Area agencies continue efforts to assist homeless population at Somersworth encampment
October 26, 2021
Community Action Partnership of Strafford County (CAPSC) continues to work with the cities of Somersworth, Rochester and Dover, and local, state and federal agencies to provide services to people living in an encampment located on private property in Somersworth, adjacent to Willand Pond. The property is scheduled to be cleared by law enforcement on Nov. 8.
To address health and safety concerns on the site and plans to market the property, the private property owner has sought assistance from the City of Somersworth to close the encampment and posted ‘No Trespassing’ signs on the property. Somersworth, in cooperation with the cities of Rochester and Dover, requested CAPSC help to coordinate services for people at the encampment before the property is cleared. CAPSC is coordinating the effort with numerous local, state and federal agencies to connect people with services. Under state welfare statutes, municipalities are required to provide emergency shelter, food and medical care.
Representatives of nine local and state agencies led by CAPSC connected and provided services last week to encampment individuals through outreach and utilizing the Strafford County Extreme Weather Warming Center located on Willand Drive in Somersworth. CAPSC and participating agencies will continue their efforts this week, including three days on site.
CAPSC estimated that services were provided to about 15% of the encampment population last week and that no one refused help. Services provided included those seeking housing applications, medical care, food, laundry, showers, and referrals for substance use disorder help.
The nine agencies that provided outreach help last week include the Somersworth Housing Authority, Dover and Rochester welfare departments, SOS Recovery Community Center, Waypoint, New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, Goodwin Community Health, New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services, and New Hampshire Public Defender’s Strafford County Office.
Community members also supported operations by providing meals for those who came to the Warming Center for services.
CAPSC continues to seek donations of specific items to help provide services.
The current list of needed items includes:
• Wagons to help people move their belongings to their destination
• Sleeping bags
• Gift cards to local restaurants or supermarkets for meals or other necessities
• Gas cards for individuals with vehicles
• Meals on triage days for both clients and volunteers at the site
• Monetary donations that can be used to support services for those in need
• Assistance with vehicle repairs
Those able to help are asked to contact Dan Clark at email@example.com. To donate money for the effort, designate a gift to the Willand Pond Emergency Fund at CAPSC’s website: https://straffordcap.org/donate/. Funds raised will be utilized collectively by all agencies working together to support these individuals.
CAPSC is also seeking apartment owners who can accept or are willing to accept housing choice vouchers to help connect encampment members with permanent housing.
- Somersworth City Manager Robert Belmore
(603) 692-9503, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dover City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr.
(603) 516-6023, email@example.com
- Rochester City Manager Blaine Cox
(603) 335-7506, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Betsey Andrews Parker, Community Action Partnership of Strafford County
(603) 435-2500, email@example.com