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Oct 19, 2016 8:40 PM

Non-profit homeless day center approved to move into Exeter after two-year long battle

EXETER — After a two-year long court battle, a seacoast homeless center has gotten the go-ahead to move into an Exeter neighborhood.

The Seacoast Family Promise is a non-profit homeless day center providing services to local families.

At its open house on Wednesday, members of the media and guests were shown around the center on Hampton Road. After outgrowing its current space in Stratham, the organization sought to relocate to Exeter but ran into resistance from neighbors.

Residents from nearby Hunter Place and Exeter Farms sued the town trying to bar the center from moving into a building, that was formerly, a daycare center.

“To see residents say to me they don’t want this and it’s going to bring down property values, really?” exclaimed Jessica Beaudry of Seabrook. Beaudry was homeless with three children when she sought help from Seacoast Family Promise several years ago.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court paved the way for the center’s move to Exeter after ruling it met the definition of a “community building”.

“Family homelessness is up and the average age is 8 years old in New Hampshire,” said Pati Frew-Waters, Executive Director of Seacoast Family Promise.

Frew-Waters insists the center is needed to help families who have suffered from job loss, bankruptcy, or catastrophic illness.

More than 600 homeless children and adults have been assisted since the non-profit began operating in 2003.

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