Transitional housing building opens in Rumford

RUMFORD — Katrina White can hardly wait to move into her brand new home. She's on the list to become the first tenant of a second-floor, bright, two-bedroom apartment that is part of a Transitional Housing Program.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

Transitional Housing Program case workers, Alison Stimson and Melissa McEntee, compare notes during an open house of the new two-apartment building that opened Thursday by Rumford Group Homes. Behind the women is one of the many quilts donated to the Group Homes' programs.

On Thursday afternoon, White and dozens of other people, walked through the new apartment as well as the first-floor, three-bedroom apartment that are part of the Victorian-style building on 49 Washington St. Rumford Group Homes Inc. has put together its third transitional home, and was holding an open house.

Paula Paladino, spokeswoman for Rumford Group Homes, said nearly two years were needed to get the financing and the renovation done.

The low interest loan was through Maine Housing, and the JTG Foundation of Lewiston provided the funds for new appliances and furnishings. Rumford Group Homes maintenance man, Bruce Plante, provided much of the renovation work.

Sprinkled through the two floors were colorful patchwork quilts. They were created by the Bridgton Threads of Love Ministry and Peru resident Barbara Morse.

Paladino said many of the quilts are given to the babies of clients in one of the Group Homes' programs.

The philosophy behind a transitional home is to give a tenant, who must have been homeless with one or more children and between the ages of 18 and 28, a bridge between homelessness and becoming a fully functioning, responsible member of society.

Those chosen to live in the new transitional home, or in a second one in Rumford and a third in Norway, are allowed to live in the home for up to two years while they develop skills needed for self-sufficiency. During that time, case managers, such as Melissa McEntee and Alison Stimson, help clients with basic life skills such as cleaning and housekeeping. They also providing career searches and anything else that is needed to get a headstart on a new life.

Paladino said the homeless situation is a large issue in Oxford County with the economy so poor and the lack of housing for individuals who need it.

Rumford Group Homes takes referrals from social-service agencies as well as from those who believe they qualify for one of the apartments that become available.

A Section 8 or other housing voucher can be used by tenants to pay the rent, Paladino said.

She said Rumford Group Homes has the only homeless youth outreach program in Oxford County.

White, who has a 9-week-old daughter, stayed at a shelter for a while, then Rumford Group Homes found her a tiny apartment. She works as a personal care assistant. The thought of moving into the new apartment is exciting.

“I'm super-excited. I want it so bad. It's awesome,” she said.

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 's picture

Let me get this straight jim

Let me get this straight jim m.

You feel society would be better off by putting a homeless mother of two, with little formal education and/or skills, back out on the street? Are you aware that many of these clients are educationally handicapped? Probably not.

You would likely prefer they die and decrease the surplus population.

 's picture

How delightful

An ever expanding social services net for an ever expanding population dependent on government. Sooner or later these people must suffer and stand on their own two feet. The more we try to break the fall of idiots who refuse to take personal responsibility for their lives, the more we encourage others to follow in their footsteps. We started this save the poor mess in the 60's under President Johnson, and we are worse off now than when he started his great society. When will the do gooders ever learn. You cannot continue to expand services to people, no matter how big the need, without making them dependent on more and more programs. The only winners in 50 years of doing it this way are the proponents of big brother and big government running and ruining our lives. It is time to change this crap in America. It is time to listen to the lessons of history and learn from them.

 's picture

The article

fails to mention that RGH opened this home earlier this year, but closed it shortly after because the tenants they select did not comply with the lease they signed and were evicted.
You have to remember that a program is only as good as the people that administer it, and RGH does not have good track record with these transitional programs.


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