In 1892, businessmen from The Cumberland Street United Methodist Church had a vision to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of the poor and homeless. From that vision, the original Union Mission opened its doors.
In 1956, The Union Mission came under the direction of Rev. Theodore A. Bashford, who found a rescue shelter badly in debt that had lost sight of its original purpose. Under his guidance, the debts were paid, a Christian environment restored, and it began again to care for the needy. Under his direction, the ministry grew to include ten individual ministries in the Hampton Roads, Virginia community and a ministry in Romania: The Union Mission Men’s Shelter, The Women and Family Shelter, The Industrial Program and Retail Training Center, Community Assistance, Hope Haven Children’s Home, Hope Haven Adult Home, Camp Hope Haven, The New Life Center, Good News Channel 5 and Project Romania.
Rev. Bashford guided The Mission until his passing in October 2008. His daughter, Linda Bashford Vaughan, succeeded him as Executive Director. Over the years, the Men’s and Women’s Shelters moved five times until 2009 when a permanent campus was established in the city of Norfolk. The Union Mission continues to be a place where the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the poor and homeless are met each day.