DOVER — Due to the extreme cold temperatures expected this weekend, a warming shelter is being made available to residents of the Tri-City region of Strafford County, including transportation to the location if needed.
The Strafford County Commissioners announced Saturday morning the activation of the Strafford County Extreme Cold Weather Shelter, located at 276 County Farm Road in Dover, NH, adjacent to Southeastern NH Services. It is open to residents of Dover, Somersworth and Rochester.
"The shelter is open to residents who are without heat or who are homeless," said Tory Jennison, PhD, Rn, Director of Population Health at the Integrated Delivery Network, Region 6 (Strafford/Seacoast). "We are concerned that people may not be able to keep warm and it is supposed to be extreme cold conditions this weekend. The shelter is what is called low barrier, meaning we are not requiring people to prove residency. No substance abuse of any kind is allowed inside the facility. If people come here with needs we cannot meet, we will help them find appropriate services."
The hours of operation for this activation are from 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 to 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14. Transportation is available by shuttle from the Dover Transportation Center (bus station) at 3 p.m., 4 p.m, 5 p.m, 6 p.m and 7 p.m. on Saturday and as needed on Sunday. COAST bus passes will be provided when the shelter closes on Monday morning and the County Complex route resumes to assist people in returning to their home locations.
Social service agencies and municipalities are encouraged to provide transportation options to their clients or residents seeking access. For other transportation options and general shelter questions, call the shelter at 857-323-0388.
"We are providing beds, mattresses and meals," said Jennison. "Our community partners are assisting us in providing supplies and manning the shelter."
Last winter, a similar shelter was opened in Rochester, at the National Guard facility. Jennison said more than 100 people stayed there in the extreme weather.
"Since then we have been working on a strategy to include shelter in our planning," said Jennison. "We were not there yet, but the County Commissioners stepped up and made this happen. We are set up for 32 beds, but we are not going to turn anyone away. We are working with our partners at Cross Roads House, New Generations and A Friend's Place. This shelter is a last resort for those with nowhere to be this weekend, who might not be able to stay warm where they are."