CLAREMONT — A newly opened teen homeless shelter in Claremont will receive nearly $200,000 in federal funds to combat youth homelessness in Sullivan County.
The Oasis Teen Shelter and Support Center, a residential transition program for homeless and runaway youth between ages 16 to 21, was recently awarded a grant of $199,966 through the Transitional Living Program, a grant program administered by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
“We are very excited and thankful,” said Oasis Director Cathy Pellerin, who only learned of the grant award on Sunday, the eve before Oasis officially opened.
Oasis is the newest program launched by the Claremont Learning Partnership, a local nonprofit that assists teens and young adults who struggle with living instability. The Learning Partnership also operates the One-4-All Center, which provides early childhood education and daycare, teen parenting and mentoring classes, educational and vocational support and referrals to other community resources.
Oasis, located on 169 Main St. in Claremont, provides homeless teens, and their children or partners, with a temporary residence for up to two months while assisting the teens to find permanent housing, as well as employment or other needs toward living independently.
The residency is fully furnished and equipped and includes six bedrooms, with a total living capacity for 12 people. Residents share common areas for cooking, laundry, dining and socializing. There is also a playroom for infants and children.
Pellerin said the grant will fund the hiring of overnight staff for the facility, which is a critical component when housing youth under the age of 18.
In a shared written statement, New Hampshire’s congressional delegation — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH) — praised the ongoing work of the Claremont Learning Partnership and the importance to combat teen homelessness.
“Youth homelessness is a major issue in New Hampshire that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Shaheen said. “Without secure and stable housing, young people are more susceptible to physical and mental abuse, substance use disorders, exploitation and a host of other serious harms that can have long-lasting consequences.”
“The newly opened Oasis shelter in Claremont is a safe space for teenagers and young adults to live when they’re facing heartbreaking challenges that force them to leave their home, and I am so pleased that this shelter is receiving federal funding to support these young people,” Sen. Hassan said.
“Young Granite Staters should not have to worry about having a roof over their head or food on the table – but for far too many in New Hampshire, that is their reality,” said Rep. Kuster. “I’m pleased to see the Oasis Teen Shelter and Support Center in Claremont receive these federal funds to support teens and young adults in need, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Transitional Living Program grant is a highly competitive, nationwide program. Though the DHHS has not published a list yet of the current year’s recipients, in fiscal year 2019 the grant was awarded to 19 programs across the country, totalling $4.3 million in federal funds.
Pellerin said that Oasis is close to having its first residents move into the shelter. Oasis’ Site Manager Shea Harris is currently reaching out to applicants and setting up intake meetings.