The Welcome Mat
Newsletter of the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter
LOCKDOWN UPDATE FROM MATS
All of our guests are safe at MATS.
The children all have what they need for remote learning.
We are not currently having office hours at The River Center.
If you need help or have questions you can leave a message at the office and we will get back to you 603-924-5033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Can I Help?
All of our guests are currently out of work. They would appreciate gift cards to local grocery stores.
We are looking for donations of gift cards so guests can purchase personal hygiene items.
MATS is in need of donations.
We have had to cancel several fundraisers this spring. Also having everyone in the building 24/7 is increasing our utility costs. Donate here: https://matsnh.org/mats-donate/
Please mail cards and donations to: Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, PO Box 3053, Peterborough NH 03458.
MATS RESPONDS TO URGENT COVID19 NEED WITH SHELTER AND SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES IN TRANSITION, JOINING #GIVINGTUESDAYNOW
As unsettling as the past few months have been for everyone, most of us have a secure home in which to shelter with our families. In fact, the very idea of “home” has become a potent symbol of security as we practice social distancing, work from home, and home-school our children. But in our community, not everyone has a home, and the now-urgent problem of homelessness remains persistent in the Monadnock Region.
MATS is responding to meet the needs of adults and their children who are homeless during this pandemic. Amidst the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, MATS is addressing several urgent needs:
- helping adults and their children understand what they can do to keep everyone safe,
- making sure everyone has enough food,
- ensuring the children receive their education,
- ensuring the adults understand how to apply for Care Act benefits
- connecting people in the community with resources
#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity, set to take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.
At a time when we are all experiencing the pandemic, generosity is what brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together across the globe. Generosity gives everyone power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can act on. It’s a day for everyone around the world to stand together and give back in all ways, no matter who or where we are.
Prior to the pandemic all of the adults at the transitional shelter were employed or planning to complete their education. Most were on wait lists for subsidized housing. All the children were enrolled in school or daycare. In addition, our program manager provided weekly offsite community outreach to help connect people with resources.
At this time all of our guests are out of work. All of the housing lists are on hold.
In early March all guests and our program manager were quarantined for 2 weeks. During that time we continued to provide all the support that was needed. Thankfully, everyone has remained healthy. The MATS program manager worked 24/7 to make sure that everyone had enough food – collaborating with the Peterborough Food Pantry, Conval’s End 68 Hours Hunger program – providing gift cards to local grocery stores. She collaborated with school districts to make sure children had the tools they needed for learning at home. She helped each of the guests apply for Care Act benefits, a daunting experience for most people. She assisted community residents who called frantic with questions about applying for these benefits.
What now? MATS is doing what we’ve done for the past 30 years– provide safe and comfortable housing for people who are homeless. Provide connections to resources such as job training, childcare and counseling so that when they leave MATS, they have the day-to-day skills and support they need to avoid recurring homelessness. Our program manager is our hero. She ensures that MATS will be here for 30 years and beyond.
Donate here: https://matsnh.org/mats-donate/
Donate to the Facebook fundraiser: https://www.facebook.com/donate/858988484621931/10219586348962749/
Bank of America awarded MATS a grant to help guests pay for rent when they move into permanent housing!
RESOURCES FOR LOCALS FROM THE EASTERN MONADNOCK PROVIDER NETWORK MEETING
The River Center organizes The Eastern Monadnock Provider Network each month. It has become a source of information and awareness about the community resources in our region for our local community volunteers and agencies. You will find a food pantry volunteer from one town sitting next to a welfare director from another town. Social workers, nurses, case managers, bookkeepers all come to hear about resources available in our towns. How do we help folks apply for food stamps? What is our community doing about substance misuse, recovery, and treatment? Is there any place to send a couple for help in organizing their finances? The common denominator in this group is that everyone is helping people in our community in some way. Together, we are learning about the resources available so we can make connections needed for our neighbors.
