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The Dover Area Religious Leaders Association

The Cocheco Forum

Homelessness Study Guide

The Cocheco Forum featured a panel on Homelessness in the Seacoast Area on Tuesday evening, April 17, 2007. The panelists discussed the growing problem of homelessness and the ways the agencies they represented helped to alleviate some small aspect of this problem.

This Study Guide is meant for small group discussions of the problem of homelessness. Some questions were addressed by the panelists; other are meant for research or reflection. Quotations from various religious traditions are also presented to help guide the discussion. If you would like to put a comment on our Homelessness Blog, please click here. We also hope soon to have the video of the Forum available for viewing.

Page Contents:

by Julien Olivier, Forum Moderator

Welcome to the Spring 2007 Cocheco Forum. The Cocheco Forum has been presenting programs of community interest at the Dover Public Library since 2005. The Cocheco Forum is sponsored by the DARLA, the Dover Area Religious Leaders Association. For more information, we invite you to visit the DARLA website at We are here tonight to talk about homelessness in the Seacoast Area. I think that the inspiration behind DARLA’s choice of this topic can be summarized in a short passage from the prophet Isaiah. Writing in the 8th century before the common era, Isaiah speaks the following words as coming from of God: “Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: …Is it not sharing your food with the hungry and sheltering the homeless poor.” (Is. 58: 6 & 7) Personally, I have never experienced homelessness. But according to recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are some 754,000 homeless people in the United. Closer to home, while New Hampshire’s economy is thriving, much of New Hampshire’s housing is out of reach for many people. According to a recent study by the New Hampshire Housing Forum, “N.H. has a housing crisis that threatens its economic growth, the stability of its communities and the health of its family structure.” Nevertheless, for many of us, homelessness remains an abstraction.

Tonight we are fortunate to have with us four panelists who meet homelessness daily in the person of very real people. These four professionals will share with us their experiences and insights and tell us about the organizations which they represent.

(Click on the link to view a biography of the speaker and a summary of the presentation)

Click here for the discussion of the Question and Answer period following the presentations.

Discussion Topics

Click on the following links to go statements from various faith traditions concerning poverty and homelessness. These statements can be used as the basis for discussion on these topics.

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Discussion Questions

The following questions were submitted by the various faith communities, and can provide the basis for interesting discussions in a small group setting. Some questions are of a factual nature and can be researched to provide information or statistics necessary for a full understanding of the problem of homelessness in our community. Others will spark thoughts or discussions and, hopefully, strategies for helping to relieve the problem of homelessness. It might be best to do the factual questions first in order to gather all the necessary information before trying to discuss the problem. Click on the link to see the questions.

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New Hampshire Resources for Homelessness

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