My Friend’s Place will shelter single men, woman, and families who do not have a fixed regular or adequate residence, or who otherwise meet the HUD definition of homeless. While our target area is defined as Strafford County in the past 12 months we served 70% from Strafford County with the balance from other NH counties, or other locations. Our priority is sheltering NH homeless. The point in time count in Strafford County continues to identify unsheltered individuals, and families who are either street homeless or “doubled up”. Many of those sheltered are referred from Coordinated Entry. Coordinated Entry is a requirement of HUD for any funded program in the state. Coordinated Entry's main goal is a two prong approach. 1. Make obtaining shelter for clients that are truly homeless easier as well as send the client to the most appropriate shelter. And 2. Making sure that clients are truly homeless and in need of some other prevention service such as rental assistance to prevent an eviction. A welfare referral is not required, but reflects our regular conversations with local officials seeking assistance for their community residents. Once a client is enrolled in our program we quickly connect them with their local welfare department to ensure they have access to resources we are not able to provide.
We receive many contacts from local hospitals, mental health units, and correctional institutions seeking emergency shelter for those being discharged. Those individuals are considered for residence based on space availability. We also assist local police departments and the homeless outreach intervention program who often identify an individual from the community with emergency shelter needs after typical operating hours of other support services. We have the ability to shelter someone temporarily on a cot in our living room for 1 – 3 nights while they seek other shelter. My Friends’ Place regularly receives information requests from people wondering if there is room available – typically 1 – 4 calls per day. In addition we receive at least a call per day from an individual or family who is willing to take a few minutes to share their story, and to let us provide telephone referrals to other resources. Individuals/families being sheltered has dropped by 16% since 2007 though not because of lack of need. During this same period the average stay in a shelter rose to 42 days from 35.