EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 3, 2013

Homeless network helps local families

Churches join forces to serve homeless families

DERRY — Only three days after Christmas, Teri-Anne Pate and her two young children suddenly found themselves with no place to go.

The 28-year-old Kingston mother’s roommates moved out of their home and Pate was unable to afford the $1,400-a-month rent.

“We didn’t have any place to stay,” said Pate, the mother of 4- and 10-year-old sons.

Then, she heard about Family Promise — a nonprofit organization dedicating to assisting homeless families by providing a network of shelters and helping them find permanent housing.

For nearly two months, the family lived at a Seacoast Family Promise shelter in Stratham, but it was too far for Pate to commute to her job in Salem.

She was fortunate to learn about a new network of shelters operated by Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County, which serves residents throughout Southern New Hampshire.

In late February, the organization began hosting homeless families at 11 local churches and at its new day center at Calvary Bible Church in Derry. Twenty area congregations are participating in the effort.

Pate and her children are among three families — three adults and seven children, ranging from 7 months to 16 years old — being hosted by the organization.

The single mother said if it weren’t for the homeless network, she wouldn’t know what to do. It has allowed Pate to keep her family together, rather than sending her children to stay with relatives.

She’s been looking for an affordable place to live while working and caring for her two children.

“This has been a huge help,” Pate said yesterday. “We have clean clothes, we have a place to sleep, we have warm meals. We have a place to call home while we’re looking for a permanent home.”

Her children are happy, she said, and enjoy spending time in the day center. It’s equipped with couches, soft chairs, a television, a washing machine and dryer, and a dining area. Across the hall, four bedrooms are under construction.

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