The CITY MISSION, like 255 similar missions throughout the country, has provided food, lodging, and spiritual guidance to Cleveland's homeless and needy since its establishment in Oct. 1910, when clergy and businessmen led by city welfare director Fred Ramsey invited missionary Mel Trotter to Cleveland. Trotter, converted to sobriety at the Pacific Mission in Chicago, raised $5,000 in 2 weeks and set up the City Mission in a former saloon at 1135 Superior Ave. Three years later the mission moved to a new building at 1318 St. Clair Ave. NE. The mission promised a hot meal and "Hope to all who enter here." Affiliated with the Intl. Union of Gospel Missions, the mission is interdenominational. In 1924 the mission moved to 801 St. Clair Ave.
Supported by churches, corporate and private donations and, after 1975, by the City Mission Endowment Foundation, the mission has served indigent men, found rooms for the homeless, fed and clothed the needy, visited the sick and imprisoned, and taught at the county detention home. After 1950 it offered children's vacation Bible school. In 1952 the mission opened dormitory housing for up to 40 transient men, and in 1965 purchased the Grand Valley Christian Ctr. camp and retreat. The mission relocated to 408 W. St. Clair in Mar. 1964. In 1981 the mission opened the Angeline Christian Home on W. 73rd St. for women needing temporary shelter. By the 1990s the home housed a yearly average of 600 women and children. The City Mission moved to 5310 Carnegie Ave. in Dec. 1991 and began constructing a new complex in June 1992, to include a youth center and emergency shelter units, as well as a building for the mission's Crossroads Ministry to homeless men. Completed in Oct. 1994, the 4-building complex also provided transitional housing. In 1994 the mission served an estimated 36,000 meals to the homeless and 16,000 homeless beds were occupied, with a daily average of 40 residents. The mission also offered a Youth and Adult camp in association with Grand Valley Christian Church of Ashtabula. Harry Banfield served as executive director in 1995.