City Mission was born of faith. In the midst of World War II, The Reverend Burt McCausland held City Mission’s first chapel service in a modest storeroom on South Main Street in Washington, Pennsylvania. He acted in faith, with no way of knowing that in the year 2016, the mission he founded would be celebrating seventy-five years of providing hope for the homeless of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul says that he is not ashamed of the Gospel, “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” At City Mission we could not agree more. Throughout our history, we have boldly shared the Gospel in our mission work. And the essence of the Gospel is that it’s a free gift, so we have never made faith or belief a precondition for receiving help. Instead, we have always cheerfully shared our faith in the Gospel to all who come to us for aid.

The Gospel is our lifeblood. It has always flowed through our organization, and it is the foundation of everything we do. In order to act out our faithfulness to the Gospel, City Mission has held child evangelism classes, Sunday school, nightly chapel services, prayer meetings, street meetings, weekly services at the county jail, and visitations to hospitals, homes, and the jail. The Gospel is the reason we have provided counseling and spiritual guidance to countless men, women, and children over three-quarters of a century. It’s also the reason we have always collaborated with local churches and ministries to spread the Good News in our community.


In addition to being faithful to the Gospel, we have also been faithful to the mission that flows from it. For seventy-five years we have cared for the lost, poor, hungry, and homeless in numerous practical ways. City Mission began with a dormitory for homeless men, and we soon added the capacity to serve homeless women and children as well. Early on, picnics and holiday events for children were a way to reach out to those in need. All the while, we have offered free shelter, security, and hot meals to those in need. Along the way, we added thrift stores to reach out to the public and to make our ministry more sustainable.

We have taken faithfulness to our mission so seriously that we have refused to stand still or stagnate in our service. Our history is full of expansions that allowed us to serve more men, women, and children with a wider array of practical services. As the nature of homelessness and poverty in America has changed, we have adapted our services to the needs of hurting families with nowhere else to go.



404 South Main Street: City Mission holds its first chapel service in a small storeroom.


322 West Chestnut Street: A men’s dormitory opens with a fifteen-bed shelter and provides free meals to homeless and poor men.


84 West Wheeling Street: First Christian Church becomes the home of City Mission, tripling shelter capacity.


City Mission acquires three buildings adjacent to the current location on West Wheeling Street.


The community rallies around City Mission when its main building, including the men’s shelter and kitchen, are destroyed in a fire.


City Mission opens three new stores and a boutique. The new men’s shelter and kitchen open, and ground is broken for a renewed Avis Arbor women’s shelter.


As we celebrate our seventy-fifth year of service, our ministry of grace is stronger than it ever has been. Grace means giving someone what they need, not what they deserve. The beating heart of City Mission’s work is the giving of grace by meeting critical needs without prejudice or qualification.

Because a good, hot meal can be the first step toward full life renewal, we remain committed to providing food for the hungry. Our feeding ministry serves as a gateway to addressing more fundamental needs, including housing, employment, income, drug and alcohol addiction recovery, and spiritual growth. Likewise, the gift of shelter is often the first step on the path to recovery from a wide array of life circumstances, such as mental illness, emotional trauma, histories of physical or mental abuse, abandonment, and isolation, any one of which could contribute to functional and vocational disabilities, lead to chemical addictions, repeated relapses and incarceration, and ultimately homelessness. Graciously meeting our residents’ physical needs allows us to give them an even greater gift: hope for the future.


As City Mission looks to the future of its service to the community, we are planning a grace-filled future for Southwestern Pennsylvania. With your help, we will prepare for more years of sharing the Gospel, caring for those in need, and partnering to provide grace and hope for the homeless.