all who came with job skills training, educational classes and more.
The Mission had become much more than just a homeless shelter, it had become a church, a hospital and school.Dallas Rescue Mission was no longer just an overnight shelter. To better reflect the programs of the shelter, the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Rescue Mission voted in 1981 to officially change the name to Dallas LIFE.
In 1983, having outgrown its facility and recognizing the increasing need for more space to help the homeless, the Board of Trustees of Dallas LIFE moved operations to the old Koone-McNatt Warehouse and its current location on Cadiz Street. The First Baptist Church of Dallas took the ministry in 1990 and the official name of the organization became Dallas Mission for Life d/b/a Dallas Life Foundation.
Reverend Ray Bailey, who had been the Director of Operations of the Foundation since 1979, was asked to serve as Executive Director in 1999. Under his leadership, Dallas LIFE continued to grow adding a computer school and GED education. Long term programs were developed for addiction recovery, senior citizens and those with slight mental illness issues. Rev. Bailey served for over 25 years and retired in August of 2005 at the age of 70.
June of 2005 brought the new face of Bob Sweeney along with his 20 years of ministerial experience in both pastoral as well as para-church ministry. Having served as a head chaplain in a maximum security prison he entered homeless ministry seven years before and was the Executive Director of Carriage Town Ministries, another Association of Gospel Rescue Mission. Coupled with years of senior pastor work Bob brings a fresh balance of accountability and compassion that challenges each of our guests to expect more and demonstrate a spirit of gratitude.
The history of Dallas LIFE lives in the countless hearts of those who have come through our doors. These fifty plus years has seen it steadfast in its mission, faithful to its guests and committed to its Savior.
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