Spring Forward

Spring Forward

The Way Home launches campaign to build success in rental housing

In 1988, gas was less than a dollar a gallon, the movies Die Hard and Rain Man ruled the box office, Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics and the book “A Brief History of Time” by the late Stephen Hawking was on the best-seller list.

Closer to home, George HW Bush and Michael Dukakis were victorious in NH’s first-in-the-nation primary with Bush winning in a romp during the general election, John H. Sununu was NH’s Governor and the rock group Poison played a sold-out show at Manchester’s Riverfront Park.

And in the heart of Manchester, a new non-profit known as The Way Home first opened its doors to welcome lower income families being shut-out by a very competitive housing market.   Our first service, no-interest rental security deposit loans, was created by a network of community leaders in response to the Greater Manchester United Way Community Needs Study. “As soon as we opened,” recalled Mary Sliney, Executive Director and founder of The Way Home. “We knew that the security deposit was ‘only the key to open the door.’  We quickly designed housing services to prevent the loss of housing once secured.”

Ms. Sliney noted that while much has changed over the past three decades, affordable housing remains an issue in the Granite State and in 2018 another housing crisis is pushing more families into homelessness.  “The need for our services is greater than ever before,” she said.

According to Rick Blais, Board Chair for The Way Home, the agency has also experienced an uptick in people needing renter housing counseling, classes on budgeting and credit management.  “These tools and others are among the many services we provide for our clients,” he said.  “We also work to build strong relationships with landlords across the city who house our clients.”

In recognition of its 30th year, the agency is launching “The Way Home’s Spring Forward” fund-raising campaign.  The effort will support renovations and upgrades to its housing units across the city, enabling the agency to serve additional clients and individuals with special needs.

In announcing the kick-off of the campaign, Ms. Sliney and Mr. Blais spoke of the legacy of The Way Home and its mission.  “Not only does the agency provide direct services to those in the midst of a crisis and on the brink of potential homelessness, they also provide their clients with the tools and education to help get them back on their feet,” said Mr. Blais.  “As a volunteer, I’ve been able to see first-hand the impact the agency has.  Their work is truly transformative.”

Ms. Sliney added that throughout 2018, The Way Home will be holding events to commemorate its 30th year of service.

Over the past 30 years, The Way Home has assisted, often behind the scenes, more than 21,000 lower income families and individuals and veterans with housing affordability plans helping them take steps to secure and succeed in decent rental housing.   Their neighborhood-based Housing Resource Center welcomes anyone in need of help to stabilize their family in rental housing.

As is the case with other agencies, there is often a waiting list for services, but the agency remains undeterred.  “It can be overwhelming at times, but we remain strongly committed to reaching those most in-need.”  said Ms. Sliney, “In 1988 we opened our doors with the help of a concerned community.   Through this fund drive, we are seeking support to open new doors in 2018.”

Bianka@thewayhomenh.org

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