Ward 3 Alder Ron Hurt works to rebuild Deliverance Temple Outreach House
The Refuge sur la Colline is raising funds to restore operations.
Nathaniel Rosenberg, collaborating photographer
On November 5, New Haven organizers led by Ward 3 alder Ron Hurt launched a GoFundMe campaign called âSave Deliverance Outreach Houseâ.
The fundraiser aims to raise $ 10,000 to help renovate the Congress Avenue building, which has fallen into disuse over the past two years. For most of the past decade, the Outreach House has served hundreds of people struggling with homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse, providing social and spiritual services. But the decay has put a hiatus in the Outreach House’s ability to provide essential services.
âThe community needs this,â Hurt said. âThe city of New Haven needs it. We can’t provide a bed for everyone, but some people we can help.
A vital service
Deliverance Temple Outreach House was founded in 2010 as a project undertaken and funded by the Pentacostal Deliverance Temple church next door, where Hurt is an elder. Hurt has run the house almost since its founding, working full time as a volunteer to support the Hill community.
Life at the House of Awareness was structured and was intended to be a religious awakening as well as a source of social support. Often more than 20 people lived in the house, which had single-sex floors and sometimes accommodated families. There, they were guaranteed hot meals and a clean, safe living space for at least 90 days.
Hurt described a laundry list of services provided by the house. They ensured that each resident attended their appointments with social workers and was able to continue any drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs. They also provided job application assistance and served as references for housing and employment even years later.
Bible study was a function three times a day, accompanying meals.
âHere we call it deliverance, being delivered from what had you in bondage, from drugs, from alcohol, whatever,â Hurt said.
At times in his management of the Outreach House, Hurt himself was homeless. Reflecting on the experience, Hurt got emotional. Her voice slowed down and her eyes moistened slightly.
âI was helpless,â he recalls.
Collapse and build
Currently, the front porch of the house is rotting and the building siding is falling off. At the rear, several windows are barricaded and an external staircase is partly dilapidated. According to Hurt, the interior is also damaged, with a ceiling that is perpetually leaking.
While $ 10,000 is not expected to be entirely spent on rebuilding and refurbishing the Awareness House, it will fully repair the exterior. The Church has found a contractor willing to do the repairs at cost, but does not have the funds to begin the process.
The Church turned to the community for help and raised $ 3,482 from 52 donors in the first month of its efforts.
Alex Guzhnay ’24, the elected alderman of district 1, is one of these donors.
Guzhnay met Hurt during this fall campaign season and was impressed with his dedication to providing social services to the Hill community. When he saw the Outreach House fundraiser he was happy to donate and share the fundraiser in his networks.
Guzhnay encouraged Yalies to donate.
âI think that, donating to help, support this local community institution here in New Haven is just one of the many ways that Yale students got involved, and it’s really appreciated,â said Guzhnay at News.
Naomi D’Arbell Bobadilla ’22, an organizer of Students Unite Now, said that upon seeing the fundraiser, she both donated and sent the email to the SUN mailing list, in hope to encourage students who are financially able to contribute.
Bobadilla also urged students to view this fundraiser through the lens of Yale’s impact on New Haven.
“[Deliverance Temple Outreach House] is an institution that directly tries to tackle the injustice, inequity and poverty that Yale has facilitated on the Hill, âBobadilla told The News. “This is kind of the reason why I think there is a very good opportunity not to turn away from our neighbors, but to stand by their side.”
As he stood outside the extension house, running his hand over the railing, Hurt was hopeful, predicting that the house would be able to serve the Hill neighborhood in the future.
âI’m very optimistic,â Hurt said with a smile.
Deliverance Temple Outreach House is located at 574 Congress Ave.