[Hpn] Interfaith group opens day center for homeless

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 1 Nov 2004 10:11:56 -0500


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=20
Interfaith group opens day center for homeless=20


By DEAN SHALHOUP, Telegraph Staff
shalhoupd@telegraph-nh.com=20

Published: Monday, Nov. 1, 2004 ENLARGE PHOTO=20
       Correspondent photo by Jodie Andruskevich=20
      Laurie Skibba, director of the Greater Nashua Interfaith =
Hospitality Network, talks about an area of the network's new homeless =
shelter that will be used as an office area so clients will be able to =
use computers to search for jobs online. The new shelter is at 93 Daniel =
Webster Highway in Nashua. =20
NASHUA - A warm breeze pushed the temperature close to 70 on Sunday =
afternoon as officials of the Greater Nashua Interfaith Hospitality =
Network and dozens of visitors cut a ribbon and broke bread to =
officially open a new day center for the area's homeless in the South =
End.

With November just hours away, everyone knew it wouldn't be long before =
chilled, down-on-their-luck families without a home of their own would =
be trudging to the two-story, raised-ranch-style house seeking shelter =
from the cold as well as from the storm they call daily life.

The center, at 93 Daniel Webster Highway, just south of West Glenwood =
Street, is the culmination of three years of effort that began when the =
network received its nonprofit status, said director Laurie Skibba.

"Opening a day center became our goal, and today we celebrate," she =
said.

The network, made up of eight "host locations" that shelter and feed the =
homeless at various houses of worship in the area, sought to transform =
the former Novitiate building on the Presentation of Mary Academy =
property in Hudson into their day center earlier this year, but =
opposition from parents worried that clients would pose a danger to =
their children who attend school there put that plan on hold.

But, Skibba said, the organization's hopes to eventually move into the =
PMA building are alive and well.

"This location is our temporary model . . . if things go well for us, =
we're hoping (the former Novitiate building) will be our fixed location =
by next summer," she said.

In the meantime, the Daniel Webster Highway center will provide =
financially struggling homeless families with temporary shelter, food, =
and resources to help them get back on their feet again, Skibba said. =
Clients who are referred there will face a stringent intake process, =
including random drug and alcohol testing and criminal checks.

"It's for the safety of our guests as well as the staff," she said. "We =
must be able to guaranteesafety for everyone."

The center can accommodate up to 14 people at a time. Clients must be a =
family, including those headed by a single parent. All children must be =
younger than 18.

The upper level houses a kitchen, community living room and client =
rooms, while offices and ample counter space for clients to use phones =
and research jobs or apartments are downstairs.

Network Vice President Bob Sparks served as a tour guide for the =
afternoon open house, which was sandwiched around a brief speaking =
program, during which President Helen Gutekunst and United Way of =
Greater Nashua representative Heather Hemdal shared ribbon-cutting =
honors.

"Our clients will be referred here from our host sites as well as other =
social-service agencies in the area," he said. "It will be a place where =
they can have an address, a phone number, and get mail and calls."

For Linda Jeynes, the network's public relations head, faith was the =
keyword of the day.

"We're taking a big leap of faith today, but I've seen and I know the =
people who will be working with us on this project so I know we can do =
it," she said.

Surely, the mere utterance of the word "faith" these days is license for =
a Boston Red Sox reference, and mayoral aide Mark Sousa, representing =
Mayor Bernie Streeter, seized the opportunity.

"There are two words that come to mind when I look back at what the Red =
Sox have done: 'We believe.' And as I speak to you today on behalf of =
Mayor Streeter, I know those same words certainly apply to what you've =
succeeded in doing here," Sousa said.

The Rev. Jeff Evans of Nashua's First Church, an Interfaith Network =
member, presented a $25,000 check to Skibba, a gift, he said, to the =
network from what money the church raised as part of its capital fund =
drive.

"We hope this helps to eventually end homelessness in the greater Nashua =
community," Evans said.

Bringing the community together in God's name was the message brought by =
the Rev. Mark Jackson of network member First Baptist Church.

