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Meetings Set On Future Of Hannah House

Lebanon — Hannah House, which recently shuttered its residential program for young mothers and pregnant girls, will hold two community forums this week to help it decide how to best move forward.

The meetings are set for Tuesday, from 9-10:30 a.m., and Thursday, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Lebanon Congregational Church, 8 S. Park St. They are part of a restructuring process the nonprofit began last month when it suspended its programs and laid off staff after operating at a loss for the past several years.

At a meeting Thursday, the board decided not to resume the residential program and to sell the property that once housed the program, a day care center, and administrative offices. The 25-year-old organization will use the proceeds to support future services for pregnant and parenting teens.

“So many of the resources were being used to support a big facility,” said interim executive director Hilde Ojibway. “One program closed, but that opens up opportunities.” The property at 10 Abbott St. is assessed by the city of Lebanon at $511,800.

Identifying the greatest needs of pregnant and parenting teens in the Upper Valley will help the agency set its course, Ojibway said.

The mission of Hannah House is to teach pregnant and parenting teens and young adults healthy parenting skills and self reliance in order to ensure their well-being and that of their children and communities. In addition to a residential program for pregnant and parenting New Hampshire teens, it also offered child care and outreach programs, such as education, case management, and vocational training, in the Upper Valley.

The residential program was funded primarily through a contract with the state of New Hampshire. During the past five years, changes in the state’s placement policy and reimbursement rates resulted in a dramatic decrease in funding.

For two decades, the house was generally filled to capacity, but last month, just two teenagers and their children were living there.

In a news release last week, Hannah House said it would focus on opportunities to resume outreach, child care or other programs in collaboration with other Upper Valley nonprofits.

Aimee Caruso can be reached at acaruso@vnews.com or 603-727-3210.