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April 16. 2014 9:41PM

Nashua's Harbor Homes grows, changes

NASHUA — A major expansion and renovation project is underway at Harbor Homes, where homeless and low-income veterans are receiving critical services.

Construction began more than six months ago on the 15,000-square- foot expansion at 45 High St., which will serve as a new Harbor Care Health and Wellness Center.

Funded through a $5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the renovations and expansion will nearly double the size of the existing clinic.

The new clinic, once complete, will accommodate up to 3,500 veterans who are struggling with disabilities, illnesses and finances.

“We are very excited about this project,” said Peter Kelleher, CEO of Harbor Homes.

Lower-level space in the building, which was previously used for storage, is now being converted into 14 primary care examination rooms, two nursing stations, a pharmacy, cafeteria, eye care area, showers and dental laboratory for clients.

A medical respite area, or recuperative care facility, is being constructed to help veterans who need a place to stay after medical procedures, illnesses or surgeries.

Kelleher anticipates that the new clinic will save area hospitals from unnecessary medical expenses. Some of those hospitals, he said, are financially supporting Harbor Homes with its expansion efforts, along with various other entities and individuals through a major fundraising campaign.

“We are just grateful for their partnerships,” Kelleher told U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who toured the facility this week.

Shaheen described the project as impressive, adding the benefits it will provide to New Hampshire veterans will be tremendous. The clinic, she said, should serve as a model for similar organizations throughout the state and around the country.

Harbor Homes is a local nonprofit group founded 30 years ago with a mission to create and provide quality residential and supportive services for individuals and their families with mental illness or struggling with homelessness, according to the organization’s website.

Last year, Shaheen helped Harbor Homes secure a $1 million federal grant to help combat homelessness among state veterans.

For her efforts, she was awarded this week with a Distinguished Community Health Advocacy Award.

Upon receiving the award, Shaheen said it is really the employees at Harbor Homes — those who are committed to providing many critical services to veterans — who deserve the recognition.

The first phase of the Harbor Homes renovation project is expected to be complete on May 8, which includes the clinic, dental area, new entrance and new elevator. The second phase of the work, which should be done by the end of July, includes the fitness section and medical respite center.

In addition to $4 million worth of construction, about $1 million in new equipment will be installed, according to Scott Slattery, housing director and project manager.

Shaheen praised the work at Harbor Homes, maintaining the new center will provide structured assistance in one location for individuals who may have difficulty navigating the system.

khoughton@newstote.com


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