David Hull on homelessness: ‘I lost everything, and I got it all back’
When David Hull became homeless, Ormond Beach Alliance Church was there to help.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
David Hull was living in the woods. He was homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol. This was after his wife and children left him.
He had Stage 4 colorectal cancer, was cured, and then diagnosed with cancer again.
It was during his first bout with the disease, after he underwent surgery, that Hull met the Rev. Doug Hautz at Ormond Beach Alliance Church. He met what, today, he calls his “church family.”
He had been living in the woods about 18 months before moving into a shed in a friend’s backyard. But after the surgery, he had to leave. It just wasn’t sanitary.
He moved into the church, where Hautz can house up to 25 residents, and lived there about two years, focusing on little else but turning his life around.
After his wife, Gwen, moved into the church, they reunited. They had been separated for three years.
At the church, which Hull calls a homeless ministry, not a shelter, he began to work on the four things Hautz expects from people staying there.
He worked on his spiritual life. He worked on his addiction. He worked on securing financial assistance or income. And then he worked on moving on.
“I couldn’t wake up in the morning without a $20 (crack) rock or a four-pack of beer or a shot of liquor, before I went to work, ” Hull said. “But then I’d come home and start all over and do it all night. (I’d) go back to work and start all over — all night. I was killing myself.”
Now, Hull has moved on. He’s in the process of buying a home in Bunnell. He was able to buy his wife a car. In January, he called his father, who had been raising two of his three children for the previous 10 years.
He wanted them back. He was ready for them. He had a home.
“It’s someplace I can call mine,” Hull said. “It’s my home. (Before I got my other children) my home was not complete, because I did not have all my family. And now that I have all my family … my life is complete.”
“I lost everything, and I got it all back,” Hull added, beginning to fight back tears. “I’ve got everything back that I lost. And I thank God for that.”
He still returns to the church when he can, but now he does so to give back and help. This part isn’t required by Hautz. Hull does it because he can relate to what the residents are going through. He was there not so long ago.
He “gets” the residents at the church, which Hautz and Hull both say is the toughest part of their job. People often see them as bums or hobos, instead people with names, needs and desires.
“Ormond Beach does not really have a big homeless problem,” Hautz said. “Ormond Beach is just not North Street (in Daytona Beach).”
The STAR Family Center, 340 North St. in Daytona Beach, serves more than 1,000 homeless people each month.
“See, you pack too many people down on North Street, they’re going to start wandering up to another woods that’s a little more quiet,” Hautz said. “Everybody really wants a quiet place in the ’burbs.”