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History Of Our Veterans Program
In 2004, the body of a homeless veteran was found along the banks of the Nashua River in New Hampshire. Staff from Harbor Homes was outraged and began researching ways to provide veteran-specific housing and supportive services to local servicemen and women in NH. The end result is known as “Veterans FIRST”. Read more to learn about the needs of homeless veterans, and how – with your help – Harbor Homes is working hard to end veteran homelessness in NH.
Harbor Homes believes in the “housing first” model as being the most effective way to eliminate homelessness among all of our vulnerable citizens, including our Veterans. Without a safe and secure place to call home, the complex reasons for the spiral into homelessness cannot be addressed and remedied. Harbor Homes designs many of its housing, programs, and services to meet the needs of homeless and low-income veteran households. Known collectively as “Veterans FIRST”, this unique mix of affordable housing, employment, and supportive services are evidence-based and nationally recognized best practices designed to end or prevent homelessness among veterans and their families who live in New Hampshire. Below is a brief overview of the program’s components.
Veterans FIRST Transitional Housing
Harbor Homes’ Veterans FIRST Transitional Housing program provides veterans and their families with up to two years to address the causes of their homelessness while living in a safe, supportive environment. While residing in the transitional housing, veterans must remain sober, and pursue employment, further their education, or volunteer within the community. They work with a case manager, employment specialist, and the VA Medical Center to address the issues that led to their homelessness and secure permanent housing, health care, transportation, and meaningful income so that they can live independently when exiting the program.
Harbor Homes currently operates three Veterans FIRST Transitional Housing facilities throughout NH:
Harbor Homes raised over $3.5 million to build a 20-unit transitional housing apartment complex at 46 Spring Street in Nashua for homeless veterans and their families. The facility provided handicapped accessible one and two bedroom apartments, as well as common areas and a large community room. Named “Buckingham Place” after Byron Buckingham, a local veteran advocate, the facility was the first of its kind in the nation to house male and female veterans, and their family members, under one roof.
In 2010, Dalianis House opened. Located at 59 Factory Street in Nashua, the facility was the former home of Avery Furniture. The building underwent a massive renovation, and now provides transitional housing for 40 homeless veterans.
BAE Systems Independence Hall
In June 2013, Harbor Homes opened its fourth Veterans FIRST Transitional Housing facility at 335 Somerville Street in Manchester, NH. Six units of permanent supportive housing are also included in the design. The site previously contained a dilapidated, vacant warehouse in jeopardy of foreclosure. Harbor Homes purchased and demolished the building in 2012, and then completed the $5.2 million project. The facility provides 26 one and two bedroom apartments for male and female homeless veterans and their family members. Funders include the US Department of Veteran Affairs, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Merrimack County Savings Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, City of Manchester (Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding), and Citizens Bank.
Veterans FIRST Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program
Funded through a Department of Labor grant, Harbor Homes provides homeless veterans throughout Hillsborough County the opportunity to participate in a unique employment and workforce development program. Veterans work one-on-one with employment specialists to receive advanced job training, obtain employment, and retain that employment. Local companies interested in hiring veterans and homeless veterans looking for employment can Contact Us for more information.
Veterans FIRST Permanent Supportive and Affordable Housing Programs
Different from our Veterans FIRST Transitional Housing programs, this kind of housing is permanent and is open to not only homeless veterans, but also low-income disabled and elderly veterans. We currently offer shared housing and one to three bedroom apartments in Nashua and Claremont, NH. Veteran households pay no more than 30% of their income on rent, and have access to some supportive services. Contact Us for more information.
NEW! Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program
Funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, this statewide initiative will provide 300 low-income veteran households throughout NH with access to the resources necessary to end or prevent homelessness through case management and subsidies that enable the veteran household to gain or maintain their housing. Contact Us for more information.
Thanks to the Veterans FIRST program and the generosity of the entire community, Harbor Homes has made significant impacts on behalf of homeless veterans throughout NH.
- More than 1,006 veteran households moved from homelessness to independence since 2000
- More than 635 homeless veterans obtained employment since 2008