Joy House

Where women's lives are transformed. For good.


Abuse. Divorce. Death of a spouse. Drug addiction. Job loss. There are all sorts of reasons a woman ends up homeless. Of Milwaukee's 100,000 adults living in poverty, 71% are women. They're often single moms with young kids. Many have no place to turn. Often, they are victims of domestic violence. But for those who find their way to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, they'll be welcomed with unconditional love. At Joy House, they'll find safe shelter, hot, nutritious meals and life-changing help — through our long- and short-term Christian-based programs — to rebuild their lives and get back on their feet.

Joy House programs

1New Life

This inspirational program, which includes two weeks of classes, is the first step toward starting over. New Life equips women with the real-world skills they need to prepare for an independent, stable and secure life. They will also receive the spiritual guidance they need to become emotionally and spiritually healthy.

The program includes:

  • Job search training
  • Basic adult education
  • Christian counseling and education
  • Parenting and life-skills classes
  • Financial management principles
  • One-on-one case management

2Fresh Start

This 6-12 month transitional living program builds on New Life by providing women and their families with the additional support and training they need to ensure long-term success in their new lives. Fresh Start offers women the kind of practical education and tools they can use to move forward with dignity and confidence.

The program includes:

  • Christian discipleship
  • Continuing education
  • Healthy choice training
  • Time and money management counseling
  • In-depth parenting skills
  • Job training

3Door of Hope

For women who are experiencing homelessness and are unaccompanied by dependent children, it can be very difficult to find shelter and other resources. In 2018, in response to the need, Joy House added the Door of Hope program. Through Door of Hope, women receive basic necessities and also have access to tools that can help them make a new start.

Cross Trainers Academy

While not part of Joy House, Cross Trainers Academy serves some of the children whose moms are in our programs. The Cross Trainers Academy's Christian-based environment gives at-risk kids the additional education, love and support they need to succeed. They learn more than just academics; they're taught valuable lessons about morals and character.

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Transformed Lives

How Joy House has helped these women find new life and a fresh start.


Tami's story reads like a movie — abduction, beatings, hostage, escape. And a soul yearning for a place, purpose and love. She lived house-to-house, finding shelter with friends or family or anyone who had a space. She sometimes lived on the street. By the time she found her way to Milwaukee Rescue Mission, she had some deep anger issues. “I wasn't talking to anyone,” she says. “And I was tired of depending on others who didn't care.”

Read Tami's story


“I can't remember a time I wanted to live. I never knew my father, and my mother was an alcoholic prostitute who wanted to abort me. I often wished I hadn't been born. After high school, a boyfriend who used crack cocaine started abusing me. I escaped him, but ended up with a string of abusive men. I stayed with them because I felt like they were all I had. I was so hopeless. I desperately needed help, but there was no one to give it to me.”

Read Melanie's story


Krystal didn't plan to get pregnant as a teen. But when she did, her family and the baby's father turned their backs on her. Scared, but determined to move on, earn her GED and become a nurse, she came to Joy House, not quite sure what to expect. “At first,” she admits, “I felt like things weren't going to be right for me. I was so wrapped up in what I thought was important for me. But God wanted me to go in a different direction . . .”

Read Krystal's story

These are just a few of the inspiring stories of women that have found new hope and strength through the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.Check out moreamazing talesof transformation.

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