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New Horizons, Families in Transition merger expected

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 17. 2017 11:57PM

MANCHESTER — The leaders of New Horizons and Families in Transition — two prominent nonprofit organizations that serve homeless people — are expected to announce this morning that they will merge into a single organization.

Families in Transition sent out a notice that “an announcement will be made about a potential merger” during a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the New Horizons building.

A source confirmed to the New Hampshire Union Leader that the controversial merger will move forward.

Manchester Alderman Pat Long said he could sense the merger was a go when officials from both organizations used glowing terms to describe the merger during a town hall meeting earlier this month.

“I’m uncomfortable with it,” said Long, chairman of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which provides limited funding to both organizations. “I get nervous; it’s one entity assuming a lot of responsibility.”

Families in Transition was founded in 1991 as a shelter for abused women and their children. It now owns 235 apartment units in Manchester, Concord and Dover; most are long-term, stable apartments. The organization provides residents with services and opportunities to find a job and achieve self sufficiency.

It operates mostly on government grants.

New Horizons operates a soup kitchen, homeless shelter and food pantry in downtown Manchester. It makes support services available, but many clients don’t take advantage of them. It is the only shelter in the state that accepts intoxicated individuals.

Its major source of income are private donations.

In an op-ed column on Oct. 2, the board chairmen of the two organizations said their core missions won’t change, nor will the staffs.

They said a merged organization will do a better job of getting people into stable homes.

“Food and shelter — it doesn’t get more basic than that. Together, as a merged entity, the results will be more people off the streets and into more stable living environments,” wrote FiT Chairman Dick Anagnost and New Horizons Chairman David Cassidy.

Three former executive directors of New Horizons — Louis Craig, Fred Robinson and Michael Tessier — have written to oppose the merger, worried how it will impact the chronically homeless, who are often not receptive to reform efforts.

Charlie Sherman announced earlier this year he would resign as New Horizons director. His last day was Aug. 31, and Sherman has avoided commenting publicly on the merger.

“I did the best I could for six years and left feeling good about hopefully helping some people,” Sherman said.

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