Charles and Mary Pope, founders of the Oxnard Rescue Mission, came to southern California from Amarillo, Texas in 1967 to begin training in the ministry of Rescue in Santa Barbara. Shortly thereafter, they were instrumental in establishing the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. Five years later, Chuck felt a call from God to pioneer another Rescue Mission in the Oxnard / Ventura area. Along with his faithful and devoted wife Mary, Chuck began to look for a location for a Rescue Mission.
Joining forces, they shared the vision of a Rescue Mission with area pastors and, in 1972, established the first Board of Directors: Charles Pope, Chairman; Tom Fragano, Vice Chairman; Ruben Miranda, Secretary; and Reverend John Foster, Treasurer.
Initial funding required to renovate facilities and begin operation were obtained in 1972 by loans from the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, the Union Rescue Mission of Los Angeles, and the private sector. Incorporated in the State of California on July 6, 1972 as the Oxnard Rescue Mission, the organization began operations at the facility on Sixth Street in Oxnard where it is still located today.
In September 1989, the Mission's name was changed to Ventura County Rescue Mission in order to better align its name with the scope of its countywide services. The Ventura County Rescue Mission is the longest standing shelter for the homeless in Ventura County. Today, the Mission's capacity has more than 125 beds.
On July 5, 1992 after 20 years of service to the community, a fire broke out in the main dormitory early Sunday morning. Fortunately, no lives were lost and no one was injured. The fire destroyed the men's dormitory. Along with community support and faithful donors, the mission was able to construct a new building and, in July 1998, fully occupied the new facility. The old Rescue Mission building is still used for a Learning and Recreation Center for program men. It also houses several offices.
Tremendous growth in existing programs and development of additional programs and services to the homeless in adjacent Los Angeles County initiated another organizational name change on August 4, 1997 to the Rescue Mission Alliance.
Recognizing the need for services for women and children, the Rescue Mission Alliance started the Lighthouse for Women and Children in Oxnard in 1998.
The Rescue Mission Alliance started serving the homeless in San Fernando Valley in 1998 through the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission and the Valley Food Bank. In August 2003, Central Coast Rescue Mission came under the wing of Rescue Mission Alliance, and in February 2008 the Victor Valley Rescue Mission entered into the Rescue Mission Alliance family.
Rescue Mission Alliance has recently purchased a school in the San Fernando Valley and will be expanding the mission with housing for families in need. We expect it to be completed in 2015.