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(Left to right) EFNH members Evan Karatzas and Shawn McGowan, Martha Stone of Cross Roads House, EFNH members Joe Mullen, Judy Bergeron and Steve Gaykan. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

(Left to right) EFNH members Evan Karatzas and Shawn McGowan, Martha Stone of Cross Roads House, EFNH members Joe Mullen, Judy Bergeron and Steve Gaykan. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Cross Roads House gets $25k AMP Grant from Entrepreneurs’ Fund

Grant will allow homeless shelter to hire case manager to help people succeed in housing after they leave the shelter

Cross Roads House in Portsmouth, an emergency homeless shelter, is about to add an important new position: a part-time housing stability case manager to work with former shelter residents and help them succeed in housing of their own.

The Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire awarded Cross Roads House $25,000 to launch that service during the first of three regional EFNH AMP NH Award Competitions on April 28.

“This grant will have tremendous impact for our organization,” said Martha Stone, executive director of Cross Roads House. “The fact that we can now hire a case manager to help people after they move out of the shelter means that we can more proactively keep people in their homes and break the cycle of homelessness.

“We are so grateful to the Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Charitable foundation for this extraordinary opportunity and this very generous grant.”

Cross Roads House served more than 550 homeless adults and children last year. The 96-bed shelter is at capacity year-round. “We need your help now, because the numbers of people returning to the shelter after we’ve helped them is rising,” Stone said, during her three-minute “pitch” to the EFNH membership at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth.

The shelter provides case management and access to a range of other services to people who are staying there – but now case management will continue after they leave. The case manager will help about 100 people succeed in their new homes by keeping them connected to support services, helping address crises, teaching them to advocate for themselves and working with landlords to resolve problems that might arise.

Five non-profit finalists made pitches to the EFNH membership. To prepare for the AMP NH Award competitions, finalists were paired with EFNH mentors, who worked one-on-one with nonprofits to help craft engaging and persuasive pitches. Finalists took part in an afternoon “pitch camp” prior to the final event to help put the finishing touches on their pitches.

The Entrepreneurs’ Fund, an initiative of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, channels the expertise, energy and passion of the state’s leading entrepreneurs to strengthen New Hampshire communities through innovative philanthropy.

Evan Karatzas, founder of Proximity Lab, is a pitch camp mentor and EFNH advisory committee member. The event, he said, celebrates “two really important groups. One is the nonprofit community. They do some of the hardest work in the state. We really need them…the second group is the entrepreneurs. This event is one of the best displays of collaboration between those two important groups.”

The collaboration really only begins with pitch camp and the AMP Awards: The nonprofits and entrepreneurs from EFNH continue to work together on a variety of needs and projects.

Also participating in pitch camp and the AMP Awards were the Chase Home for Children with a plan to design and launch a pilot program for youth at risk for drug and alcohol abuse; Media Power Youth, which is working to adapt its evidence-based media literacy and healthy choices program into interactive software for youth in grades six through 12; Port City Makerspace which pitched the idea of creating a visual art center at the Port City Makerspace in Portsmouth; and the Birch Tree Center, with a plan to expand community-based learning programs for young adults with autism by purchasing a vehicle.

This year marks the 6th annual AMP awards. Two more regional events will be held this spring, at DEN in Hanover on May 5 and at Dyn in Manchester on May 12, where $25,000 grants will also be made. Those grants will bring the total that EFNH has awarded to $285,000 since 2011.