Make A Home Foundation founder Anita Pettengill has issued a statement regarding the eviction process under way at 40 High Bridge Road in Newtown, where the support organization has been located since 2011. The 56,000-square-foot warehouse is owned by Divivo-Vona, LLC.
Property manager Scott Lavelle confirmed Friday, January 17, that due to a failure to pay rent and subsequent failure to meet an agreement, Make A Home Foundation would be locked out of the space as of early this week.
“[Make A Home founders] signed a stipulated agreement to leave by December 15, 2013, but they violated that agreement,” Mr Lavelle said on Friday, leaving it up to the court “to now carry out eviction proceedings.”
In an e-mail to The Newtown Bee the morning of Monday, January 20, Ms Pettengill said that the doors to the warehouse would be locked as of Tuesday, January 21.
“[Make A Home Foundation] would like to thank Newtown as a community that has been supportive and loyal in helping us follow our mission to help Veterans and families in need,” said Ms Pettengill. “We have solid numbers that we have given homes full of your furnishings to about 250 needy families. We have partnered with many local organizations (Newtown Social Services, as well as many other town social service agencies, victims of Storm Sandy, The Women’s Center, Red Cross, [Department of Developmental Services], [Department of Social Services], Catholic Charities, AIDS Project, United Way, Homes for the Brave, VA, and many more), thanks to all your donations.
“We are not where we would like to be but we are growing. There are many reasons for the eviction but it always boils down to money, of course. Had we been allowed to follow our plan to have a retail store and advertise we would have had the revenue to support the building.
“I don’t want to put blame anywhere, I just want to thank those who believe in us and support the good things we do and will continue to do, no matter where we call home. In the near future we will notify via e-mail, Facebook and The Bee where we will be opening our MAHF Amazing Thrift store and our office. Thank you for the opportunity to extend our best wishes to Newtown and all those who have supported and believed in us.”
A court case brought against Make A Home last year for violation of town zoning laws, which forbids ongoing retail sales at the 40 High Bridge site, is still pending, said Newtown Director of Planning and Land Use George Benson. Make A Home had instituted a membership program allowing members to shop at the warehouse, a process Mr Benson said was also not allowed by zoning regulations for that site.
Mr Benson emphasized that it is not the town evicting Make A Home.
Ms Pettengill asked that those wishing to support the organization visit www.MAHFCT.org or call 203-270-5501.