This year has been difficult for everyone in the community, but even more challenging for those experiencing homelessness. Not only are those experiencing homelessness battling hurdles to find permanent housing, but their regular hurdles have become mountains due to COVID-19. One of the most impactful opportunities for the community is to support local organizations that target those specific hurdles. Services like case management and homeless prevention and outreach are tailored to support, develop, and empower those experiencing homelessness in the community.

Despite every challenge that those experiencing homelessness face, the guests at Tedford Housing can now rejoice at the sight of fresh paint, new mattresses and a new, clean place for personal belongings. The Brunswick Coastal Rotary (BCR) had graciously donated grant funds and volunteers to paint and assemble new beds, mattresses and lockers for the dormitory rooms, as well as paint and assemble new furniture for the shelter’s community living room. A group of dedicated Rotarians continue to focus their time and efforts to address housing issues locally and around the world. This project falls directly in-line with their realm of interest and support for community programs. Jim Pierce, president of the Brunswick Coastal Rotary, was enthusiastic about Rotarians focusing their efforts on a local organization that assists people experiencing homelessness and those that are on the brink of homelessness.

Rota Knott, executive director of Tedford Housing, noted, “We appreciate the long-standing relationship with and support of the Brunswick Coastal Rotary for Tedford Housing’s mission. We were very excited to work with the club members to renovate the guest rooms and community room at the Adult Shelter. They really went the extra mile to help us ensure that our guests have a not just safe and secure emergency housing, but also a comfortable place to rest while they are engaged in our shelter program. Community partnerships like this one with the Brunswick Coastal Rotary are integral to Tedford’s work.”

For five days, Rotarians cleaned, patched, painted, constructed new beds, unrolled mattresses and moved lockers into the freshly made dormitories and community room. Over the weekend, a few Bowdoin students and several members of Topsham Boy Scout Troop 202 volunteered with Rotarians to kick-start the shelter renovations. Tedford Housing Director of Programs Giff Jamison said, “The care and hard work they put into painting and freshening up the adult shelter makes it a cheerier and nicer place for our guests to [live] as they work towards securing more permanent housing. It also sends a strong message to our guests that many people in [the] community understand that they have just as much right to clean and fresh surroundings, even in a temporary shelter, as do people who will never directly experience the hardship of not having a place to call home.”

The adult shelter renovations will remain a highlight of the year for Tedford Housing’s guests, and will still be appreciated by all of Tedford’s future guests for years to come. It is undoubtedly the support of the community that enabled this project to be completed. Tedford Housing recognizes the dutiful support of the Brunswick Coastal Rotary, and is grateful to have the ability to provide a fresh, clean environment for their guests, during a pandemic nonetheless.

For more information on the shelter renovations, please visit Tedford Housing’s Facebook or Instagram @TedfordHousing, or visit our website at

Blaine Flanders is the community and donor relations coordinator at Tedford Housing. Giving Voice is a weekly collaboration among four local non-profit service agencies to share information and stories about their work in the community.

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