They meet on the last Tuesday of each month Sept. thru May, no meeting in December. Anyone is welcome to join.
From the MATS Program Manager: Eviction and Housing Security
Susan Howard, Case Manager, Monadnock Area Transition Shelter (MATS)
Although landlords are not allowed to evict tenants who don’t pay their rent, tenants are still legally obligated to pay. If they stop paying rent, they will need to catch up on those payments at some point, so it is strongly advised to make partial rent payments, preferably at least 50%. If tenants are struggling to pay, they should seek additional resources to assist them with food, utilities, etc. to free up funds to pay rent. Susan also recommends that tenants keep detailed records and receipts for everything, both for income received and expenses paid. As far as she knows, the eviction order coincides with the state of emergency order, so presumably when that is lifted, landlords will be allowed to evict for non-payment.
From the Peterborough Town Library: Unemployment Filing
Mary Hubbard, Assistant Library Director, Peterborough Town Library
The Employment Security Dept. has added 200 people to the call center to manage the influx of filers for unemployment, and yet there are still wait times when calling. Mary can assist people with filing or answer questions, and has left documents in a box outside the library for those who need them. Mary’s assistance is available to everyone, regardless of their town. The Unemployment Assistance Hotline at 603-271-7700 is open M-F 8 AM- 8 PM and Sat 8-5. Best time to call is after 4:30 PM M-F to reduce wait time.
From the River Center: Taxes & Money Matters
Nisa Simila, Communications Specialist/Money Matters Coordinator, The River Center
The IRS extended the filing deadline until July 15, 2020. We are now offering “virtual” tax preparations through video conferencing or phone calls and secure file sharing. Filers need to have access to the internet through their phones, tablets, laptops, or PCs. For those who don’t have that technology, but need to file their taxes urgently, they can contact Barbara Heggie at the Low Income Tax Clinic at 603-715-3215.
The River Center is continuing to offer Money Coaching via phone calls or video conferencing. This service is more important than ever as many are living on reduced incomes and having to choose what bills to pay. Our Money Coaches can help them make wise choices and point them in the direction of resources to help fill in the gaps.
From the Grace United Way: Stimulus Payments
Cary Gladstone, Senior Director of Asset Building Strategies, Granite United Way
Most people are eligible for the stimulus. The amount received is based on income level and number in the household. Get My Payment on https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
For high income households, the stimulus check is reduced proportional to the amount you make above a certain income level. SSI and Veterans benefits recipients who don’t normally file, but have dependents, have until May 5 to add those dependents to their EIP so they can get the larger lump sum now rather than get the money for the dependents next year.
From Conval School District: Meals for All District Children
The free breakfast and lunch program offered through the ConVal school district will continue through the summer. To apply, visit: https://sites.google.com/conval.edu/remotelearning/meal-services
The Conval Superintendent wrote in her last email update: Also available is information about our meal services for any family in our 9 towns who would like the school to deliver breakfast and lunch for any child in the household who is 0-18.
- always, a reliable car
- gas cards
- gift cards from local businesses that our guests can use when they need certain items many of which are not covered by food stamps
If you have items to donate, please call MATS office at 924-5033 and leave a message for Susan. Or mail items (if you can) to PO Box 3053, Peterborough NH 03458. Thank you!
100% SUCCESS RATE!
Once again, 100% of our guests who completed the MATS program in 2019 have moved on to permanent housing!
*We do this without money from the state or federal government – we rely solely on donations and grants.
YOU CAN HELP
MATS has online giving. We use the PayPal cart to facilitate secure credit card payments, you don’t have to have a PayPal account. You can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation at www.matsnh.org/mats-donate
You can shop at Amazon and support MATS: Visit http://smile.amazon.com. You will be prompted to select a non-profit to support. We are listed as Monadnock Area Transitional Sheltering. Shop as normal, starting from smile.amazon.com, and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to MATS.
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