We help families find hope and make a fresh start.
Last year, with your support:
Derek is a local chef and the sole provider for his wife and their 13-year-old-daughter. Last year, his job was furloughed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He received unemployment, but it was nowhere close to his salary and soon, he fell behind on rent.
“I found myself without my job and in real need, shaking the stability of our family in ways I could have not predicted,” Derek said. “We have never asked for assistance before and I was not even sure how to go about doing such.”
Derek came to the Front Door Agency and worked with our Housing Stability Program Manager, Doug Howard, to get the assistance he needed to prevent his eviction. “The whole situation was very embarrassing for me,” said Derek. “And Doug did everything to not make me feel embarrassed… I would like to thank everyone at The Front Door Agency (especially Doug) for not just the assistance that you provided, but rather the way in which you provided it.”
Today, Derek is self-sufficient again. “You saved us from a terrible situation that could have included homelessness,” he said. “And you did so in the most effective and empowering way.”
Your support of the Front Door Agency helped Mary turn her life around. Today, she is an addiction recovery coach helping others with stories similar to her own.
Mary hit rock bottom. She suffered from a substance misuse disorder complicated by extensive medical issues and was sleeping at a local shelter. That’s where she heard about the Front Door Agency. Together, Mary and one of our Housing Stability case managers developed a plan to help her gradually work toward self-sufficiency.
Through our Rapid Re-Housing Program, Mary secured permanent housing at a home for women that was conducive to her new, sober lifestyle. Her case manager helped her put additional supports in place to stabilize her life and begin building a better future for herself.
Mary’s experience with the Front Door Agency inspired her to earn her addiction recovery coaching certification. Today, she is employed at a local agency where she works with individuals facing challenges similar to her own. She has maintained her sobriety and is proud to serve the community that helped her when she needed it most.
Bozz the Dog
Recently, we helped Bozz and his human, Tim, get back on their feet.
Here’s a note that Tim left for our Housing Advocate, Julie:
“You and your organization’s help has been pivotal in my recovery from my life’s challenges. Where I once had very little (OK, nothing- I was living in a Motel 6 and on the verge of homelessness) I now have an apartment, health and dental insurance, and my car is running again. Your just-in-time service has meant the world to me and Bozz my dog.”
“The situations that myself and other moms in the program are in when they come to the Front Door Agency do not reflect who we are as people. We all want good lives for ourselves and our children and this program gives us the opportunity to create that.”
Although it’s hard to tell from her beautiful smile and positive attitude, Christina’s life was never easy. She lost her mother at a young age and her family was all too familiar with the struggles that addiction brings. But at the age of 20, she thought she was taking the right steps to break the cycle. She worked full time, enrolled in school to become an EMT and, even though it wasn’t ideal, was living with her father and brother to save money.
When Christina got pregnant, everything changed. She was rejected from the EMT program because of previous student debt. Her son was born prematurely shortly before her 21st birthday and, only weeks after his birth, his father decided he did not want to be involved in his life. And her living situation, which was cramped and unsupportive to begin with, became unbearable. Despite working full time until she gave birth, she could not afford an apartment of her own.
She moved into a friend’s spare bedroom temporarily with her 6-week-old son. “It was really stressful,” says Christina. “He was a brand new baby and I was a brand new mom.” The reality of her situation began to sink in: she was on her own.
Christina was motivated to go to school, work full time and support herself. She just didn’t have the support or resources to make it happen on her own. So she started looking for a safe place for her and her son to live while she got her feet under her. She knew that a shelter wouldn’t be the safest place for a newborn and started searching for a program that offered more than just a place to call home.
That’s when she found the Front Door Agency’s Transformational Housing program.
“I entered Phase I of the program with nothing- no job, no money, nowhere to live. My case managers were incredibly kind and helped me set goals and put supports in place from day one,” says Christina. “Living with other moms in the Norwell Home was so helpful. I didn’t grow up with a mother and learned so much from them, even little things like how to clean my own shower! A lot of the women I met are coming out of traumatic situations and are extremely vulnerable, and the Norwell was a very safe, comfortable space for healing.”
Women in the Transformational Housing program are required to enroll in an educational or job training program, and Christina was thrilled to have the opportunity to explore a new career track. She enrolled in the Microelectronics Boot Camp at Nashua Community College. Without a car, Christina walked from the Norwell Home to her son’s daycare before catching the bus to school every day. “I remember one day in March when I was running late and had to run through the snow in business attire to flag down the bus,” she says. “But it was worth it. For the first time, I was making things happen for myself.”
