State finds funding to support shelter

July 14, 2012 by  

A Beverly homeless shelter forced to close its doors just months ago will be able to open as early as this October thanks to a new proviso in the state budget.

Massachusetts legislators found room for an extra $200,000 in the new budget, which will allow the beleaguered shelter to open the doors again this fall. The state has not given money to River House for the past two years and has never provided more than $25,000 annually.

Forced to close earlier this spring, the men-only River House shelter has been suffering from financial difficulties. However, shelter management has expressed its relief at the new state funding in a budget that is still awaiting final sign off from Gov. Deval Patrick.

The budget allocation is the most money River House has ever been granted from the state legislature since it began serving Beverly’s homeless population in 2005. The annual operating budget is only $250,000, most of which comes from donations from the public and private donors. Print companies are generally heavily utilized by not-for-profit organizations such as this as reports to donors, annual reports, and fundraising collateral such as brochure printing are always needed.

Linda Anderson-Mercier, board president at River House, spoke excitedly about the budget change, saying:

“It’s going jump-start our fundraising activities and allow us to get the shelter upgraded.”

“If we hadn’t gotten the money, we would’ve been back to square one.”

Harborlight Community Partners assumed management of the shelter just months before the budget announcement and, through the organization’s many advocates, it has helped push the funding through.