In Case of Mistaken Identity on the State’s Part, Ruth’s House is Not Security Grant Recipient

Ruth’s House thrift shop, 111 Lafayette Square, Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

It was a grant of a lifetime…and then it wasn’t.

Yesterday, WHAV reported Ruth’s House, a popular Lafayette Square thrift shop with a charitable mission, was to receive a nearly $100,000 state grant to bolster security. The information came Wednesday in a press release from the state Office of Grants and Research. The release clearly listed “Ruth’s House, Haverhill, $98,797.02” under Commonwealth Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

Unfortunately, the state admitted Thursday, that despite listing “Haverhill” specifically, the grant was actually awarded to JGS Housing Services, doing business as Ruth’s House of Longmeadow, a nonprofit assisted living facility.

Haverhill’s Ruth’s House Executive Director Amy Smith-Boden told WHAV she didn’t remember submitting an application and emailed the state directly Thursday morning. The reply was heartbreaking.

“I wish had better news but your organization – Ruth’s House, Haverhill, MA, was not the grant awardee,” wrote Brian P. Nichols of the state Office of Grants and Research, Homeland Security Division.

As WHAV reported, the money was to come from a state program to assist at-risk organizations with on-site security measures. It was part of $3 million given to 47 organizations at “increased risk of hate crimes or terror attacks.”

Smith-Boden told WHAV the money, and the purposes—to address security vulnerabilities with equipment, including security systems and door locks, to harden soft targets—actually would have filled a need.

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