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Out & About: Nonprofit housing project in Lebanon seeks support

  • Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Ashley Dow, right, kisses her mother Sylvia Dow, left, before stepping in front of her Global Campuses classmates to teach about the history of her family home in Enfield, N.H., Thursday, December 19, 2013. Dow's grandparents bought the farm in 1953 and ran as an inn. Sylvia Dow has now made it a home for several young women with disabilities. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Valley News Calendar Editor
Published: 2/15/2020 10:32:50 PM
Modified: 2/15/2020 10:32:48 PM

LEBANON — The purchase agreement has been signed for the property on Green Street and the closing set for May.

Now all that’s left for the Visions for Creative Housing Solutions is to raise money to renovate the buildings that will become home to 10 people with special needs come December, if all goes according to plan.

“Everything from new laundry facilities in the building ... (to) new lighting, new flooring throughout the entryways will be redone. Basically an entire redo of the whole building,” said Deborah Mashibini-Prior, marketing and development coordinator at Visions.

The nonprofit organization will officially kick off its capital campaign to raise $800,000 for the renovations with a free event at AVA Gallery from 4-6 p.m. Feb. 27.

“We want to welcome as many people who are interested in what we’re doing in Lebanon,” Mashibini-Prior said.

So far, volunteers have raised $433,825 through grants and private donations.

“The community has been working for about a year now,” Mashibini-Prior said. “We’re getting all the money in place, and then the renovations should begin at some point in early summer.”

Visions for Creative Housing Solutions was started in 2014 by Sylvia Dow, who converted the former Kluge’s Inn (which had been operated by her parents) into a home for people with developmental challenges. Called Sunrise Farm, it is home to 11 residents.

“We encourage independence based on each individual’s need for support,” Mashibini-Prior said. “Some people that we support need 24/7 staffing, and others need a bit of encouragement and some mentorship to navigate their lives.”

Dow, a parent of two adult children who have special needs, started Visions to provide housing options for adults with special needs. In conversations with other parents, she had found that they shared concerns about what would happen as they aged and were no longer able to care for their children.

“She’s a mom on a mission who will not be daunted,” Mashibini-Prior said of Dow.

Since Sunrise Farm opened, it quickly became apparent how great that need is in the Upper Valley.

“We have a waiting list of about 25,” Mashibini-Prior said. “Many of those people are still living at home because they’re not able to live totally on their own.”

One of Vision’s goals is to provide a “safe, affordable, permanent environment” for adults with special needs.

“They can be comfortable and assured that their adult children are safe,” Mashibini-Prior said.

Other Green Street residents have been supportive of the project.

“We found the entire community very welcoming,” Mashibini-Prior said.

After Green Street, Visions will turn its attention to the former Outreach House senior living facility in Hanover.

“We plan to have that be the extent of the scope of Visions in the Upper Valley for right now,” Mashibini-Prior said.

But they are helping others throughout the state figure out how to replicate the Visions model in other communities. The organization received a $50,000 Emerging Opportunities grant from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority to put together a free tool kit for other organizations.

“We already have a group in the Dover area who have used the tool kit and they’re in the process of organizing their own nonprofit, replicating the Visions model in the Seacoast area,” Mashibini-Prior said.

Editor’s note: For more information about the Green Street project, visit visionsnh.org/greenstreet or call 603-632-7707.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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