The primary services from the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County address employment and education as well as emergency needs. The non-profit agency can help the homeless pay a security deposit, assist with rent, distribute food, and more. Some programs are run directly by it, and others use federal or state of New Hampshire funds.
The non-profit CAP is the administrator for the federally funded Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, which furnishes free supplementary food and groceries. TEFAP will also give clients nutrition information and assistance at no cost to them. This is all offered for low-income or working poor Strafford County residents, including the elderly and the homeless.
Strafford County food banks all participate in TEFAP as well, as do more than 15 pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and nursing homes operated by other regional community agencies. So the number of distribution points is immense.
The region also ensures that children or students have access to nutritious meals during the summer months or vacations. This is done through the federal USDA Summer Food Service Program. Free breakfast, snacks and hot lunches are provided at program-approved sites (such as churches or parks) to all children who meet income requirements.
Every year, CAP provides Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday food baskets to those who are in need. Hundreds of baskets are usually distributed over the Holidays to the needy.
Emergency housing and rent programs from Community Action Partnership of Strafford are available in partnership with other non-profit Community Action Agencies throughout New Hampshire. They also work with the New Hampshire Department of Mental Health and Developmental Services to administer the HUD Homeless Outreach and Intervention Project.
The program, known as HOIP, provides many services. They include aggressive outreach, education and case management services for the unsheltered homeless throughout Strafford County.
Homeless Prevention provides eligible clients with grants for their housing expenses. It includes utility assistance, first month's rent payments, and mortgage payments (principal and partial interest only), and loans for back rent. If the homelessness is caused by lack of transportation, then it may even pay for some vehicle repairs.
HPP is a program of last resort and its intent is to provide emergency financial assistance to those who have exhausted every other source. The type and amount of assistance provided are determined based upon whether funding is available and upon immediate need.
The New Hampshire HSDP - Housing Security Deposit Program assists low income residents with paying for their rental security deposits. It can either issue a loan, or it is done by submitting guarantee certificates to landlords and providing the funds to clients.
To benefit from this service, income qualified clients are required to meet guidelines, provide positive references from past landlords, enter into a lease for at least a six-month period of time, and show that they will be able to consistently pay the rental fee on time.
The loan from the community action agency must be repaid within up to two years on an agreed upon payment schedule. CAP of Strafford County is program administrator, utilizing a grant from the state's Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services.
Assistance from weatherization provides energy-efficient home improvements for low-income residents. There is a priority given to the elderly in the county, the disabled, families with children under age six, and households with excessively high heating bills.
Based on the results of a free home energy audit done on the home in Strafford County, WAP determines which alterations and improvements will be most beneficial and cost-effective. Some measures provided may include the installation of weather stripping, extra insulation, carbon monoxide and fire detectors. The resource is funded and administered by the NH Office of Energy and Planning, the US Department of Health and Human Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the US Department of Energy.
The New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program partners with utility providers that include Unitil Energy Systems, National Grid, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, as well as Public Service of New Hampshire to assist customers who are having difficulty paying their electric bills.
The goal of this resource is to make electric service more affordable and to prevent service termination, especially during the winter. Assistance is in the form of a discount applied to the monthly electric bill. The amount credited is determined according to factors such as the household’s gross income, household size, and electricity use. Benefits from Community Action Partnership of Strafford County are also dependent on the availability of government grants.
The federally funded LIHEAP - Low Income Home Energy Program, also known as the Fuel Assistance Program, helps certified eligible households with managing and paying heating bills during the winter season. To provide the greatest amount of assistance to households with the lowest incomes and the highest energy costs, cash grants paid out are determined by a process at your local outreach office.
Strafford County EHS Early Head Start is a comprehensive child development and parent support program for children. Home-based services are provided year-round basis to eligible families in Dover, Farmington, Barrington, Milton, Rochester, and Somersworth. Some of the free services includes age appropriate activities for infants and toddlers, as well as comprehensive education, meals, food, health care and social services for the children and their families.
An option for older children, Head Start, provides inclusive and comprehensive services in the areas of education, health, and nutrition for Strafford County children from age three to age five. The goal of this particular resource is to ensure that children from low-income families have all the skills and knowledge they need to be ready to begin school.
Both community and parental involvement is strongly encouraged by the community action agency. Depending on each family’s needs, part time day services are available either at local centers in your town or in the home, and each child is provided with services according to their needs.
The New Hampshire Workforce Investment Act provides employment services to displaced and economically disadvantaged workers in the county. Applicants need to be aged 18 years and up.
The workshops from WIA includes ability and skill assessments, the development of an individualized employment plan, interviewing strategies, goal setting, resume creation, and training for in-demand occupations through NH Works offices statewide. Support services organized by Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, such as day care and transportation assistance, are also available for those with a low income.
Additional employment resources from Workplace Success have been providing job skills training and volunteer placement for the New Hampshire Employment Program. It targets Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are re-entering the workforce and at the same time need the income for supporting their families and paying the bills. Activities include course work in the classroom, literacy classes and computer training, as well as support and liaison services.
CAC operates a Senior Transportation Program that provides the elderly in the county with low cost, door-to-door, demand-response transportation to anyone age 60 and over. Their buses or vans runs to shopping malls, grocery stores, and discount shops within the agencies service area.
There are a few different outreach offices to call for applications. They include 61 Locust St., Ste. 240, Dover, NH, (dial 603-516-8126) or a center at 527 Main St., Farmington, New Hampshire, (call 603-516-8191). Or, for general guidance, dial 603-516-8130.
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