Press Release - The Home Stretch Renovation
The Friends Program is thrilled to announce that they have contracted with New England Custom Remodeling to complete The Home Stretch Renovation of its Emergency Housing Family Shelter located in Concord, NH. Thanks to the generous support of SMP Architecture, construction will begin in August, 2023.
The Friends Program has been housing families in Concord since 1988, often sheltering 8 families at once. The only permanent shelter for families in Merrimack County, the program houses 125-150 individuals each year, and provides ongoing formal and informal supports to families who have moved from the shelter to help them maintain stable housing for their families.
As with any building that sees that amount of traffic, major repairs are needed. The Home Stretch campaign is a three-part shelter expansion and renovation that aims to do two things:
• Increase the number of families that can be housed in the emergency shelter each year
• Create trauma-informed spaces that are aimed to ease, comfort, and decrease the emotional stress of transitioning into emergency shelter
• Increase the capacity of the staff to provide individualized care to the families during their stay in shelter and beyond.
“The Friends Emergency Housing family shelter is not a long-term housing solution, but the closer to "home" that a temporary room can feel, the easier it is for families, especially children, to settle in and begin the process of rebuilding their lives.” Friends Executive Director, Nancy McKeon, went on to say “we are excited to resume the renovation after a long hiatus forced by the pandemic. Friends is creating an updated building that reflects the same excellence and care that our staff has provided for over three decades.”
Trauma-informed care involves spaces that emphasize and represent safety, security, accountability, privacy and the opportunity to rebuild control in their lives. Every family is different and the circumstances that brought them to become unhoused are even more varied. In-house case management addresses short-term individual needs including income, education, and employment as well as long-term needs related to trauma history, mental and physical health, and emotional challenges. Our goal is to set each family up with the tools they need to achieve long-term success.
In addition to improving capacity, safety and efficiency, the renovation will include design elements like re-programmable locks, privacy screens, adequate and independent storage, and more opportunities for personalization of rooms-which is especially important for children in the shelter. Office spaces will be re-designed with an appropriate layout that provides sufficient space for family intakes and case management meetings with both parents and children in the room.
These physical changes will reflect the shelter's robust programming, which provides families with strengths-based skill building activities, resolving unmet medical and mental health needs, substance abuse recovery, budgeting, interview and resume skills, removing barriers to future housing, positive parenting classes, nutrition classes, and more.
Families accounted for nearly forty percent of all people experiencing homelessness in New Hampshire in 2022, this is further complicated by a historically low vacancy rate of less than 1% and an average rent of $1600-1800 for a two bedroom apartment. The Friends Program is the only permanent program offering shelter year round to families in the greater Concord area. The construction of a ninth bedroom will connect an additional 15-25 individuals with emergency housing each year. As the financial impacts of post-pandemic inflation weigh on the wallets of already-struggling families, the Friends Emergency Housing Program is preparing to respond to an increased number of families experiencing homelessness.
“To be part of such an amazing agency is a true honor.” stated Glenda León, Director of Emergency Housing, “The renovation of our Emergency Housing Services shelter will allow us to open our doors to more families and provide them with individualized case management in a truly trauma-informed and housing first model. One brick at a time, we will see our vision come to life…to help all families in need.”
In order to complete the renovation, The Friends Program seeks to raise an additional $100,000. Learn more about The Home Stretch and how you can support our most vulnerable families by attending an event, donating or becoming a sponsor: Together we can make a real difference! www.friendsprogram.org
More information? Contact Laura Miller
130 Pembroke Road, Suite 200
Concord, NH 03301