Christina’s dedication paid off. She quickly moved to Phase II of the program and into one of the Front Door Agency’s affordable apartments in Nashua. Learning how to live independently and becoming responsible for her own space was a challenge, but Christina still has support from her case manager. She especially appreciates the financial literacy courses the program offers, which is not something she would have participated in on her own.
Today, Christina is preparing to graduate from the Microelectronics Boot Camp and already accepted an offer for full-time employment where, for the first time, she will receive a salary, benefits and have a lot of room for growth.
“I’ve never finished anything in my life, but that’s about to change,” says Christina. “The support I received in the Transformational Housing program changed my life. I was held accountable, but able to work at my own pace toward independence. I truly feel like the program works for you if you work for it. The situations that myself and other moms in the program are in when they come to the Front Door Agency do not reflect who we are as people. We all want good lives for ourselves and our children and this program gives us the opportunity to create that. Someday, I hope to give back to the program that has given me so much and I hope my story can inspire someone else to change their life for the better.”
Beverly: In Her Own Words
“April 13, 2017, that is a day I will never forget, besides it being my birthday, but on my birthday that year as a scared as I was I made the choice to get control of my life and move forward and told my ex that I was moving out with the kids.”
April 22nd was exactly 3 years since I spent my first night in the Front Door Agency’s transitional housing program after realizing I was in a very unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship and I had nowhere else to go. I wanted more for myself and for my children. My daughter Jocelyn was 9 at the time and my son Tiergan was 6.
See, I had been in a 15-year marriage and the thought of leaving was very scary… It was all I had known and in fact I had never lived alone let alone with two kids to care for. But I knew it was time for change. For 15-years I didn’t have control of my life. All the decisions were made by him and it got to the point where it was just easier to agree with everything to avoid the fighting, the rage and the anger. I wasn’t able to stick up for myself, my children or make my own choices without fear that I would upset him. Looking back now, there are many things I regret doing and there are many things I regret not doing, such as not trying to pursue any career wanted to. I had turned to secretly drinking to cope and was constantly filled with negative thoughts. I didn’t want my kids to continue to grow up in that environment. I know most people might think, why didn’t you just leave? but it’s a lot easier said than done. After realizing there was no way I could afford a place of my own on my bus driver income and feeling like I was stuck I am so glad I was referred to the Front Door Agency’s Transformational Housing Program through Bridges.
I met with one of the case managers and quickly did what I needed to do so that we could move into the Norwell Home immediately. I was extremely emotional and scared, entering this program was a turning point for my children and I. Phase 1 of the program wasn’t easy as we adjusted to living with other families and following rules, but it was worth it. I fulfilled all the requirements, enrolled in classes and even built the confidence to take the Certified Medical Assistant exam and passed it on my first try. The staff and families at the Norwell Home made us feel welcome, even leaving Easter baskets on my children’s beds to make them feel at home. I quickly moved to Phase 2 of the program which provided us with a three-bedroom apartment, a yard and even a swing set for my kids to play on. It was a place for us to call home!
I have gotten so much more than just a place to live out of this program. I have gained confidence and skills that I didn’t have before. I participated in a Budget Buddies class to learn more about budgeting and savings, a Healthy Relationships class and even a nutrition class. My children have received toys, clothes and gifts from the Holiday Program making Christmas and the holidays much easier and enjoyable for all of us. I continue to meet with my case manager weekly and the kids and I are all in counseling. We all continue to grow each and every day.
I am proud to say that I recently moved into Phase 3 of the program. I am pleased to say that I have a great and rewarding job that I absolutely love as a Certified Medical Assistant with Dartmouth-Hitchcock and on April 22 I celebrated my 1-year anniversary with this amazing organization. My goal for the future is to continue classes and become a Surgical Technician. I am learning to deal with things in healthy ways, I haven’t even had a sip of alcohol in over 2 years and 6 months, and I am proud of myself for that. I feel as though not only am a single mom, but now I’m a fighter and a stronger woman. Each day I am gaining confidence and I am learning skills necessary to develop relationships that no longer hurt me.
Only for the past 3 years have I felt as though I have the ability to make the choices I need to make for my children and myself. I have my own friends to talk to and have been able to move forward in a career that I love. When it comes to my children, I am proud to say that I have been able to stand up and advocate for them and work closely with their therapist to help them grow. I feel as though I myself have also with the help of a great therapist and the encouragement and support from the FDA I am more positive and grow more than ever. Thanks to all the support and assistance I have received from the Front Door Agency and their amazing staff, I now have the courage to push forward and the hope and independence to have a great future for my children and myself. I would truly like to thank the Front Door Agency for all they have done for my children and myself. I hate to think of where we would be if I had never found this amazing program! Unfortunately, due to the unexpected circumstances I am unable to introduce myself to all of you and meet all the wonderful supporters who have been able to make everything possible. So, with that said, I would like to say thank you to everyone for taking part in this amazing event and for supporting the Front Door Agency’s programs. Your contributions tonight and throughout the year give hope and support to many families just like mine.