"One of the things with which we, as God's people, are charged is to act =
as God's people not only in our houses of worship but out in the world, =
too," Jackson said.

"Most of us go home to a warm place and plenty of food, but as we know, =
there are people in our communities who go home to a car or to a =
relative's house and sleep in the garage, maybe having their children =
farmed out to stay the night someplace else.

"I believe we can make a difference, help families stay together and =
give them a chance," Jackson said.

"God blesses us because we do the right things for the right reasons."

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6523 or at =
shalhoupd@telegraph-nh.com .

 
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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT><BR><BR>&nbsp;</DIV><FONT=20
face=3D"Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif" size=3D5>Interfaith =
group opens day=20
center for homeless </FONT><BR><BR>
<P><B>By DEAN SHALHOUP, Telegraph Staff</B><BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:shalhoupd@telegraph-nh.com">shalhoupd@telegraph-nh.com</A>=
=20
</P><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" =
size=3D1>Published: Monday,=20
Nov. 1, 2004</FONT>=20
<TABLE cellSpacing=3D0 cellPadding=3D2 width=3D200 align=3Dleft =
bgColor=3D#ffffff=20
border=3D0>
  <TBODY>
  <TR>
    <TD>
      <DIV class=3Denlarge><A=20
      =
href=3D"javascript:NewWindow(620,620,'/apps/pbcs.dll/misc?url=3D/misc/zoo=
m1.pbs&amp;Site=3DNS&amp;Date=3D20041101&amp;Category=3DNEWS01&amp;ArtNo=3D=
111010038&amp;Ref=3DAR');">ENLARGE=20
      PHOTO</A> </DIV><IMG=20
      alt=3D"Laurie Skibba, director of the Greater Nashua Interfaith =
Hospitality Network, talks about an area of the network=92s new homeless =
shelter that will be used as an office area so clients will be able to =
use computers to search for jobs online. The new shelter is at 93 Daniel =
Webster Highway in Nashua."=20
      =
src=3D"http://nsimg.us.publicus.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=3DNS&amp;Da=
te=3D20041101&amp;Category=3DNEWS01&amp;ArtNo=3D111010038&amp;Ref=3DAR&am=
p;border=3D0&amp;MaxW=3D200"=20
      border=3D1> <B><FONT face=3DVerdana size=3D1>Correspondent photo =
by Jodie=20
      Andruskevich </FONT><BR></B><FONT face=3Dverdana size=3D1>Laurie =
Skibba,=20
      director of the Greater Nashua Interfaith Hospitality Network, =
talks about=20
      an area of the network=92s new homeless shelter that will be used =
as an=20
      office area so clients will be able to use computers to search for =
jobs=20
      online. The new shelter is at 93 Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua. =

