• The Friends Program

    Building Relationships…Restoring Hope

    The Friends Program is a non-profit agency that recruits, trains and manages volunteers to meet community needs.

    Our mission is to strengthen communities by building relationships that empower people, encourage community service and restore faith in the human spirit.

    We accomplish this by providing youth mentoring, emergency housing and fulfilling the need of seniors and retired people to actively contribute to the community.

    Get more info
  • Emergency Housing Program

  • Foster Grandparent Program

  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program

  • Youth Mentoring Program

  • Donate

    Friends Program volunteers mentor local boys and girls, drive homebound seniors to medical appointments, and help shelter homeless families. We're able to recruit and support these community champions because of your financial support. Your donation today will help us build relationships that empower people, encourage community service, and restore faith in the human spirit.

Emergency Housing Resource Links

Links to other resources

Stories

Stories about the impact of the Emergency Housing Program

  • I’m writing to thank you so much for all of your help and support during one of the hardest times in our lives... (full story)
  • It seems my life really started on June 7th, the day my son was born. That day was the best and worst day of my life... (full story)
  • I came to the Friends Emergency Housing Program in May of 2007. Some months earlier I had been in an abusive relationship... (full story)

Testimonials from clients

"Friends Emergency Housing turns your nightmares into dreams." - Marta, age 15

"When my train came to a complete halt, Friends Emergency Housing helped me back onto the tracks!" - Abbie, age 39

"My world came crashing down around me with no where to turn, Friends Emergency Housing Program helped me rebuild a bigger and stronger new world for my family.!" - Karen, age 28

"Friends Emergency Housing is the light at the end of the tunnel; the hand that brushes you off and puts you back on your feet. Now I’m ready to re-enter the world!" - Jeremy, age 35

"Wow, did I learn a lot! I learned how to budget my money, how to be a great future renter, how to get along with different people, and all of the resources in my community. Now I work full-time at a job I love and volunteer with two different agencies. It’s my small way of saying “thank-you”. " - Jamikea, age 37

"Life turned around for me the day a staff member said “Homeless is a situation you are in, it is NOT who you are." That was two years ago and I’m so grateful the program was there for me and my kids. Even, now that we’re in our own home and I’m working as a full-time medical assistant I still call FEH when I need advice!" - Ashleigh, age 24

The Need

The Need

The need for shelter for homeless families is greater than ever and the Friends Emergency Housing Program is the only family shelter in Merrimack County. Did you know that the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old and more than 50% of those that are homeless are families with children? Finding affordable housing for the low-income families we serve is extremely difficult. In fact, not only is the affordable housing shortage impacting low-income single-parent families, but all families in the New Hampshire workforce. With the New Hampshire unemployment rate at 3%, 9% of New Hampshire households live at or below the poverty line.

The cost of rental housing in our community remains alarmingly high. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Merrimack County is $1,176 per month with a vacancy rate of 1.1% according to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.  This is a 12.5% increase in the past 5 years and these cost increases are being felt across all housing types.

As the only family shelter in Merrimack County, we are especially aware of the growing number of homeless children. The majority of our shelter residents are homeless children. Across the state, the number of homeless children continues to rise. In 2016 (state of NH fiscal year), nearly half the persons experiencing homelessness in New Hampshire were families with children with 566 adults and 787 children in 497 families.  In our last fiscal year, the Friends Emergency Housing program served 34 families: 95 people (55 children and 40 adults).

The importance of stable housing and economic security in a child’s life cannot be overstated. Homelessness influences every facet of a child’s life and its effects can be swift, severe and critical should interventions not occur. The trauma of homelessness can break families apart. Equally important, homeless adults need to be supported in their role as parents while making long-lasting positive strides to enhance family stability. The goal of our shelter program is to assist in expediting the family’s move into permanent housing, but also understand the responsibility of tending to family functioning.

If you would like to volunteer with our program, please call 603-228-1462 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.us and we would be happy to speak with you.