The Bridge House is a 20-plus bed homeless shelter serving the men, women and children of the Lakes Region, Grafton County and North Country of New Hampshire as they work to transition from homelessness to permanent homes. The Bridge House has a unique commitment to homeless veterans, who are never turned away, and to the national mandate to end veteran homelessness.
The Bridge House provides between 5,000 – 7,000 “bed nights” per year, meaning the number of nights individuals are using shelter beds.
The Bridge House Mission is to:
- Provide emergency shelter and support for individuals and families
- Enhance participants’ ability to return to the community by providing the necessary support, services and skills training to enable them to achieve healthy independence and permanent housing
- End veteran homelessness
Although the word “homeless” conjures up images of an urban problem with people sleeping on park benches, keeping warm next to sidewalk grates and eating in soup kitchens, it is also a problem in rural communities across the country like Plymouth, New Hampshire.
In the mid-eighties, our community began addressing our local needs under the leadership of the Plymouth Ministries and Rev. Bayard Hancock of the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. In 1987, a group of committed citizens—including Cal Carpenter, the owner of the Plymouth Inn who often housed those in need—began focusing on creating a shelter for those experiencing homelessness in our area. The Bridge House Homeless Shelter opened in 1989 in Plymouth, NH and was licensed to serve eight people. In 2003, The Bridge House became independent from the Community Action Program (CAP) and gained its 501(c)3 status as a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation.
In 2004, The Bridge House board, with the Town of Plymouth, applied for and received a Grafton County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to build a new “green” facility, licensed for 20 beds, on the grounds of the Whole Village Family Resource Center on Highland Street. Whole Village donated the land on which the building was to be constructed. In addition to the CDBG investment, the board raised the additional funds from the community that were needed to build the shelter, illustrating the community’s commitment to the mission.
Construction of the current shelter was completed in the spring of 2005, the staff moved in on May 15th, and the facility was dedicated in July of that year. The Bridge House provides meals, shelter, and essential services that support participants in attaining permanent housing solutions.
The Bridge House benefits annually from federal and state contracts and Grafton County funds as well as generous support from the Linden Foundation, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire Electric Co-op, Meredith Village Savings Bank and Bank of New Hampshire. The bulk of the support, however, comes from local individuals, businesses, and churches.
The Bridge House is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit corporation (EIN # 20-1057931).
John and Cathy Bentwood received the 2004 Robert Craft Community Champion Award on behalf of The Bridge House.