East Side church members escape crime-ridden lives, pull others out of bad situations

'We go right back out on the streets ... so they can see hope,' congregant says

SAN ANTONIO – A group of church members who used to be a part of the violence problem on the East Side say the answer to a better society is to eradicate illegal drugs.

The group's ability to relate to addiction and homelessness helps them guide people out of those situations.

The group recites prayers to reveal the raw truth so healing can begin.

"I got introduced to drugs, crack cocaine. I was on the streets. I was homeless, lived in the shelter, vacant houses," said Kenny Wright, a member of the group.

Wright remembers wanting out but not knowing how to get there.

"When you're out there, you lose your skills, your morals. Nobody carries an ID or driver's license, so you gotta start that over again," he said.

Wright said so many people dealing drugs, taking drugs and living in squalor don't think a better life is possible.

"A lot of them into it for the fast money, and if they get out of it they might not think they can survive without that," he explained.

Wright believed that too until he stumbled into God's House, a church run by Pastor Darrell Clayton, who left prison a changed man.

Clayton has dedicated his life to shining light upon places riddled with violence on the East Side.

"All this was all crack houses right here. Crack addicts everywhere," Clayton said, walking the streets near his East Side church.

The church thrives on acceptance. If you're homeless or high on drugs like Wright was, you're still welcome.

Clayton runs a home where he placed Wright and his girlfriend, who is now his wife, where they could be fed, get sober and find work.

"Got a house, got married, still in the church, going on 13 years," Wright said.

Wright and his wife are able to support more than themselves now.

"On Sunday mornings, we go right back out on the streets where I came from, some of the same places I hung with, I can hand them a sandwich so they can see hope in me. Through the Lord, and maybe one day, they might want to change their life," he said.

He offers understanding and proof that there is a support system on the East Side for those who want it.

"We love you, and ain’t nothing you can do about it. Just come on in and find what you need, because it’s there. Change is here," Wright said.

God’s House members have developed programs for children in unstable homes who need a place to go after school. They also care for the elderly in the area.

The operation is small because the budget is small, so they're asking for help. Anyone who would like to contact a church member for information can call (210) 548-0375 or email godshousesatx@gmail.com.

About the Author

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

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