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Our History

Urban Ministries of Durham has a long history in downtown Durham. While our partners and practices have evolved over the years, we remain dedicated to helping people experiencing poverty and homelessness.
In the early 1980s, Durham—like many American cities—witnessed a a growing number of homeless and hungry people downtown. Urban Ministries of Durham has a long history in the downtown Durham Community. With leadership from area faith communities, the Urban Ministries Center was founded in 1983 as a host site for area service organizations. The Durham Community Shelter for HOPE was next door. In 2001, the Durham Community Shelter for HOPE, St. Philip’s Community Cafe, and the United Methodist Mission Society merged to form Urban Ministries of Durham.

Since 2001, UMD has operated as a campus, using both the Resource Center at Liberty and Queen streets and the Community Shelter at Liberty and Dillard streets to comprehensively address the emergency needs of the poor, hungry, and homeless in Durham, North Carolina.

Timeline of Important Events

1983: Our Founding

The Urban Ministries Center was founded as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit as a host site for area service organizations in the former gymnasium and classroom building once occupied by St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. With leadership from area faith communities, the Center included St. Philip’s Community Café, and the United Methodist Mission Society (Food Pantry and Clothing Closet).

1983

2001

2001: Shelter Merge: Joining CoC

The organizations at The Urban Ministries Center (410 Liberty Street) and the Durham Community Shelter for HOPE owned by Durham County (412 Liberty Street), merged to form Urban Ministries of Durham. UMD would operate the shelter and staff the shelter, while the County would continue financial and maintenance support.

2011: Case Management begins

Case Management is offered to everyone residing at UMD

2011

2013

2013: Re-branding

UMD rebrands with new colors, logos, mission statement and core values with help from McKinney. Despite no longer being a religious organization, it is decided to retain the name Urban Ministries of Durham due to its history with faith communities, and name recognition within our community.

2015: Joining the Collaborative

UMD joins the Collaborative to End Family Homelessness in Durham. Residents no longer have to push a stroller around the city with kids in tow to find resources and shelter vacancies. UMD is officially the backup shelter for Families, providing 9 family rooms. Location includes a full-time Families Case Manager and provides a successful model for shelter diversion.

2015

2019

2019: Coordinated Entry

The CoC establishes Durham Entry Point. Coordinated entry creates a “front door” where all homeless individuals or those on the brink of homelessness enter the system through the same door so that everyone has equal access to resources that best fits their needs. All referrals for shelter at UMD are now made at Coordinated Entry.

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