Serving area youth since 1877, Chase Home recently received a $5,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) awarded through the City of Portsmouth. The money will be used to support its Seacoast Community Diversion Program (SCDP), which was formed this past May with numerous community collaborators.
“This program represents a concerted community effort to provide comprehensive support and services to youth on the brink of entering the juvenile justice system,” remarked Meme Wheeler, Chase Home Executive Director. “This is not a new concept either. It is tested and supported by a lot of evidence. Other programs in the state are experiencing a lot of success.”
Mike LaLime, Chase Home Board Member and owner of TRE Cleaning & Restoration in Portsmouth, said the entire organization is grateful for the continued support shown by the city of Portsmouth.
“From the major renovations performed at Chase Home in the past year to this second year of funding through this program, Portsmouth is behind Chase Home and that means a lot,” he said.
Elise Annunziata, Community Development Coordinator for the City of Portsmouth, said this block grant has existed in Portsmouth since the late 1970’s.
“It has helped thousands of people in our community who meet eligibility requirements,” she said. “Because of this program, the City of Portsmouth is able to assist public services like Chase Home that provide important programs and activities for the community’s most vulnerable populations.”
Over the years, Portsmouth’s Community Develop Block Grant Program has also been used to make improvements such as fire code and life safety improvements at Chase Home last fall and in public facilities and housing that serve persons with low to moderate incomes.
Sergeant Rebecca Hester of the Portsmouth Police Department, which helped form the program, said the importance of diversion measures for today’s troubled youth cannot be underestimated.
“I think diversion as a whole is the right approach for kids,” she said. “Because these programs are tailored to the individual youth, we’re better able to make recommendations designed to support better choices while also honoring the restorative justice piece within the community.”
According to data provided by the NH Juvenile Court Diversion Network, 78% of all youth served in diversion programs in 2012 were free from court involvement one year after program completion. 58% remained out of the criminal justice system after three years.
To learn more about SCDP, or Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org. To receive updates from Chase Home, text CHASEHOME to 41411.