On May 10th, Michael Reinke, Director of Nashua Soup Kitchen, addressed the Rotary Club of Nashua regarding the Nashua Soup Kitchen. New campaign:  Spring Street Forward, which is the renovation of 35 Spring Street. Who is Nashua Soup Kitchen?  Providing food and shelter to Nashua community.  Food service began in 1981; shelter services began in 1984. Focus is emergency shelter and then help get into longer term housing.  Average stay is less than 30 days.
Shelter currently maintains two shelter facilities, but they have seen much use since their opening.  Many services provided during stay.  Case worker to help finding housing and obtain government assistance.  Make sure that kids receive everything they need including school supplies and birthday gifts.  Help with people getting GED, assistance with resumes, assistance with interviewing. 
New effort at 35 Spring Street will expand and enhance shelter services.  Some changes but many things will stay the same.  Will have staff on hand at site 24 hours a day. Capacity will change – greater number of beds for men, women and families.  Will be completely handicap accessible, unlike current sites. Will be forming new relationships with local churches.  New location will allow access to all sorts of other important resources – library, bridges, greater Nashua mental health, Nashua transit center. 
How will this help community?  Help $40 to $50k per year by saving City burden of welfare.  By combining the two locations, it will also create more efficiencies:   Able to provide classes for parenting and GED, certifications for labor; new location will have child care facilities; space will allow room for play. Partnering with United Way, Front Door, Lamprey Community Health.  Space may also accommodate health visits through grant to Lamprey Community Health.  
Campaign:  $8.5 M goal; $7M raised already. Working to raise $500k by December 31.  There is a $250k match, but the match challenge is real.  The Shelter needs to raise the funds.  Campaign kick-off on June 16 at the new location at 35 Spring Street. 
Question:  how to balance homeless in downtown Nashua and does the city risk same problems as in Manchester? Mike not able to comment on factors at play in Manchester.  He thinks Nashua has great coordination between nonprofit orgs and the city and that is a big help.  Shelter also has high standards and high expectations of its residents.  Need to find work or cannot stay. 
Question:  How can shelter occupants afford housing even assuming they get a job? Average rent in Nashua for two-bedroom apartment is $1550.  This is proving to be a challenge all over Nashua says Mike, not just unemployed or homeless.  $54,000 is the minimum income needed to afford average rental cost in Nashua. Nevertheless, Mike notes that 65% of shelter residents leaving within 30 days of entering shelter.