Shelter Care Ministries was established in 1984 as an outreach ministry of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in downtown Rockford to respond to the growing population of homeless people in the Rockford area. A Saturday soup kitchen and the Jubilee Center, a drop-in center for adults with mental illness who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, were the first two programs. In 1985, Shelter Care became incorporated as a separate non-profit.

In 1994, Shelter Care began its Emergency and Transitional Housing for families in homelessness; this program has expanded to 20 furnished apartments. These units specifically serve families with minor children, allowing the family to stay together as adults work to stabilize their situation. In 2012, Permanent Supportive Housing for families was added and in 2016, Rapid Rehousing began.