    </FONT></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
<P><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size=3D2>NASHUA =
- A warm=20
breeze pushed the temperature close to 70 on Sunday afternoon as =
officials of=20
the Greater Nashua Interfaith Hospitality Network and dozens of visitors =
cut a=20
ribbon and broke bread to officially open a new day center for the =
area=92s=20
homeless in the South End.<BR><BR>With November just hours away, =
everyone knew=20
it wouldn=92t be long before chilled, down-on-their-luck families =
without a home=20
of their own would be trudging to the two-story, raised-ranch-style =
house=20
seeking shelter from the cold as well as from the storm they call daily=20
life.<BR><BR>The center, at 93 Daniel Webster Highway, just south of =
West=20
Glenwood Street, is the culmination of three years of effort that began =
when the=20
network received its nonprofit status, said director Laurie=20
Skibba.<BR><BR>=93Opening a day center became our goal, and today we =
celebrate,=94=20
she said.<BR><BR>The network, made up of eight =93host locations=94 that =
shelter and=20
feed the homeless at various houses of worship in the area, sought to =
transform=20
the former Novitiate building on the Presentation of Mary Academy =
property in=20
Hudson into their day center earlier this year, but opposition from =
parents=20
worried that clients would pose a danger to their children who attend =
school=20
there put that plan on hold.<BR><BR>But, Skibba said, the =
organization=92s hopes=20
to eventually move into the PMA building are alive and =
well.<BR><BR>=93This=20
location is our temporary model . . . if things go well for us, we=92re =
hoping=20
(the former Novitiate building) will be our fixed location by next =
summer,=94 she=20
said.<BR><BR>In the meantime, the Daniel Webster Highway center will =
provide=20
financially struggling homeless families with temporary shelter, food, =
and=20
resources to help them get back on their feet again, Skibba said. =
Clients who=20
are referred there will face a stringent intake process, including =
random drug=20
and alcohol testing and criminal checks.<BR><BR>=93It=92s for the safety =
of our=20
guests as well as the staff,=94 she said. =93We must be able to =
guaranteesafety for=20
everyone.=94<BR><BR>The center can accommodate up to 14 people at a =
time. Clients=20
must be a family, including those headed by a single parent. All =
children must=20
be younger than 18.<BR><BR>The upper level houses a kitchen, community =
living=20
room and client rooms, while offices and ample counter space for clients =
to use=20
phones and research jobs or apartments are downstairs.<BR><BR>Network =
Vice=20
President Bob Sparks served as a tour guide for the afternoon open =
house, which=20
was sandwiched around a brief speaking program, during which President =
Helen=20
Gutekunst and United Way of Greater Nashua representative Heather Hemdal =
shared=20
ribbon-cutting honors.<BR><BR>=93Our clients will be referred here from =
our host=20
sites as well as other social-service agencies in the area,=94 he said. =
=93It will=20
be a place where they can have an address, a phone number, and get mail =
and=20
calls.=94<BR><BR>For Linda Jeynes, the network=92s public relations =
head, faith was=20
the keyword of the day.<BR><BR>=93We=92re taking a big leap of faith =
today, but I=92ve=20
seen and I know the people who will be working with us on this project =
so I know=20
we can do it,=94 she said.<BR><BR>Surely, the mere utterance of the word =
=93faith=94=20
these days is license for a Boston Red Sox reference, and mayoral aide =
Mark=20
Sousa, representing Mayor Bernie Streeter, seized the =
opportunity.<BR><BR>=93There=20
are two words that come to mind when I look back at what the Red Sox =
have done:=20
=91We believe.=92 And as I speak to you today on behalf of Mayor =
Streeter, I know=20
those same words certainly apply to what you=92ve succeeded in doing =
here,=94 Sousa=20
said.<BR><BR>The Rev. Jeff Evans of Nashua=92s First Church, an =
Interfaith Network=20
member, presented a $25,000 check to Skibba, a gift, he said, to the =
network=20
from what money the church raised as part of its capital fund =
drive.<BR><BR>=93We=20
hope this helps to eventually end homelessness in the greater Nashua =
community,=94=20
Evans said.<BR><BR>Bringing the community together in God=92s name was =
the message=20
brought by the Rev. Mark Jackson of network member First Baptist=20
Church.<BR><BR>=93One of the things with which we, as God=92s people, =
are charged is=20
to act as God=92s people not only in our houses of worship but out in =
the world,=20
too,=94 Jackson said.<BR><BR>=93Most of us go home to a warm place and =
plenty of=20
food, but as we know, there are people in our communities who go home to =
a car=20
or to a relative=92s house and sleep in the garage, maybe having their =
children=20
farmed out to stay the night someplace else.<BR><BR>=93I believe we can =
make a=20
difference, help families stay together and give them a chance,=94 =
Jackson=20
said.<BR><BR>=93God blesses us because we do the right things for the =
right=20
reasons.=94</FONT></P><FONT face=3Dverdana,sans-serif size=3D2><I>Dean =
Shalhoup can be=20
reached at 594-6523 or at <A=20
href=3D"mailto:shalhoupd@telegraph-nh.com">shalhoupd@telegraph-nh.com</A>=
=20
.</I></FONT><BR><PRE>&nbsp;</PRE></BODY></HTML>

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