“Liberty House opened its doors in April 2004. We started as a shelter for veterans, and over the years it’s evolved into more of a transitional housing program. Today, we’re in a new facility which we just moved into less than a year ago.

“We’re the only sober living house for veterans in the state of New Hampshire because we take no state of federal funds.”

“Anytime you take federal funds, you have to follow the federal standards – which right now follow what’s called a ‘housing-first’ model, which means you can’t hold your residents to certain behavioral expectations. You can’t require them to stay sober, see doctors or take care of themselves, and those are all standards that our vets have. They have to work and save money.”

“We follow a four-step model for our residents: recovery, physical health and wellness, employment, and then transition to community living. We also serve two groups of vets: our residents that stay with us in our sober transitional housing from 90 days to a year, and then we also have veterans from the broader community come in to access our resources, like the food and clothing pantry.”

“In our new facility, we have plenty of different resources, like a computer room where our vets can do resumes and apply for jobs, check email. We offer referrals and assistance on that end. Our recreation center is opening up and we’ll have a pool table, ping pong table, an art room. We started to connect with a local art museum for an art therapist to come in and do some classes and events with our residents and veterans from the community. We’re kind of doing it all right now.”

“Most of our guys are in recovery, so a lot of the time they’re coming from rehab facilities. Many are formerly incarcerated and transitioning to community living. They’re coming to us looking for a better life. The needs and experiences range from person to person, of course, all their backgrounds are different. But they all follow the same model and our guidance is very individualized.”

“What also makes us unique is our very family-oriented approach to the programs. We view Liberty House as a big family – staff and residents. We also view the veterans from across the community as an extension of that, too, so we have a very welcoming and warm way of going about our work.”

“Probably one of the biggest hurdles we’ve seen over this last year was that our veterans’ recovery meetings were shut down and doctor’s appointments went all virtual. It was tough and it just wasn’t the same. A lot of our guys struggle with mental health, substance use, and brain injuries, and not being able to go see someone face-to-face, or learning the technology for some of the people who aren’t really tech savvy – we have a lot of older vets – has been extremely difficult.”

“The biggest thing with our residents, when they come in and live with us, is that we start from ground zero. We work with them to get all their essential documents, and to get to know their history, where they’ve been, and where they want to go. We just work side by side with them on short-term goals and to get them to their long-term goals. We try to create a home-like atmosphere through meals, holidays, house activities, and a lot more.”

“We’re really hoping that our recreation center is just going to explode, especially with all the veterans from across the community. We’re really looking forward to partnering with some community agencies that will be able to come in and host workshops and events – becoming a hub for the veteran’s community as a whole. We’re really excited for the future, growing and serving this community.”

Ashley Kitchell & Jennifer Barlow
Liberty House
Manchester, NH