The Bridge House 20-plus bed homeless shelter serves men, women and children of the Lakes Region, Grafton County and the North Country. The shelter was built in 2005 and provides for participants’ physical needs while they work on finding solutions to get back to healthy independence. It includes comfortable bedrooms, a kitchen for daily meals, a library and a computer room, plus a large living space where participants and staff interact.
Most of the rooms at the shelter are shared; family rooms are available. Communal meals are prepared by the residents themselves, Bridge House staff or outside groups who volunteer to take part in the community.
Children are welcome in a safe, warm environment offering lots of toys, games, puzzles, books, a large yard and outdoor playground. They enjoy interaction with each other as well as time with staff and partners. They continue going to school every day. The Bridge House has a no TV or video game policy — praised by the Plymouth Elementary School principal, who acknowledged that children residing at the shelter are well prepared for school.
Housing Placement Program
Bridge House participants have the opportunity to meet with a housing specialist to work on transitions to affordable housing in the state. Bridge House participants have successfully transitioned to Plymouth Terrace, Plymouth Apartments, Plymouth Woods and other subsidized apartments as well as apartments supported by the VA’s VASH program. Some have reunited with family members. For example, one Vietnam War veteran spent more than a year at the Bridge House and then moved into a three-bedroom apartment in Lisbon with his daughter, son-in-law and their three dogs.
Bridge House Green Initiative
The Bridge House Green Initiative helps both the environment and our participants. We’ve installed solar panels on the roof to decrease energy usage. Hanging clothing outside on the line saves energy and money as compared to using a laundromat. The staff teaches efficient ways to save money by encouraging families to read and play games rather than incur the cable and electricity costs of TV and video games.
The Bridge House participates in the Eco-Learning Collaborative Gardens – a five-garden project in Plymouth. Bob Richer, a UNH-certified Master Gardener, supervises a large garden located between The Bridge House and Whole Village. Participants are encouraged to work in the garden and produce is used for Bridge House meals as well as for other nonprofits and schools in the area.