The Mission of the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter (MATS) is: to provide transitional housing, support, and referral services to people who are homeless; to educate our community on issues of homelessness; and to advocate for solutions.
Since 1991, the volunteer board of MATS has been doing just that.
It began when three local clergymen realized there was an increase in requests for shelter at their respective churches. They sought inputs from several community members and leaders who were interested in helping, and MATS began in February of 1991.
In the early years, the Board, which included one clergyman and several local citizens, was totally involved in the day-to-day operations of the shelterís program, assisting people who were looking for a temporary home.
These dedicated MATS volunteers, essentially the Board of Trustees, assumed the responsibility for renting, furnishing and maintaining the two-bedroom apartment with an equipped kitchen and living area to be shared by the occupants of the two bedrooms.
The By-Laws of the organization specified a transitional residence, ideally two weeks during which time the shelter guests were to find employment and other housing. The shelter was generally fully occupied at all times. During the early years as MATS continued to search for funding from area citizens, the monthly rents were a challenge and the organization approached each month with a sense of uncertainty.
Eventually as our funds and requests for shelter increased, we were able to add a second apartment and for the first time hire professional part-time help. The current (and fourth) case managerís job is to assist our guests as they apply for the various state subsidies that they need, find a new or better job, find an apartment, set weekly goals, monitor their progress, help them establish a budget, save 30% of their income, and always provide the guest(s) with compassion and support.
At a retreat in 2002, the Board decided to buy a building and eliminate monthly rent responsibilities; this decision required planning and time.
The first building we purchased was a duplex in which we could house four families at a time, depending on the size of each family. Often an apartment held two single moms each with a child who all shared the common areas.
To prepare the duplex, the Board rolled up their sleeves and cleaned, painted and refurbished it before taking in the first family. Once all of the duplex was finished, we no longer needed the second rental property. During this time, we rented office space off-site for our case manager.
Eventually another building, our current one, was offered to MATS allowing us to save money again as it provides not only four apartments for guests but a meeting room and an office for our case manager. It also provides a small apartment for an on-site building and grounds manager. Until the duplex was sold a year or so later, we were able to offer it to families as affordable housing.
Today, those on the MATS Board know that we still are very much a working board. Some of the many responsibilities of the Board include managing the finances and our current shelter property, providing information to the communities we serve in the Monadnock region, fundraising and writing grants to enhance our work on behalf of people who are homeless, speaking to local churches and service organizations on the issues of homelessness, interviewing those who request shelter with us, supporting our part-time case manager who works directly with the people once accepted into the program, and serving as mentors to our guests. Yes, the Board does EVERYTHING.
The MATS board is indeed grateful to all of the generous citizens and businesses who have helped us over the past 21 years. We could not have done the work we do without your interest and compassion. If you would like more information about MATS, please call the MATS office at (603)924-5033 and ask for Bob Rue. Thank you!
Our Wish List: a reliable car, adult mountain bikes (menís and womenís), a 3-4 person tent, a car battery charger, GED workbooks or CDs
Please realize we are a transitional shelter not an emergency shelter.
To inquire about transitional shelter space at MATS, please contact your local welfare officer who will get in touch with MATS. If you are unable to reach MATS you can contact the NH Homeless Hotline to find out about other shelters statewide, by calling: 211 or 1-866-444-4211.
You may also email us at email@example.com or call the office at (603)924-5033.