Support homeless families in southern NH
To the editor:
For the past 16 years, Family Promise of Southern NH has proven that its program for helping homeless families get back on their feet and living independently is an effective way to reduce homelessness in our community.
Family Promise serves 44 communities in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties. We are supported by 24 religious congregations, some of which were instrumental in founding this local chapter of Family Promise, a national organization of over 230 chapters. Since our inception, we have helped over 160 families through a stabilizing program, which provides not only shelter and meals but also classes that teach them how to manage their finances, escape homelessness and live as valuable members of our society.
For the last 16 years, Family Promise has been located at Anne Marie House on the grounds of the Presentation Of Mary Academy in Hudson. Almost from inception, the Sisters graciously offered us the use of their unused novitiate as a home for our program. Many of the Sisters became active volunteers and helped us with our fundraising efforts. They adopted our mission as their own and played an instrumental role in our success.
Unfortunately, times have changed and the Sisters must now reclaim Anne Marie House for their own use. This change did two things: It forced us to find a new home for our program, and it presented us with the opportunity to expand our program at a time when homelessness was on the rise.
Homelessness was a problem for many families even when the economy was strong in 2019.
The pandemic’s effect on the economy has left many family breadwinners unemployed. Many of them will face homelessness as the temporary state and federal restrictions against eviction expire. The need for programs like ours will soon be greater than ever in our history.
Family Promise has taken a very big leap by leasing the former Infant Jesus School on Crown St. in Nashua from St John XXIII Parish. After renovation, the Infant Jesus School will be able to house up to 25 families, which is more than double the capacity of Anne Marie House.
Unfortunately, the renovation is quite expensive. Furthermore, increasing our capacity from 10 families per year to 25 to meet the growing need will increase operating costs substantially.
In April we launched a three-year capital campaign to raise $4.5 million to renovate our new facility. We have applied for scores of grants, and many of our faithful supporters have already stepped up with donations, which will allow us to begin the renovation this summer.
We are asking for the community’s help in this effort. Please donate what you can, so more kids can smile and experience the security that we all enjoy from having a warm and welcoming place to call home.
For more information about the project and ways to donate, go to familypromisesnh.org/building-home.
Dusty Klauber, Trustee
Family Promise of Southern NH