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The Dover Area Religious Leaders Association

The Cocheco Forum

Pati Frew-Watters, The Seacost Hospitality Network

Pati Frew-Watters is Network Director of The Seacoast Hospitality Network, which is headquartered in Stratham. The Network started operations in N.H. in 2003. Pati is a former news director, cable TV host and non-profit administrator for 15 years, both in Florida and N.H.

Summary of Patti Frew-Watters' Speech

The Seacoast Hospitality Network is one of 129 affiliates of the Family Promise Program. People of faith have connectivity to one another, and this is presence on which the program is built.

The Network does not take families with abuse, alcoholism, or untreated mental health issues. They also only take families with children under 18. The families work with a financial planner; they learn to keep receipts and to save 70-90% of their income. Every Sunday the families pack up and go to one of the 9 hosting faith congregations. There are also support congregations which help in providing meals and other assistance. There is no proselytizing; the Network consists of people of faith who are willing to reach out and help. There are also a case manager and counsellor who work with the guests. Every evening the family gathers in the place where they are staying. Volunteers bring meals; they all sit down together at the table with the guests and talk.

The Network keeps the families networking. The Day Center gives them a permanent address and telephone for job applications. The program offers families dignity and the opportunity to stay together. It offers hope to people who are otherwise hopeless; the idea is that they will then "pay it forward" because people are showing them kindness.

The average age of the homeless is 9. 1,000 children go to school and do not know where they will sleep that night..

What can we do? There are possibilities to volunteer or to serve on the Board. We can also share brochures with other faith communities.

People are not born into homelessness, but it is a condition they fall into. There are not homeless people, but people who are homeless.