Celebrating 99 years in the community
Boulware's Mission Statement is to help displaced individuals become self-sufficient through education, treatment and services.
Our focus is on recovery from the root causes that brought our clients to Boulware in the first place.
Boulware has been a staple of the Owensboro community for almost 99 years.
Today's Mission began as the dream of a local school teacher, Miss Milton Boulware, who wanted to help feed the poor and shelter the homeless. She and four colleagues founded the Gospel Center Mission, which would later be re-named the Boulware Mission, on May 23, 1921.
In it's early days, it served as a faith-based settlement house and a place where neighborhood children could be supervised after school and feel safe.
The original Hall Street building was purchased and renovated at a cost of $2,500, a small fortune at that time.
$1,500 came from the Christian Men's League and the rest through contributions from businesses and civic minded residents of
Owensboro. The Mission had been in operation less that a year when nine businessmen who had been supporting the project decided that is should be incorporated and on April 11, 1922, the Gospel Center Mission was recognized as a non-profit corporation.
During the 1930's, a soup kitchen was established at the Mission and as many as 300 people were fed per day. In 1950, after Miss Milton's 50 years of teaching, she decided to retire and devote all of her time to the Mission. By then, the Gospel Center Mission had 32 rooms. It was housing transients, operating a kindergarten class for poor children, and hosting prayer meetings and community programs. There were music lessons, a Homemakers class, Sunday school lessons and singing on Sunday afternoons. By the early 1970's, more than 1,000 people participated monthly in the activities provided at the Mission. In 1979, the Mission partnered with Audubon Area Community Services for awhile.
Several funded programs began at the Hall Street location including: after school child care, senior citizens' programs, congregate meals, adult education classes, transient sleeping facilities, cooking, crafts, quilting, feeding programs for children, and more. Operational funding mostly came from the United Way while the Salvation Army funded the transient services.
In the early 1990's, the Mission exclusively became a homeless shelter. Life skills classes were incorporated and the need for a drug and alcohol addiction treatment program was recognized. The program was introduced in 2005. As the need for client services overextended the capability of the Hall Street facility, the board considered the option of expanding that building. Instead of expanding, the board voted to purchase the vacant Passionist Nun Convent at 609 Wing Avenue.
In 2006, the Mission gained approval from the city to operate the Wing Avenue property as a satellite of Hall Street with a maximum occupancy of 90 clients. A $500,000 renovation of the Wing Avenue building was conducted and in November of 2008, the Wing Avenue campus was formally opened with beds for 31 male clients.
Over the years, the work of the Mission has adapted many times in order to meet the greatest needs of the community. As the Mission's drug and alcohol treatment program proved successful, it started to gain attention by the local courts and judges began sending individuals to treatment and services as the Mission in lieu of incarceration. Today, Boulware Mission provides shelter services to displaced men as well as a long-term self-sufficiency program aimed at helping clients become independent, contributing members of the community.
Boulware provides clients with 3 nutritious meals per day, snacks, emergency clothing, personal hygiene items, secure shelter, case management services, outreach, advocacy, and referrals to local and regional resources along with follow-up services. The Self-Sufficiency program includes financial literacy, referrals for GED tutoring, employment skills, and licensed substance abuse treatment.
In addition to the residential services, several services are offered to the public, including an all-female substance abuse treatment program, and public treatment program for men. Boulware primarily serves the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) of Western Kentucky which includes the counties of Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union and Webster. The Mission is located in Owensboro, Kentucky. Services provided by Boulware Mission are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Money from the United Way, local and federal grants, churches and other organizations, and private contributors pay for the cost of daily operations and services. Clients pay a small fee to attend the licensed treatment program.
Clients are accepted for services without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, gender identity, disability, genetics, ancestry or veteran status. Boulware is not, however, a medical or assisted living facility and is not equipped to serve individuals who require assistance with daily independent living activities.