NH Social Service Agencies Merge, Plan to Expand Services
By DON HIMSEL
MANCHESTER — Two social service organizations announced Wednesday that they will join forces in an effort to expand services to those who need them.
New Horizons, which provides food and shelter services, will join with housing and social service provider Families in Transition – New Horizons.
At a press conference Wednesday, officials of both organizations said they feel the integration will allow them to help more people, identify specialty services and streamline operations.
“It is one big bang, that is what it’s going to be,” said Maureen Beauregard, who will be the new head of the combined services group.
Board members of each organization have been working on the merger for about six months.
David Cassidy, the president of New Horizons’ board of directors, called the organizations “two of the premiere not-for-profit companies in our community.”
“This is a strength-based merger with two very strong organizations coming together to enhance our services and to bridge the gap in the continuum of care for our clients and to continue to make a difference in our community,” Cassidy said.
FIT NH, founded in 1991, has offices in Manchester, Concord and Dover and plans on opening one in Wolfboro.
New Horizons began in 1973 and operates a soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless shelter and Angie’s Shelter for Women in Manchester.
Cassidy called the current system “fragmented” and said people fall through the cracks as they seek services.
He said the merger will “significantly improve our community’s fight to end homelesness.”
“We think that the time now is appropriate,” he said. “Charlie Sherman who was the executive director here for the last several years, has done a tremendous job in raising the profile of New Horizons and got us to a point where we thought it was a place that it was appropriate for the two organziations to merge.”
Sherman’s retirement “opened the door for us to have a serious conversation with Families in Transition – New Horizons,” Cassidy said.
The merger officially begins in January, but officials said they will take up to a year to evaluate strengths within each organization to develop their model.
Beauregard said no staff will be cut.
“There are no savings in laying people off,” she said. “We need more people to help in this fight.
FITNH President Dick Anagnost said the demand for services keeps increasing.
“Resources are getting slimmer and slimmer, and we have to learn to do more with less,” Anagnost said.
He said his organization was considering expanding its own food service efforts before the directors of both governing boards decided on the merger.
Beauregard said the organizations would work with a consultant to blend their services.
Patrick Tufts president of Granite United Way said he endorses the “union of these two proud and great organizations” and that the United Way would be giving them $50,000 “immediately.”
“The goal at the end of the day is to expand our missions, to feed more people, to provide more people shelter and to provide more permanent housing options for people,” Beauregard said. “That is the overall objective of us coming together.”