Two years ago, we thought we had the expansion plan for the Topeka Rescue Mission figured out. We made the necessary announcements and began forging ahead. Yet in doing so, we continued to seek the Lord for guidance and found that revisions from the original plan were necessary. While our initial plan was good, what we’ve been most interested in all along is God’s master plan for our community and the needs present. We have found that following after His plan has taken a little longer than we would have thought and caused us to make a few more revisions than we might have preferred but because it means putting together programming that we believe is truly going to save lives and break the cycle of homelessness, it is all worth it!
Because of the time that has lapsed since our initial expansion announcement, there has been temptation to continue plowing forward with what we had originally publicized. The concern of what others would think if we presented yet another change has been a weight. However, in keeping focused on why the Topeka Rescue Mission exists and Who it is that has allowed us to remain in existence for over 60 years, we are confident in readjusting our plans to stay faithful to God’s voice and best meet the needs – even when it means stepping outside of our comfort zones and going a different direction than what we previously thought.
When we say, “Thank you for your patience and confidence in us,” we do not say so lightly. We are so honored to be a part of a community that genuinely cares about the needs of brothers and sisters who are struggling in life. We want to be good stewards over everything you entrust to us by way of time and donations and we also want to be good stewards over the lives that God has entrusted to our care. Each gift we receive, along with each life we encounter, is significant. Our prayer is that the plans outlined in this publication would be ones truly blessed by God to most effectively steward each treasured life encountered and gift that comes into our hands.
Our previously announced expansion plan involved building a new two-story facility that would have cost approximately $8 million. Though that is an extremely substantial amount, we have always known if God is in it, it wasn’t impossible. Through much prayer and further examination, we have now developed a master design which covers all of the areas our two-story building would have addressed but does so more cost-effectively and efficiently than what was previously being pursued.
The following is a snapshot into what the master plan for Mission expansion will look like. Look for more detailed floor plans and architectural sketches in a future Special Edition newsletter.
Legend: 1 Men’s and Women’s Intake Center; 2 Children’s Center;
3 Empowerment and Transformation Center; 4 Kitchen and Dining
EXPANDED SHELTER SPACE – 1
“… I was a stranger and you invited Me in” (Matthew 25:35, NIV).
For years, the Topeka Rescue Mission has operated under a variance to the code from the City of Topeka which has allowed us to operate at above capacity. Because of a lack of available bed space, there are nightly men, women and/or children sleeping on cots in common areas of either shelter program. New shelter initiatives will create new beds for men, women and children that will address current overflow concerns.
Hope Center for Women and Families
Currently the Hope Center serves as shelter space for women and families experiencing homelessness, regardless of their length of stay. Once additional shelter space is developed, the Hope Center will transition into a program-based shelter for women and families participating in long-term sustainability programming.
Intake Shelter for Women and Families
A new shelter will be developed on property east of the current main Mission building. A portion of this building will be secured for women and families initially seeking shelter. This will be the first place that they temporarily reside while meeting with advocates and determining if long-term programming is the best option. When entering into long-term programming, they will move to current Hope Center facilities. This area will be secured and separate from the men’s shelters also located in the building.
Intake Shelter for Men
Another portion of the new building being developed east of the main Mission building will be secured for men initially seeking shelter. As with the women and families, this will be the first place that men temporarily reside while meeting with advocates and determining if long-term programming is the best option. When entering into long-term programming, guests will move to the Men’s Program Shelter located in the same building.
Men’s Program Shelter
A program-based shelter for men participating in long-term sustainability programming will be located in the new building being constructed east of the main Mission building. This space will provide long-term shelter as men participate in programming.
CHILDREN’S CENTER – 2
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).
A large aspect of expansion programming includes a strong emphasis on the homeless children who come through our shelter programs. A children’s center will be created which provides a safe, Christ-centered, educational atmosphere for children to receive care and love while residing at the Topeka Rescue Mission. At the Center, children will receive of the transforming love of Jesus Christ and be helped to recognize their self-worth at an early age. This will help to later assist in breaking the cycle of homelessness within their families as true value and identity is received. Parenting classes, resource library, family events and other activities centered on assisting parents in becoming positive role models for children and equipping them to give their children the love they deserve will also be made available.
Children’s Center Phase I:
The Children’s Center will begin with a focus on children aged zero to five who are residing at the Topeka Rescue Mission. A newly acquired building located west of the Hope Center will be renovated to include space for the following at minimum: five classrooms, chapel, library, indoor play area, three (small) offices, one teacher’s lounge and the appropriate number of restroom facilities. An outdoor play area will also be developed.
Children’s Center Phase II:
Expansion to the building will take place which includes a large gymnasium (doubling as a storm shelter) and space to accommodate summer and after school programming for children in grades K-10 residing at the Topeka Rescue Mission. This will include a minimum of six classrooms and additional restroom facilities as needed. The outdoor play area will also be expanded to include age-appropriate equipment for children over the age of five. A potential increase in space for Pre-K programming may also be included.
EMPOWERMENT AND TRANSFORMATION CENTER – 3
“… Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
Classes and Programming
Once shelter space expands, the current main Mission building will become the Empowerment and Transformation Center. Here, homeless individuals will be offered classes and programming focused on permanently overcoming homelessness and moving on to independence in the community. With more program shelter space available, a greater focus will be placed upon the equipping of homeless individuals who come through our doors. Numerous classes in the area of life skills, vocation and educational training will be offered.
Hidden behind the faces of individuals from all walks of life are fears, doubts, confusion, chaos and hopelessness. When life seems overwhelming, a worship area located in the main Mission building will serve as a place of solitude where anyone can come to seek God and rest in His Presence while worship music steadily plays.
The Mission currently houses a medical clinic in the Main Mission building through the coordination of volunteer nurses and doctors. In order to more effectively treat and provide medical care to individuals and families residing at the Mission, this space will be expanded and renovated to include at minimum two exam rooms, office, waiting area and restroom.
KITCHEN AND DINING – 4
“Feed My sheep” (John 21:17).
For the past three years, there have been times when the Mission has served over 1,000 meals in one day through our dining area. Current kitchen and dining facilities, which date back to 1991, are not large enough to efficiently accommodate and provide this vast amount of ever-increasing meals. While we have had minor updates over the years, most of the structural and equipment with our kitchen are out of date. This coincides with our inability to permanently keep up with the increases we are encountering. Based on predictions that hunger is likely to continue increasing on national, state and local levels, we know that we will not see a decrease in the number of meals served anytime soon. Additionally, as shelter space expands and our population grows, even more space will be needed for seating.
A new kitchen and expanded dining area will be developed north of the main Mission building. Current dining facilities will be utilized for education/training space and chapel.