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Our Mission

Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission at Welcome House Knoxville is to share the love of Jesus through the ministries of hospitality and friendship. We provide safe and loving homes for individuals and families in transition to permanent housing.

Our Vision is for Welcome House Knoxville to do more than meet temporary housing needs.

We want our houses to be a place where former guests return and encourage current residents, showing them the possibilities for a good life here in Knoxville. We want it to be a place where interested locals "dip their toes into" working with internationals: from dropping off a package of toilet paper to helping guests move into a more permanent home. We want all our families to have a safe, encouraging place to land in a new country.


Welcome House Knoxville was established in 2019 to help refugees find a safe place to live temporarily as they adjust to the Knoxville Community. Our Founder, Cindy Hood, worked for over ten years with Bridge Refugee Services and the Knoxville Internationals Network. Through this work she learned about Welcome Houses in North Carolina: a series of homes furnished to hold multiple families for short times at reasonable rates. She immediately knew Knoxville needed to join their network.


Why We Serve

The Biblical Response to Immigration

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb."

Revelation 7:9

Acts 17: 26-27

"From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would see Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us."

Matthew 25: 31-40

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him, He will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left.

Then, the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Why We Serve

Board & Staff

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Director Cindy Hood

Cindy is wife to Brad and mom to Anna. She has been a member of Central Baptist Bearden for over 20 years and was on their staff as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator for about 5 years. She has had a life-long interest in world travel, different cultures and Internationals. In 2005, she accepted the leadership role for her Sunday School class as they sponsored a Turkish family through Bridge Refugee Services. At that time God set in motion a ministry calling to Internationals in the Norwood community. Since then, she has been a volunteer with KIN and Bridge, the director of Summer English Camp in Norwood for several years,  a parent volunteer at Norwood Elementary and Northwest Middle School, and an ELL teacher at CBB and Norwood Elementary for Moms and Preschoolers.


The Hoods relocated from West Knoxville to the Norwood community in April 2016 and are very excited about the ministry opportunities that God continues to give them.  In October 2018, Cindy was named Director of Welcome House Knoxville which is an ecumenical ministry of Christian hospitality that was established as a nonprofit in 2019.   It exists to form long-term relationships through short-term housing.

Christina Bouler

Christina Bouler, AIA is a licensed architect and owner of Dovetail Architecture. Her design experience includes residential, restaurant, education, adaptive re-use, and historic redevelopment, including multiple local and state award-winning projects. Her architectural practice focuses on infill housing development, "missing middle" housing, and mixed-use development in walkable urban neighborhoods. Christina sees housing ministry as an opportunity for the ecumenical Church in Knoxville to share the love of Christ by addressing a basic human need, and she is especially passionate about internationals who have been displaced from their native homes and cultures. She and her family attend Legacy Church where they serve together with middle and high school students. In addition to this board, she serves on the Knoxville Utilities Board Community Advisory Panel and the Knoxville Board of Zoning Appeals.


Laurence Eaton

Laurence had early exposure to international ministry at a missions fair in elementary school, fostering a lifelong interest in multicultural engagement. During college, he deepened his connections with international students, which continued into his volunteer work with RUF-I in Knoxville, focusing on graduate students.

Professionally, Laurence is a seasoned real estate agent with extensive experience in residential, multi-family, and commercial markets, and holds a residential contractor's license. His real estate ventures include the redevelopment of about 20 homes. His commitment to refugee support is evident in his desire to enhance housing options for refugees through Welcome House Knoxville, where he aims to leverage his background to strategically increase housing support for refugees.

Michele Neumaier

Michele has a Bachelor’s in Accounting from the University of Arizona and an MBA with a major in Finance from DePaul University. She spent 22 years in the financial services industry and is now retired from “Corporate America.” She currently resides in downtown Knoxville with her husband John and is a member of First Baptist Church of Knoxville where she is actively involved and serves on their Mission Council and Women on Mission group. Her passion is helping those in need. Michele grew up in Wichita, Kansas and was raised Southern Baptist. Her and John have 4 grown children and 1 granddaughter.

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Melinda Jones

Melinda has a notable career in financial and budget management, having served at the University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture where she managed a substantial annual research budget of $50 million and approximately 400 faculty and staff. Her expertise extends to grant and contract management, handling both proposals and post-award activities. 

In the Norwood community, Melinda has been an active participant in various ministries, including Summer English Camps, ELL classes, crafts, and the Norwood Makers Market, through which she has built enduring relationships with many refugee women. She is dedicated to empowering these women by helping them monetize their skills, such as sewing and cooking. Currently, she is involved in establishing a new sewing cooperative with Bridge. Eager to further her impact, Melinda is driven by a vision of Welcome House Knoxville’s growing influence and her desire to contribute her financial acumen to its mission.

Our Partners

Community Partners
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