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Jesus House marks 40 years serving Oklahoma City's homeless residents

Jesus House, the Oklahoma City shelter started by Ruth Wynne and Betty Adams in 1973, will mark its 40th anniversary with a dinner fundraiser Feb. 28.
by Carla Hinton Modified: February 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm •  Published: February 9, 2013

Denny, an attorney, left his private practice to serve as Jesus House director in 2011. He said his first priority was to restore donors' confidence in the shelter's ability to efficiently and ethically provide services to the homeless.

This week, Denny and board Chairman Larry Davenport said the general public has been very supportive of the shelter as it tries to help others.

“There were people who stuck with the organization, and now we're seeing new supporters,” Denny said. He said he is particularly pleased that church youth groups and college groups are finding ways to help with Jesus House programs.

Denny said he also has been pleased that corporations such as Oklahoma Gas & Electric are coming to the forefront to aid the shelter. He said one of the first calls he had to make as the shelter's new director was to discuss the shelter's past-due electric bill with the electric company. Denny said company's representatives have been gracious, and OG&E is a corporate sponsor for the Feb. 28 dinner.

Davenport, CEO and president of The MIT Group, said the shelter has overcome “tremendous hurdles” to come from operating “deep in the red to be operating in the black.”

“It's a true celebration for the Jesus House. It's a real blessing,” he said.

Reaching out

Denny said the new era of Jesus House ministry involves reaching out to low-income residents in the community instead of waiting for them to show up at the shelter's doors.

He said the shelter started an Adopt-A-Block program in which Jesus House staff members and volunteers go door-to-door in the neighborhoods near the shelter. Denny said Jesus House representatives pray for individuals and families in those neighborhoods and find out what their needs are so they can be connected to various resources.

He said another program involves taking breakfast to the homeless on Saturday mornings.

Denny said both programs let people in less than ideal circumstances know that people care for them and that God loves them.

“The important thing is we're not waiting on them to come to us. We're going to them to help them take ownership of their future,” Denny said.

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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