Home For Now: New shelter in Rochester moving ahead

ROCHESTER — Construction on Homeless Center for Strafford County’s new home off Route 202 is slated to begin in late March, though fundraising still continues and the site plans need final city approval.

Executive Director Tracy Hardekopf said the center’s new home in Rochester is “ready to go” thanks to key recent permitting approvals from New Hampshire Department of Transportation, past support and approvals from the city and its boards, and because of an “amazing outpouring” of financial and in-kind support from community members and local businesses.

“It all started with an amazing gift,” Hardekopf said of the 2019 land donation that made the project possible, “and the community has just kept giving.”

Presuming the Rochester Planning Board gives its final sign off on a project its members supported last year, Hardekopf said the aggressive construction schedule will begin the last week of March and be completed by Sept. 30 so the new center can begin sheltering people in October.

HCSC provides temporary housing and wraparound case management in a home-like residential setting to individuals and families from throughout the region. Its model focuses heavily on childhood trauma and multigenerational homelessness. HCSC is not a walk-in shelter.

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