EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 31, 2014

Homeless family struggles to make ends meet

Mother, three children evicted from shelter

DERRY — When a Salem mother and her three children lost their home last summer, they didn’t know what to do.

Nicole Wain didn’t have a job and had little money.

With help from Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County, the family soon had a place to stay through the nonprofit organization’s network of homeless shelters at 10 local churches.

Now, the family is on the move again, and Wain blames Family Promise.

Most of the family was adjusting to their lifestyle change, she said, but they were suddenly evicted just before Christmas. There was snow on the ground and temperatures were below freezing.

Since Dec. 16, the family has lived at the Red Roof Inn in Salem and the Robert Frost Motor Inn in Derry, where they remain today. Wain expects she will have to move again soon, but doesn’t know where.

“I have no income, no food stamps, nothing,” Wain said. “It’s hard these days to figure out where me and my kids would go.”

They were the third family to be removed from the program for violating policies since it began in January 2013.

Thirty-four parents and children from 10 families found shelter though Family Promise in the last year, according to director Victoria McKinney-Vareschi said. There are currently three families in the program, which does what it can to help families in difficult situations, she said.

Families, who are asked to sign a contract, are forced to leave if a member is violent, uses drugs or alcohol, or is caught stealing, McKinney-Vareschi said. It’s the only way to ensure the safety of others in the program, she said.

In November, Family Promise began requiring parents to submit to drug testing. Teens who are believed to be using illegal drugs must also be tested, but she did not say why the new policy was adopted.

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