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North Shore Antipoverty Agency Settles Into New Home

NSCAP is still based in Peabody, but now located over at 119 Rear Foster St., Building 13.

NSCAP Executive Director Laura MacNeil prepares to snip the ribbon on the new offices with some help from local dignitaries and other NSCAP representatives on Tuesday.
NSCAP Executive Director Laura MacNeil prepares to snip the ribbon on the new offices with some help from local dignitaries and other NSCAP representatives on Tuesday.
North Shore Community Action Programs has now consolidated nearly all of its offices under one roof and set up shop in a new location in downtown Peabody.

Local officials and community supporters of the regional antipoverty agency gathered with NSCAP at the new offices at 119 Rear Foster St. on Tuesday to celebrate the big move and take a look around.

"It will only look better as we move along," quipped NSCAP Executive Director Laura MacNeil, explaining that the move was delayed first by snow, then the holidays and then snow again. She said everyone was still unpacking.

“NSCAP is thrilled to have all our employees together under one roof,” said MacNeil. “We can serve the community more efficiently this way and the space far better meets our needs.”

Employees exhibited a similar level of excitement Tuesday, saying they "loved" the new facility. NSCAP is leasing two floors in the building and is actually right across the hall from Peabody Access TV.

Prior to this, NSCAP was spread between its main offices in the basement of the Peabody Housing Authority property at 75 Central St., a building at 98 Main St. and an office at 86 Main St. NSCAP also operates Salem Cyberspace, and that program will remain at its current location in Salem.

Clients will enter the Foster Street building (No. 13) on the first floor to meet with staff for various programs, such as fuel assistance or housing assistance, while the second floor will be used for administrative offices and classrooms.

The core communities served by NSCAP are Peabody, Salem, Beverly and Danvers, while residents from numerous other North Shore cities and towns receive services depending on the scope of the program(s).

Last year, NSCAP served more than 12,000 people with programs and services for housing and homelessness prevention, economic stability, education and training, reduced energy costs and home care for seniors.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt said Tuesday he has a "tremendous" amount of respect and appreciation for the work NSCAP does in Peabody and neighboring communities and thus wanted to try to keep the agency based in Peabody.

MacNeil said the move wouldn't have been possible without help on the city's end.

State Sen. Joan Lovely and Beverly state Rep. Jerry Parisella also attended Tuesday's ribbon cutting and noted the financial support the legislature has extended to NSCAP as continued federal funding on key programs becomes questionable at times.

Lovely noted the budget season is gearing up again and promised to work to make sure NSCAP gets the resources it needs to continue offering services.

In a related matter, NSCAP appeared before the Peabody City Council in December on behalf of local developer Norman Lee, who wished to purchase the rundown building at 98 Main St., renovate and convert it into apartments.

The council rejected that proposal, mainly on the grounds that it really wanted to see some more of mixed-use for the property.

MacNeil said the sale would have provided a substantial financial cushion -- a reserve fund -- for the nonprofit agency, however, allowing it some relief from always being at the mercy of federal funding and congressional budget battles.

MacNeil said there are still some items left to move over from that building to Foster Street, but it is effectively vacant now and the property will be monitored by NSCAP.

She said Tuesday, however, that Lee is still interested in the property and may be returning before the City Council with another proposal.

You can find more pictures from Tuesday's event here thanks to the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce.

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