[Hpn] 16 units of housing for homeless women and children in Concord NH

William Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Wed, 9 Apr 2003 09:20:35 -0400


Housing for homeless women planned
Two Bicentennial Square buildings to hold 16 apartments
By MEG HECKMAN
Monitor staff
April 8, 2003
Concord,N.H.
By the beginning of next year, 16 reduced-rent apartments will be available
downtown for homeless women.
A Manchester-based nonprofit called Families in Transition is spending $2.8
million to turn two Bicentennial Square buildings into housing for single
women with and without children. In addition to providing the women with a
place to live, Families in Transition also runs support groups, budget
workshops and other programs to help the women learn the skills they need to
be independent.
"It isn't a quickie solution," said Maureen Beauregard, president of
Families in Transition. "We help people look inside themselves and increase
self-esteem, because esteem is one of the first things to go. We really hope
to provide them with economic and emotional self-sufficiency."
Once a woman is enrolled, she's given a case worker; a starter kit with
things like mattresses, dishes and linens; and a low-cost apartment for up
to two years. While she is living there, social workers and volunteers help
her work through past traumas, learn job skills and save money.
The program also provides literacy and art programs for participants'
children and youth groups for teens. About 90 percent of the women who have
completed the program find permanent housing and stable jobs.
Families in Transition started 12 years ago in Manchester with a small group
of women. Last year 23 single women and 64 moms with 132 kids were enrolled
in the Manchester program. More than half had been victims of domestic
violence, and many used Families in Transition to escape violent
relationships, said Beauregard. Other participants are women who work full
time but still can't afford steep rents, child care and other living
expenses.
Although the Concord program will be much smaller than the one in
Manchester, Beauregard thinks it will serve a need in the community. Many
support services are available in Concord, she said, but there's no
long-term program geared toward women. Last year, Sen. Sylvia Larsen
encouraged Beauregard to expand Families in Transition into Concord.
"Women who are homeless with children are just a double whammy," Larsen
said. "That affects your life from an early age if you don't know where you
live."
Using letters of support from various community members, including Larsen
and Mayor Mike Donovan, Families in Transition scraped together $2.8 million
from state, local and federal sources to purchase and renovate the
buildings, which previously were used by Riverbend. While they are being
overhauled, Beauregard is working to raise the money to pay for the
programs.


(For more information on Families in Transition, call 641-9441 or e-mail
Maureen@FITNH.com. Meg Heckman can be reached at 224-5301, ext. 313, or by
e-mail at mheckman@cmonitor.com.)

 Concord Monitor and New Hampshire Patriot
P.O. Box 1177, Concord NH 03302
603-224-5301