“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 Inn, Inc.
Citizens Inn was founded in 1983 by Mary Jane Lee. Over the past 38 years, much has changed at Citizens Inn. It has grown from one small program (the Citizens Inn Between shelter) to an umbrella organization for four programs located in eight buildings. Yet much remains the same, as families continue to struggle to maintain housing and food security.
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 Citizens Inn Between, in a leased building on Main Street, Peabody.
The agency moved into the next logical phase in the 90s: creating permanent, affordable rental housing. Our Inn Homes program now provides affordable housing to over 15 families and homelessness prevention support to many others living in communities across the North Shore.
In 2017, Citizens Inn merged with Haven from Hunger, a leading Peabody nonprofit, focused on solving food insecurity in Peabody, Salem and Lynnfield.