Home Is Where the Hearth Is

Middletown – July 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Lucy’s Hearth has provided shelter and critical human services to women and children experiencing homelessness in the same building for over 30 years. On Monday, June 29th, Congressman David Cicilline, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, RI Housing Executive Director Barbara Fields and other local dignitaries joined the staff, Board and community supporters of Lucy’s Hearth in launching their new home.

The event marked the official launch of the new home for Lucy’s Hearth, which has entered into a purchase and sales agreement with Child & Family for its former headquarters located at 19 Valley Road in Middletown. With over 9,300 square feet of space, this building is situated on 2.2 acres of land and is being redeveloped by Church Community Housing as the ideal home for Lucy’s Hearth.

Narcheline Vazquez became homeless due to economic hardship when she lost her job.

She spoke at the event stating, “I went to Rogers High School and was working full time and parenting my three children and one day…. My job was gone like people in Rhode Island experience all too often. Within months, I lost my apartment and had nowhere to go. We stayed in a few temporary situations until finally… Lucy’s Hearth offered me a home.”

Fortunately thank to Lucy’s Hearth, Nacheline’s story has a good ending as Vazquez told
the crowd that came to celebrate the new facility, “Life is good now. I am proud to say
that I have been working at Lucy’s Hearth as the Administrative Assistant for nearly a
year. Last month, I got married to my wonderful husband Ronnie and my kids are doing
phenomenal!”

Lucy’s Hearth was established in 1984 as a grassroots organization serving as a night-tonight
shelter for homeless women and children in the community. Over the years, the shelter expanded its service continuum with a focus on self-sufficiency to help families increase their ability to live independently, thus breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Lucy’s Hearth has consistently operated at capacity from an outdated building; the new facility will create larger family rooms and community spaces that are more suitable for the vulnerable women and children who are served.

Lucy’s Hearth delivers holistic wrap-around services for resident mothers and their children including case management, daily nutritious meals, mental health treatment, referral and advocacy, early intervention for children 0-3 years of age, life skills training, financial literacy education, on-site GED education and more.

Congressman David Cicilline stated, “This new home for Lucy’s Hearth will ensure that Rhode Island’s homeless population can get the critical support and transitional housing services they need. I applaud Lucy’s Hearth on more than three decades serving our state’s homeless women and children, and I congratulate them on this important milestone.”

Nationally accredited as an Enhanced Shelter, Lucy’s Hearth provides crisis stabilization as well as basic human needs assistance including meals and clothing, and comprehensive self-sufficiency programs designed to increase each woman’s capacity to secure permanent affordable housing. Families remain in the Enhanced Shelter Program from three to six months, and more than 80% of families transition into permanent housing.

President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed said, “For decades, Lucy’s Hearth has made a tremendous impact by helping women and children overcome crises, meet their basic needs, and achieve lasting self-sufficiency. Their new home will enable Lucy’s Hearth to increase capacity while providing a greater continuum of services in a more cost effective setting. When completed, the new home will provide a nurturing environment where women and children can get back on their feet in a dignified and modern setting.”

Dr. Susan Erstling, Board President of Lucy’s Hearth, thanked all the generous donors who have made the project possible, stating, “Lucy’s Hearth has delivered its nationallyaccredited program from a rented former convent on West Main Road, Middletown. It is safe to say, we have done the best possible job from this tired, old facility. Honestly, when you have no home, the current Lucy’s Hearth building is indeed a safe haven.

Yet all of us are ready to move Lucy’s Hearth to its new home. This 2.2 acre property and this 9,300 square foot building represents our exciting future.”

The Lucy’s Hearth renovation is a $4.4 million project to establish the most modern, energy-efficient transitional housing facility in Rhode Island. The renovation of this 9,300 square foot building will commence immediately so that Lucy’s Hearth can relocate from its outdated facility by August 2016. $1.9 million has been secured to date and major funders include:

• Federal Home Loan Bank
• van Beuren Charitable Foundation
• LISC – Local Initiatives Support Corporation
• Health Resources and Services Administration
• Town of Middletown Community Development Block Grant
• BankNewport
• Commerce Rhode Island
• Lucy’s Hearth Board of Directors & Community Donors

Lucy’s Hearth has launched a statewide fundraising campaign called “Home Is Where The Hearth Is” to raise $2.5 million by August 2016. In addition to the acquisition and renovation goals, this campaign funds a building maintenance fund so that Lucy’s Hearth can care for its modern facility long into the future.

Relocation of Lucy’s Hearth will achieve:

• A 60% increase in capacity to serve more women and children experiencing homelessness;
• Positive outcomes for mothers and children resulting from a safe, modern and nurturing facility;
• Expanded opportunities to develop and implement new services;
• Greater organizational efficiency from the elimination of rent, high utility expenses, costly emergency repairs and inefficient operations; and
• Most importantly, the women and children served by Lucy’s Hearth will have the opportunity to live, recover and improve their lives in a dignified, modern environment.

“Rhode Island Housing is proud to partner with Lucy’s Hearth to secure a permanent home for the women and children they serve,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “Once renovated, this facility will serve as an example of modern, dignified housing that also meets a family’s needs for a broad range of services.”

In 2014 there were 4,067 homeless men, women and children in Rhode Island. According to the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which keeps the state’s homeless numbers, there was a 15.2% decrease in homeless families from 631 in 2013 to 535 and a11.7% decrease in homeless children from 1,117 in 2013 to 986. Experts theorize that the family numbers were down due to families deciding to live with relatives or friends. A waiting list for acceptance into one of Rhode Island’s family shelters is proof of the continued need.

In 2014, Lucy’s Hearth served 59 families including 97 children. Lucy’s Hearth served more than 25,000 meals and accommodated 14,048 bed nights.

Tours of the new facility and grounds were given following the ceremony.

Jennifer Barrera, Executive Director of Lucy’s Hearth, closed out the event stating “We would like to thank our many friends for giving Lucy’s Hearth this incredible opportunity. And when our residents move in next September, and this campus and building comes alive with woman and children working toward a common goal of having their new homes, they will thank you as well.”

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contact:
Jennifer Barrera at 401-639-4617
Email: barreraje (at) familyserviceri (dot) org

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