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MATS is lucky to have Susan Howard on board

Each month in my articles about the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, our guests all mention how wonderfully helpful our case manager, Susan Howard, is to them. Her many years of experience has given her knowledge of the local and state resources available to people, but her caring and her cheerfulness along with that is what brings comfort and hope to our guests.

Just recently, a new family came to the shelter; they needed food but did not have food stamps. Susan drove them to the Monadnock Area Food Pantry where they were given what they needed to get started. She then took them to Shaw’s to buy items not offered at the pantry. Going out of her way to help people is a large part of who Susan is.

Earlier this year, the MATS board made a commitment to strengthen efforts to prevent homelessness. Consequently, the board increased Susan’s hours with some of that time allotted for her to be present at The River Center on Concord Street. There she assists people who are seeking various types of community support — some of whom are looking for agencies that might help them stay in their homes, or perhaps are seeking shelter. Susan’s hours at The River Center are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to around 3 in the afternoon. People can make an appointment with her by calling TRC’s number: 924-6800.

Sometimes, depending on the questions and the needs, Susan can give the necessary information over the phone. She can assist people with issues other than housing by referring them to various appropriate resources including heat/fuel assistance, noting the free dinners each week at three local churches and mentioning the two food pantries in Peterborough.

The River Center also offers parenting classes that help reduce the stress that might undermine a family’s power to cope with their financial worries. And from now until April 15, people can have their taxes prepared by qualified preparers at TRC at no charge. The River Center is a well-known and valuable family it a natural win for the entire community.

In part, thanks to a most welcome grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, MATS has focused time and effort specifically toward preventing homelessness for people who have had one experience or more coping with the lack of stable housing is extremely important. This includes a more defined follow-up process with former MATS’ guests. And it means serving individuals, couples and families that seek support either through TRC or MATS.

MATS is grateful to Susan for all that she offers to our guests and now to others through the River Center. In the words of a former guest: “MATS is very fortunate to have her guidance” for those living without shelter. Everyone involved with MATS agrees whole- heartedly! To reach Susan at MATS, email info@matsnh.org or call the office: 924-5033.

WISH LIST: car, toddler bed; ironing board

Hope Pettegrew of Hancock is a former board member but remains a volunteer for MATS. MATS is a transitional shelter, not an emergency shelter. MATS collaborates with The River Center.

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