Our roots stem back to the 1960s and the community mental health movement which included a shift in public policy toward moving people out of institutional care back into the community.
Fellowship Housing (originally known as “Opportunity House”) was envisioned by a group of community leaders intent on insuring that the people arriving in Concord from New Hampshire Hospital felt welcomed and supported as they made the transition into our community. In its early years, the corporation operated two “halfway houses,” which offered safe and supportive settings for people making this difficult transition. Due to funding shortfalls, both facilities closed in the 1970’s, but the corporation remained active.
Fellowship Housing has been the local leader in developing housing for people with mental illness. We have an impressive portfolio of projects which has brought diversification to our housing offerings, revenue streams, and has allowed us to thrive financially. Our housing development has been intentional and cautious yielding well-planned growth and partnerships with investors.
In 1980, an application to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a Section 202/8 Demonstration project was applied for by mental health advocates. It was approved for the purpose of establishing a group home in Concord for people with mental illness in need of daily support and supervision. Fellowship House, Inc., a non-profit corporation, began providing housing and residential services to 10 people with mental illness in June 1984. This program’s capacity was increased to 12 beds in 2007.
In 1988, an application was submitted to HUD and approved for a Section 811 project to form Fellowship Apartments, Inc., a permanent supportive apartment complex for 12 people with mental illness. This six-unit building, which opened in 1993, is located at the corner of Allison and Badger Street.
In 1996, a second HUD Section 811 project was approved to provide housing to eight people in six units on Washington Street. Another non-profit corporation, Washington Court, Inc., was developed and a six-unit project opened in September 1998.
Funding for a third Section 811 project was approved in 2001 and Fayette Street Project, Inc. was incorporated to develop and own the project. This project officially opened in 2004, and is capable of housing seven people in five units.
Fellowship Housing purchased a three-family home on Jackson Street in Concord in 1996 in a “bargain sale.” After 15 years of renting these units on the open market, Fellowship Housing applied to NH Housing Finance Authority for funding through its Special Needs Housing Program to convert the building into five units for our core population. The Jackson Street Project was completed in November 2013, and attained full occupancy in April 2014.
Recognizing our tenants’ needs for supportive services in their own homes, Fellowship Housing in partnership with Riverbend Community Mental Health, began offering Outreach Services to residents in our housing projects. Initiated in 2000, this program has grown into an essential component in our housing program. It is an important part of people’s ability to live well in the community and has been extended to others within the community, as well.
Early in 2001, Fellowship Housing Opportunities, Inc., entered into a purchase and sales agreement with another non-profit entity to buy an eight-unit apartment building utilizing a combination of Community Development Block Grant dollars, private grant dollars and a commercial loan. This project, located on South State Street, has been fully operational since the summer of 2002, and provides housing to our core population.
In 2004, Fellowship Housing was asked to consider purchasing a building on the corner of Pleasant and N. State Street. It consisted of administrative offices on the first floor, eight units of housing on the second and third floors, and an unfinished lower level. Utilizing a combination of Community Development Block Grant funding, tax credit sales through the NH Community Development Finance Authority, and NH Housing Special Needs dollars, Fellowship Housing rehabbed the upper floors, added a first-floor handicapped unit, redesigned the administrative space and created a useable working environment in the lower level. The Pleasant Street Project is now the administrative home of Fellowship Housing.
Today – with over 75 renters and numerous others benefiting from our behavioral health services – Fellowship Housing is an agency well-poised to continue to be a primary source of decent, high-quality housing and support to people recovering from mental illness.
Recognizing a need to offer in-home supports for some of our renters, Fellowship Housing has established an Outreach Program which offers specific interventions in concert with the individual’s treatment plan at the mental health center.