Housing Matters – June 2014

A few weeks ago I was standing outside at Harborlight House in Beverly waiting to welcome some special visitors.

It was a cool day with a light rain. I was waiting outside near a light pole on Monument Square, to make sure they did not get lost looking for this unique and caring home.  And in that moment, just as our elders need Harborlight House, so too did I need the visitors to find me.   I needed to talk with them about how they might help HCP ensure Harborlight House could continue to be this special home for seniors who need it.

Harborlight House is where all the passion and affordable housing effort started and where HCP traces its missional lineage.   In the early 1960’s, a small group from the First Baptist Church in Beverly voted [BB1]  tobuy the old home of Beverly’s first mayor, John Baker. These folks were intent to create a home for elders in need.  They bought that house ¦ and they did it.

They did it.

And here I was, standing in the rain more than 50 years later, hoping that the visitors I was waiting for would help HCP find new resources to invest in Harborlight House.    At HCP we have been working on a plan to renew Harborlight House; to put on a new roof, fix the elevator, create more comfortable space  for our residents, and make the building more energy efficient.   The cold, early spring rain and daunting task of deciphering  how these needs could be met, to improve the quality of life for our residents and longevity of Harborlight House itself  was getting to me a bit, weighing heavy on my heart and mind.   As I stood there, waiting in the rain, knowing that  many of those who possessed the original vision and hope, have since passed on, I was feeling discouraged as to how I was to get up this hill.

Looking skyward I suppose in an effort to channel the commitment of these good folks of another era- I saw on the light pole next to me that someone had pinned on it a rough Rowling Quotelooking piece of cardboard. In crayon, there was a JK Rowling quote:   Anything is possible if you have enough nerve. 

Well played, random stranger and thank you for the encouragement.

If over half a century ago a little church group had the nerve to buy a large house and figure out how to make it a home; and if, since that time, hundreds of elders in need of an affordable home and on-site care  had found just this magic at Harborlight House ¦well then, I suppose we should have enough nerve to see that magic through into the next generation.

For all of you who have had the nerve to do the right thing when it needed to be done we thank you.

How about we keep going in that direction together?


~ Andrew