History | Four Root Causes of Homelessness | Board of Directors | Back to About Us
people should not be forced to live on the streets, in cars or
in motels. It shouldn't happen. There's no justifiable reason
for someone to be without a place to live; it's a basic right."
- Mary Jane Lee, founder of Citizens for Adequate Housing, Inc.
These words were spoken twenty-five years ago by Mary Jane Lee, shortly after she founded Citizens for Adequate Housing (CAH) .
Over the past 28 years, much has changed at CAH. It has grown from one small program (the Inn Between shelter) to an umbrella organization for three programs located in seven buildings. Yet much remains the same, as families continue to struggle to stay housed. Families living in our two shelters usually a single mother with one or two young children, but single dads and intact families are welcome.
In 1983, Mary Jane Lee was distressed to learn that
a neighbor with two children was about to become homeless. She
went into action, working through St. John's Church in Peabody,
and gathered a group of local residents to address the growing
problem of family homelessness. They incorporated Citizens for
Adequate Housing in June 1983, and by 1985 had opened their first
shelter, the Inn Between, in a leased building on Main Street,
In 1987 CAH purchased 25 Holten Street, and moved the Inn Between to that welcoming Victorian house, which now provides emergency shelter for six families. When the shelter opened, families usually were able to find housing and move on within a few months. Housing has become so scarce and so much more expensive that families now generally remain at the Inn Between for six months to one year while looking for permanent housing.
Three years after the Inn Between moved to Holten Street, it became apparent that for some families, homelessness was a result of substance abuse. If these families were going to become stable enough to stay housed, their shelter needed to include a recovery program. And so, the Inn Transition was established in 1990 in the former Jewish Community Center building on Washington Street Peabody.
The "solve-the-problem" program, Inn Homes, which then had been originally named the Communities
Land Trust (CLT) was also founded by Mary Jane Lee in 1992, but
remained dormant due to her untimely death. In 1996, under the
direction of the CAH Board of Directors and executive director
Nancy Crowder the CLT (now Inn Homes) was revived, and in 1999 it merged officially
with CAH, becoming the agency's third program. Through this program
CAH is working to steadily expand the supply of affordable apartments
on the North Shore. At a rate of one building a year, CAH has
acquired small multi-family buildings to rent to very low-income
tenants. We now own 16 apartments in five multi-family homes in Peabody..