BUILDING ON HOPE SELECTS CRISIS CENTER OF CENTRAL NEW HAMPSHIRE FOR COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED RENOVATION PROJECT
Building on Hope, an organization of New Hampshire volunteers who have completed $3.6 million in community-supported, non-profit renovation projects since forming in 2009, has announced the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire (CCCNH) in Concord will receive major renovations to its facility over the course of one week in May of 2018.
CCCNH, a resource and shelter for victims of abuse in Merrimack County, served 897 people, answered 3,034 hotline calls and provided 1,336 bed nights in the emergency shelter in 2016 alone. Upon completion of Building on Hope’s 2018 renovation, CCCNH will double its capacity and enhance emergency shelter capabilities by adding up to 11 more beds, becoming handicap accessible, and working toward accepting pets that are a valued part of a survivors support system.
“Building on Hope is excited to undertake our first project in Concord and continue the impactful work accomplished over the past eight years. With more than 13,700 victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking served in the state of New Hampshire in 2015, the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire has ambitious goals for the future, and this emergency shelter renovation is just the first step in achieving them,” said Building on Hope co-chair Jonathan Halle. “Renovating this facility will be a challenge, and the total expected cost is still being evaluated, but completion of this renovation is achievable with the support and donations of the Concord, and statewide, community.”
Every two years, Building on Hope takes on a new challenge, rallying volunteers, gathering resources and focusing attention on a project selected for its potential to create enduring positive change for the immediate community and the state as a whole.
Originally established in 1978 as The Rape and Domestic Violence Crisis Center, CCCNH opened its Concord emergency shelter in 1985. The organization, which is the only agency exclusively dedicated to working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Merrimack County, provides services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking and child abuse. CCCNH’s mission is to empower individuals to make positive changes in their lives and become independent members of their community through services, including a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, court advocacy, hospital advocacy, forensic interview support, community education, legal referrals and support groups.
In the first three months of 2017, CCCNH served 292 people through any number of its services, and continue to welcome women and their children into the emergency shelter as capacity allows. Once individuals become residents of the emergency shelter, they typically remain for four to six months. During that time, staff assist with all aspects of finding independence, both from the survivor’s abuser, and as a self-supporting member of the community, including housing, financial stability and skills necessary for maintaining independence, as many of CCCNH’s survivors have not been in a situation to make their own decisions and provide for themselves and their children.
Sadly, the demand for shelter is high, and CCCNH was forced to turn away more than 180 women and 159 children in 2016 due to capacity limitations. Already unable to house the maximum number of residents due to administrative offices consuming bed space, the three-story, four-bedroom, 13-bed building has had few improvements since CCCNH purchased it, and is not designed in a way that allows for maximum use of the space. First floor renovations will provide an open-concept area between the kitchen and living room, which will increase eating space for residents, create a food pantry with family storage units and allow mothers to keep an eye on their children while preparing meals in the kitchen. Currently, the common areas are used for survivors to meet with lawyers, police officers, and other services, which means children either attend the meetings or sit alone in their rooms. Part of a second floor renovation will include an area dedicated exclusively for children to play, be creative, and have their own space while mom participates in meetings. One of the largest improvements will be handicap accessibility, with the installation of exterior and interior lifts. Once the renovation is complete, there will be 20-24 beds available, making CCCNH the largest domestic violence shelter in New Hampshire.
“When I first found out we were selected as Building on Hope’s renovation project, it brought tears of joy, because the women we serve deserve this so much more than many of us understand,” said Paula Wall, executive director of CCCNH. “Our clients have been through a tremendous amount of trauma and our shelter is the place where so many of them restart their life. To be able to expand our capabilities and accept more women and their children is the greatest gift on its own, but to have our facility feel more like a home, will make a world of difference.”
Building on Hope and CCCNH are seeking help from the community to complete this project and have set up a GoFundMe page that can be accessed at https://www.gofundme.com/BOH18-CCCNH. Tax-deductible contributions, volunteer commitments or donation of materials are essential to completing this project.
For more information on Building On Hope or to get involved please visit www.buildingonhope.com.