A Brief History

Lafayette House is tucked away, barely visible from the street, just a little outside the bustle of downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. With 13 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a kitchen, living room and dining room, it is slightly larger than the two neighboring houses. This is because fourteen people are happy to call Lafayette House home—twelve developmentally disabled residents and two dedicated house managers, Julie and Dennis Barratt.

 Julie and Dennis Barratt with nine of the home's twelve residents. To see everyone click on  "Meet the Residents"

Julie and Dennis Barratt with nine of the home's twelve residents. To see everyone click on "Meet the Residents"

“This was a project dear to my heart because my son had already been displaced once before, I couldn’t let that happen again”
— Dave Baxter, Parent
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Lafayette House isn’t new. The house was built in 1984. Some of the residents have been living here for nearly two decades, many have considered this their home for some time. The residents are as bonded to each as they are to their home. The Lafayette House day starts with group breakfasts as residents rush out to their daytime activities and jobs with their packed lunch boxes. The day ends with the group dinners as everyone helps with kitchen chores, catches up and relaxes. 

In the fall of 2016, relatives of the residents received some unsettling news, the house was slated to close in a little over a year. Great Bay Services, who has owned and managed the home since the since its construction, had decided to realign their agency and leave the residential services sector. 

Lafayette House Portsmouth

Over the the next fews months relatives of the residents formed a unique partnership with Community Home Solutions, a Seabrook based housing non-profit run by Francis and Ellen Chase. By the fall of 2017, it seemed like the house would remain open.

Dave Baxter, who is a parent of one of the residents of the Lafayette House and a commercial real estate broker led the effort to keep the house open.  Baxter worked heavily to transition the home to operate under Community Home Solutions management .

“This was a project dear to my heart because my son had already been displaced once before, I couldn’t let that happen again” said Baxter “so I approached CHS to help me make the transition. This is a very unique situation because the home operates under a HUD license, so the process is lengthy and complex. We were lucky to find a partner as committed as CHS to this mission” 

As you can imagine, running a household for twelve people is lots of work and can becostly. Lafayette House, like all homes, ages and needs repairs. We welcome, donations and repairs in-kind. See how you can help.

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