Caitlyn: In Her Own Words
“When I first came to the Front Door’s Transformational Housing Program, I was in a really rough spot.”
I’d been forced to leave my home and I had no family or friends to turn to. At 19 years old, I was “couch surfing” and staying at Motel 6 with my daughter in a Pack ‘n Play. I knew something had to change, but didn’t know where to turn.
Through an online search, I found the Front Door Agency. Words cannot describe what this program has done for me and many other women. The program gave me hope when I thought I had lost all I had. It gave me the stability I needed to straighten out my life. At the Front Door, I was able to set goals, choose a career and go to college for something I loved.
Over these past few years, I’ve gone from being a struggling waitress and homeless teenage Mom to now having my own apartment and a career as an oral surgery assistant. This program allowed me to become the person and mother I wanted and needed to be. Thank you for giving me hope and a life I hardly imagined was possible!
Growing Family Avoids Eviction
“If it wasn’t for the Front Door, my family would have ended up homeless.”
Marta and Tom were facing eviction from their apartment after their family of three unexpectedly grew to a family of six in one year. They had gained custody of a niece and nephew whose mother had passed away and in the same time period, Marta gave birth to their second child. As a result, the family fell behind on their rent and expenses.
The Front Door Agency was able to provide rental assistance and stop the family from being evicted. “I can’t thank you enough for giving us a chance to get back on our feet,” says Marta.
Jessica’s Story: In Her Own Words
“The Front Door has positively touched my life and I am forever grateful for the positive impact the program has had in my life.”
I was born in the United States, but at a very early age I moved back to my parents’ homeland of Honduras to be raised by my grandparents because I lost the two most important people in my life here in America. I later made the difficult decision to move back to the United States. I found myself in an abusive relationship with my daughter Danielle’s father. I felt overwhelmed and backed into a corner.
I remember thinking there was no way out of my current situation. I didn’t speak English well; I didn’t have a driver’s license; I was unemployed and most importantly, I was alone in a new country. I knew something had to change for the sake of my daughter, so I found the strength to seek the help of a Domestic Violence shelter. I entered the shelter with my only worldly possessions: a few clothes and pictures from my past. What I needed was a positive path to the future.
The people at the shelter told me about The Front Door Agency. They said it was a safe place for my daughter and myself that would enable me to attend college and earn my secondary education. This felt like an otherwise impossible blessing.
My Life Today
While in the Transformational Housing Program, I took advantage of all the support and services I needed. I graduated with an associate’s degree in marketing from Nashua Community College. While I was in college, I earned placement on the President’s List and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I obtained my driver’s license and now own a car.
I remember when I first moved into the Front Door, I thought I shouldn’t be accepting all this help, that I should find a way to do it on my own. I now fully realize there was no way I could have achieved such progress on my own. I needed the support of the Agency so I could overcome my insecurities and become a self-sufficient member of this community. Today I am a strong woman and mother. I would just like to say thank you to all of you who became “my family” when I needed you the most.
Shannon’s Story: In her Own Words
““I woke up this morning, put on my scrubs to get ready to go to work at Dartmouth Hitchcock, got my daughter ready for daycare, and left my own apartment looking forward to the day. So much has changed in my life.”
Three years ago I woke up not knowing how I was going to make it through another day. My partner, my daughter’s father, had become abusive; we were no longer safe; I had no money and no job; and we had no where to go. It couldn’t have gotten any worse. We left and stayed with a few friends and relatives, but the stark reality was – we were homeless. I started to look for places that might be able to help us, and ultimately was referred to the Front Door Agency’s Transformational Housing Program by the Upper Room in Derry, NH. The day I was accepted into this program is the day my life began to transform.
I was assigned a case manager who guided and supported me through the process of applying for TANF, childcare assistance, and food stamps. The other programs of the Front Door were able to provide the basics that I didn’t have. With the help of my case manager, I decided to pursue my interest in the medical field and became a Certified Nurse’s Assistant. I loved it! I knew I wanted to pursue nursing, so I applied to St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing and was accepted.
By this time I was in Phase II of the program and through the Good News Garage, I was able to get a car donated to me, which helped tremendously. Eventually I earned my LPN, passed my nursing boards, and got a job as a nurse. Words cannot describe how this program has made all the difference in my life and the life of my daughter.”