Who We Are

Restoring lives in Jesus’ name

KARM serves men, women and children through a variety of progressive ministry programs designed to break the cycle of homelessness.

Our Mission Statement

We seek to rescue the poor and needy of the Knox area by providing recovery services in Jesus’ name.

A Brief History Of Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries

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1960

A group of ministers and businessmen saw the need to feed hungry men they saw on the streets. They purchased Heska Amuna Synagogue and opened Knoxville Union Rescue Mission. Garrett Jager was the first director.

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1984

Purchased property at 418 North Broadway

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1985

Serenity opened, offering 48 beds to serve the growing population of domestic violence victims in the Knox Area

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1990

Name changed from Knoxville Union Rescue Mission to Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM)

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1998

In response to growing needs, began a $6.2 million capital campaign to renovate facilities

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2002

Facility renovations completed, which included an expanded chapel; dining hall and kitchen; and increased shelter capacity for men, women and families

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2003

Burt Rosen became KARM’s President & CEO

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2004

KARM partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to launch Abundant Life Kitchen. KARM Stores established, and second KARM Store opens

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2008

Crossroads Welcome Center opens

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2009

Clean Start commercial cleaning job training program began

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2010

KARM celebrates its 50th anniversary

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2012

LaunchPoint began

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2013

NaNew’s Courtyard opened

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2017

Berea program launched. City Nights outreach begins.

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2018

Serenity reopens after $1.6 million renovation and addition
Berea residential begins

History

In 1960, five local pastors began looking for ways to meet the needs of Knoxville’s growing homeless population. They envisioned a ministry that would share the love of Jesus Christ by meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of hurting and homeless men who found themselves lost and forgotten in a busy world.

On December 8 of that year, they opened the doors of the Knoxville Union Rescue Mission, located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Knoxville’s downtown. With a new facility and staff fully in place, the young ministry began the slow, yet steady work of rescue and transformation, extending the hands and heart of Jesus Christ to all who walked through its doors.

Since those beginning days, the problem of homelessness has become multifaceted and even more complex, with an alarming rise not only in the number of men but also in the number of homeless women, teens and even entire families.

Changing Faces

Responding to the changing face of homelessness and East Tennessee’s growing need, the ministry changed its name to Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM).

Over The Years

Over the years, crimes of violence, theft, drugs and human trafficking among Knoxville’s homeless have dramatically increased, creating a culture of hopeless despair and resulting in a cyclical lifestyle that many find impossible to escape on their own.

In the very middle of this seemingly hopeless and chaotic situation, Knox Area Rescue Ministries continues to open its doors to our area’s homeless and hurting—extending overwhelming biblical hospitality and using our ministry formula of Rescue + Relationships = Restoration to help rekindle lost hope.

Since 1960

Since 1960, KARM has seen change of leadership, expansion of facilities, and the refinement of operational processes and procedures. But one thing has not changed—our commitment to restore lives in Jesus’ name.