Celebrations mark opening of Declaration House

By on August 28, 2019

“We did it!” announced REAL Life Community Services Executive Director, Rod Redcay, to the enthusiastic audience gathered for a prayer blessing service on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 25, for the newly constructed Declaration House at 240 Main Street, Denver.

Site of the former Denver House, the property was in poor condition. It had several liens against it. A first-floor bar in recent years was known for physical disagreements and behaviors frequently needing police called.

When the Lighthouse Youth Center, built and run by REAL Life Community Services, opened across the street from the Denver House, Redcay shared that one community patriarch said, “Who in their right mind would drop off their kids across the street from the Denver House?”

Redcay said it wasn’t long after that when Pastor Craig Snow asked at a gathering of clergy to pray for transformation for the darkest place in the community. Simultaneously two people suggested “well, that would be the Denver House.”

 

Maggie Leon, one of three residents who moved into Declaration House earlier this month, tells Senator Ryan Aument how this project has transformed her life. Leon said she’s loving the Denver community.

In 2015, a local needs assessment of people and families determined Denver was an area of economic need. Redcay, and others, held a vision in mind which would help meet that need, especially for affordable housing.

As Redcay considered what other names could be given to the property, he thought about other names beginning with a “D.”

When Pastor Gene Weaver prayed to make this house a declaration to the Lord, Redcay held up his phone. On it was displayed the definition of “declaration” — a public statement. Redcay felt a higher power was leading them to the name Declaration House.

 

Congressman Lloyd Smucker gets a tour of Declaration House by REAL Life Community Services Executive Director Rod Redcay. Redcay is in the conference room pointing out some paintings depicting how Denver buildings appeared in the past.

Shortly thereafter, the Denver House came up for sale, and Redcay successfully negotiated the long process to procure donations and a partner in Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) to allow purchase of the property.

Welsh Mountain Health Centers will shortly open medical, dental and counseling services on the first floor of Declaration House. The mission of Welsh Mountain Health Centers is to make health care more accessible and affordable.

When the partnership with Welsh Mountain was announced in 2018, Georgette Dukes McAllister, then the chief executive officer, told Denver Council nearly 300 area residents were traveling to the New Holland site. Frequently transportation was a hardship. The Declaration House health services are available to anyone in the area.

 

The apartments contain contain attractive kitchens with ample counter space for work and eating. This kitchen is one in a two bedroom apartment on the second floor of Declaration House.

Pastor Craig Snow offered a blessing over the vision which made the Declaration House possible on Aug. 25.

Other blessings were offered for the staff, board, REAL Life and Declaration House Ministries and supporters. A walk-through and blessing of the building followed the service.

 

Pictured (left to right) are Pastor Craig Snow, who led the Service of Blessing; Rod Redcay, executive director of REAL Life Community Services; Jackie Concepcion, executive director of Welsh Mountain Health, and James M. Cox, vice-chairman of the Welsh Mountain Board.

On Aug. 27, a ribbon cutting ceremony featured speakers including Congressman Lloyd Smucker; Redcay; Scott Lied, chief financial officer for Ephrata National Bank; Ray D’Agostino, CEO of LHOP; Jackie Concepcion, CEO of Welsh Mountain Health Centers; and other partners in the project. Declaration House residents shared the impact that affordable housing and health services has made in their lives.

 

Declaration House is a product of hard work and the community’s tenacity to support one another.

“I’ve been involved in the project since the beginning,” said Josh Parsons, Lancaster County commissioner, “and it’s amazing what the community has done — all the work that was accomplished and the transformation is special.”

Alice Hummer is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.
Aubree Fahringer contributed to this story.

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *