John and Elsie Benton, lovingly known as Mom and Dad, founded the first Hoving Home in Garrison, New York in 1967. Two years before founding the Home, John and Elsie were asked by David Wilkerson to join his staff at the Teen Challenge in Brooklyn, New York. Agreeing to do so, the couple and their three children moved to Farmingdale, and John began traveling with David as the organization’s Associate Director.
In September 1965, David asked John to take over the Director position at the Women’s Home in New York. During this time, John and Elsie spent many nights walking the streets of New York City in search of young women who were prostituting and in need of help. As Director, John writes a book called Debs, Dolls & Dope and began looking for a place outside the city to build a new facility for their women.
In March 1967, John and Elsie attended a dinner party at the home of Sonya and Paul Dilena. Also in attendance was David and Gwen Wilkerson and Pauline and Walter Hoving. At the party, Mr. Hoving asks John about his plans for the future. In response, John expresses his desire to move the women of his program to a place outside the city. Mr. Hoving is moved by John’s wish to provide a better environment for the women and tells him that he’d like to help by introducing him to someone at the Jones Foundation.
Shortly after, David and John tour a property in Garrison, New York. As they stood on the bank of a small stream running through the property, they both felt that God had meant for the 22-and-a-half-acre estate to be the site of the new Home.
In June 1967, the Benton family buys the land with the help of the Jones Foundation committing to pay $15,000 a year until the property is paid for. The Home ends up costing $175,000 in total. The Bentons move into the Home with their four staff members and the twelve women enrolled in their program. Later that year, John and Elsie rename the facility the Walter Hoving Home to honor Mr. Hoving for helping them attain the property.
Since then, the Home has helped hundreds of women reclaim their lives from drug and alcohol abuse. Under the leadership of the Bentons, the Hoving Home has opened two additional facilities in Pasadena, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Bentons have spent more than half their lives devoted to helping women through their darkest times. From their first venture of reaching out to women on the streets of New York, the Bentons have demonstrated a genuine love and concern for women trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction and low self-worth.
We feel privileged to aid in their work and will do so for many years to come.