Alternative House has provided comprehensive domestic violence services in the Greater Lowell area for over forty years. Founded in 1978, Alternative House has served thousands of survivors of domestic violence. The agency provides not only emergency shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline services but access to temporary safe housing, transitional/permanent housing, legal advocacy, supervised visitation services, community/housing advocacy, support groups, youth, and teen programming, as well as daily access to case management, safety planning, and support around goal setting, financial empowerment, and job/educational placement.
Alternative House is one of three founding agencies of the Greater Lowell Evaluation and Advocacy Network (GLEAN) which is a high-risk assessment/rapid response team as well as the founder of the Lowell City Manager’s Task Force Against Domestic Violence.
The agency, formally incorporated in 1978, was founded by a group of women who took part in the “Battered Women’s Movement” of the 70’s – a movement to bring awareness, and an end, to violence against women. This group of women paved the way for the agency to, 44 years later, provide services to thousands of survivors of domestic violence.
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Maria Crooker-Capone, Executive Director
Maria Crooker-Capone has been the Executive Director of Alternative House since 2021. Maria holds her bachelor's degree in Business from UMass Lowell and her MBA from Lasell College with a focus in Non-Profit Management. Maria has worked in the domestic violence field for over 15 years in various capacities. Maria believes that providing survivor centered and led programming is critical, and that survivors’ voices need to be not only heard but used as a driving force for Alternative House’s future. Throughout her career she has focused her work on law enforcement’s response to domestic violence, assessing high risk cases to prevent domestic violence homicide, growing strong community connections and partnerships, as well working on creative ways to reach underserved populations. Her passion to maintain Alternative House’s founding grassroots principles of creating a world free of oppression and violence for all, is her motivation every day. When she is not at work, you can find Maria traveling to fun new places with her husband, listening to her vast record collection, snuggling on the couch with her three fur children, or cooking for a group of friends.
Sarah Anderson, Director of Programs & Operations
Sarah Anderson has been with Alternative House since June 2020 when she was hired as the Residential Coordinator for our emergency shelter. She was promoted to Director of Programs and Operations last year and manages multiple programs within our agency. Prior to working for our agency, Sarah worked at a state-run women’s recovery program based out of Taunton State Hospital as a Recovery Specialist. She also spent many years working to open a women’s recovery home in Plymouth, MA that focused on the overlapping challenges and barriers that a lot of our clients must overcome. With 10+ years of program management and development in her career, her experience has afforded her the ability to provide trauma-informed supervision and support for all our program coordinators and their staff. To balance out her work life she indulges in outdoor activities such as kayaking, chasing sunsets for the perfect view, and watching the birds at Myles Standish State Forest. She also enjoys finding the best local restaurants and exploring new cuisines.
Kareen St. Vil, Shelter Coordinator
A self-described passionate worker, Kareen St. Vil is Alternative House’s Shelter Coordinator who is committed to helping individuals and families who need emergency assistance due to domestic violence. She has spent the last two years creating a positive and safe shelter environment , and is most passionate about the work she is doing to promote safety and help survivors develop lifetime security. Before becoming Shelter Coordinator, Kareen was hired as a Residential Life Specialist where she was able to bring her unique perspectives and passions to working with survivors of domestic violence. With a Bachelors Degree in Behavioral Science from University of Maine Fort Kent, Kareen entered the domestic violence world to explore her passion for mental health, relationship health, and to help families gain independence.
Rachel Boumil, Youth & Family Services Coordinator
Rachel Boumil is our Youth and Family Services Coordinator at Alternative House. She has worked with us since 2015 when she started out as an intern in our Youth/Teen program. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Fitchburg State University and is currently attending Boston University School of Social Work for her Master’s Degree. Rachel also volunteers for Big Friend Little Friend at Merrimack Valley Family Services. She is passionate about working with children and is trained in Trauma-Informed Care and Youth Mental Health First Aid.
Lauw Liang, Director of Finance
For the past 16 years, Lauw Liang has been working for nonprofit organizations that provide shelter and services for victims of SDV in FL, NH and now MA. With expertise in not only financial and accounting matters, but also payroll and HR/personnel tasks, Lauw brings a well-rounded balance to the agency’s Finance Department. She is excellent with various nonprofit accounting systems such as QBD/QBO, Abila/Sage, and MUNIS. With an Accounting Technology Certificate Course, and a degree from Gateway College in Lake City, FL, her dedications, trustworthy, experiences, skills and knowledge are an asset to our organization.
Natalie Bergeron-Tarmey, Director of Community Engagement
For over 3 years Natalie Bergeron-Tarmey has grown within the agency, starting with an internship in 2019 and progressing from domestic violence advocate to coordinator to now the agency’s Director of Community Engagement. She completed her undergraduate degree at UMass Lowell with a Major in Psychology and is continuing her education there with the Graduate Certificate Program in Domestic Violence Prevention. She has utilized her education and experience to provide community education, complete risk assessments and safety planning, as well as providing empathetic support to survivors and their children. Now as our Director of Community Engagement, she oversees our growing police partnerships, our 24/7 hotline, community-based programming, and supervised visitation center. In her free time, she enjoys live music, nature walks, and spending time with her friends and family.
Taylor Conley, Visitation Coordinator
Taylor Conley joined the Alternative House Team in October of 2022, and currently coordinates the Supervised Visitation Center. Prior to joining Alternative House, Taylor worked as a Certified Recovery Support worker in various substance use disorder programs, and even spent a year in Construction Management. She is a graduate of Keene State College, where she majored in Health Science with a focus in substance use disorders. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her girlfriend and her dog. In her free time, Taylor enjoys all things Halloween, listening to music, eating sushi, and spending time with her loved ones.
Susan Murray, Administrative Assistant
Susan is our administrative assistant and comes to us with over 25 years of office administrative experience. Susan helps to keep our team organized and is usually the first person of contact when you call or visit the office. She oversees all of our donations and helps with planning our fundraising events such as the yearly Golf Classic and Love Shouldn’t Hurt campaign. Susan enjoys going into work every day where she feels a great sense of accomplishment being able to help both staff and clients.