Nathaniel Rosenberg, Contributing Photographer

On Nov. 5, organizers in New Haven led by Ward 3 Alder Ron Hurt launched a GoFundMe campaign entitled “Save Deliverance Outreach House.”

The fundraiser has the goal of raising $10,000 to help refurbish the Congress Avenue building, which has fallen into disrepair over the last two years. For most of the last decade, the Outreach House has served hundreds of people struggling with homelessness, joblessness and addiction, providing both social and spiritual services. But the disrepair has put a pause on the Outreach House’s ability to provide essential services.

“The community needs this,” Hurt said. “The city of New Haven needs this. We can’t provide a bed for everybody, but some people, we’ll be able to help.”

A vital service

Deliverance Temple Outreach House was founded in 2010 as a project undertaken and funded by the next door Pentacostal Deliverance Temple Church — where Hurt is an Elder. Hurt has run the house almost from its founding, working full time hours on a volunteer basis to provide support to the Hill community.

Life in the Outreach House was structured, and meant to be a religious awakening as much as a source of social support. Oftentimes upwards of 20 people would live in the house, which had single-sex floors and sometimes took in families. There they were guaranteed hot meals and a clean and safe living space for at least 90 days.

Hurt described a laundry list of services that the house provided. They ensured every resident got to their appointments with social workers, and were 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 thrice-daily feature, accompanying meals.

“Here, we call it deliverance, being delivered from what had you in bondage, drugs, alcohol, whatever it was,” Hurt said.

At certain points in his time running the Outreach House, Hurt himself was homeless. While reflecting on the experience, Hurt became emotional. His voice slowed, and his eyes watered slightly. 

“I was destitute,” he remembered.

Crumbling down and building up

Currently, the front stoop of the house is rotting and the siding of the building is falling off. In the rear, several windows are boarded up and an exterior staircase is partially decayed. According to Hurt, the interior is similarly damaged, with a perpetually leaky ceiling. 

While $10,000 is not expected to fully rebuild and refurbish the Outreach House, it will fully repair the exterior. The Church has found a contractor willing to do the repairs at cost, but lacks the funds to begin the process.

The Church has turned to the community for help and has raised $3,482 from 52 donors in the first month of its efforts.

Alex Guzhnay ’24, the alder-elect for Ward 1, is one of those donors. 

Guzhnay met Hurt during this fall’s 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, as well as share the fundraiser in his networks.

Guzhnay encouraged Yalies to donate.

“I think this, donating to help, support this local community institution, here in New Haven is just one of the many ways Yale students have gotten involved, and it’s really appreciated,” Guzhnay told the News.

Naomi D’Arbell Bobadilla ’22, an organizer with Students Unite Now, said when she saw the fundraiser, she both donated and sent the email out to SUN’s email list, hoping to spur students who are financially able to contribute.

Bobadilla also urged students to see this fundraiser through the lens of Yale’s impact on New Haven. 

“[Deliverance Temple Outreach House] is an institution that is directly trying to come up against injustice and inequity and poverty that Yale has facilitated in the Hill,” Bobadilla told the News. “That’s kind of why I think there is a really good opportunity to not turn away from our neighbors, but actually stand with them.” 

As he stood outside the Outreach House, running his hand over the railing, Hurt remained hopeful, predicting that the house would be able to serve the Hill neighborhood well into the future. 

“I am very optimistic,” Hurt reported with a smile.

Deliverance Temple Outreach House is located at 574 Congress Ave.

NATHANIEL ROSENBERG
Nathaniel Rosenberg covers housing and homelessness for the News. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, he is a first year in Morse College.