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The Dover Area Religious Leaders Association

The Cocheco Forum

Nancy Lawrence, The Homeless Center for Strafford County

Nancy Lawrence is Executive Director of The Homeless Center for Strafford County, located in Rochester. Nancy began by volunteering at the Center for eight years and then served in a staff overnight position. She has been the Executive Director since 2004. Nancy holds a B.A. in Human Service, a teaching degree and an A.A. degree in Accounting.

Summary of Nancy Lawrence's Speech

The coalition was formed in 1998. It started out at the Salvation Army. In 2001 Waste Management donated an old building for a homeless shelter. There has been a change in the homeless population of the shelter; the population grows each year. This year there were 85 people at the shelter during the months of operation between October 15 and May 1. The largest group was children (60). The people are local. There is a huge need, and homelessness here is a problem.

The main problem is rents. New Hampshire is the 12th most expensive state. On top of this, if a person is evicted he or she is blacklisted and who will rent to them? There are a lot of homeless families that are intact and have one adult working. Many jobs, however, do not provide a liveable wage; the solution is not simply to get a job.

The Shelter is a private non-profit funded through the United Way. The staff is made up mainly of volunteers. They can use all the support they can get