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The fund was able to provide aid to 10 individuals during the month of January. Significant outlays during the month included: $5,365 in rent for 6 clients, $876 for utility expenses for 2 clients, $437 in auto repairs for 2 clients, and some miscellaneous payments for a few others, for a total monthly expenditure of $7,680.  Rental assistance continues to be the overriding need.

In 2023, DSF assisted 78 individual clients, including 55 with rental assistance.

Kind words from those we've helped...

I just want to thank Dover share fund for helping me pay my car payment and car registration I’m truly and forever grateful to have got the help I needed. Thank you Vickie for working with me. ~ Taylor
 

I thank you every day in special prayer! You have helped me so very much.  I am most grateful for this wonderful DOVER ORIGINAL.  ~Audrey 

Back at Christmas, I went to the McCrone Farm, as I have for years, to get a tree. My tree was free since all proceeds were benefitting the Share Fund. As a single mom and grandmother raising three children, that gift made a big difference in the stress level of finances that week.Thank you for all you do to help struggling families in the area.

~Deb

The Share program has so helped me many times to survive with dental, heat, insurance, and unexpected expenses... I have truly thanked God many times for providing help though the Share program...

~Dover Share Fund recipient

Dover Share Fund Success Stories

January 2024 - This month's profile  is not so much about a Dover Share Fund client but rather an example of how Dover Welfare and Strafford County CAP can help a desperate family stay afloat. An elderly woman recently became ill and unable to continue to earn a living while living with and caring for her young adult son, who suffers from mental illness. The son’s illness prevents him from working, from interacting with others, or from leaving his home and from visits with any medical providers.

 

As the family’s income was driven to zero, they suffered through two weeks with no power as their electricity was shut off due to non-payment, and then through ten days of no heat as the gas company shut off service due to non-payment. Finally, facing eviction due to two months of non-payment of their apartment rent, they reached out for help.

 

Strafford County Community Action Program (CAP) was able to settle payment with the utility companies to have the power and heat restored. Dover Welfare paid down the current month’s rent, and through the assistance of the Dover Share Fund, arranged for payment of the back rent. They will monitor the situation as this woman awaits the initial social security payments for her son and herself. Once those payments begin, their critical expenses will be covered. Dover Welfare also helped in arranging for food stamps to supplement the groceries they receive from a local food pantry.

 

So far, they have survived the no heat, no power, no money, no car, no internet, no TV, and very little food aspects of their meager existence. The only thing they don’t lack is hope. Hoping that things will get better, hoping the son finds a way to get the medical attention he needs, and most of all, hoping they can stay afloat and no further bad luck awaits them, as a single stroke could easily sink them into homelessness.

December 2023 - What does one do when Christmas is approaching and just about everything goes wrong? Living on the minimum monthly payout from the Social Security program, dependent on public transportation and on food stamps for subsidence, this woman was just scraping by. Then her apartment was broken into, a TV and an AC unit were stolen, and then a bed bug infestation was discovered. With the apartment no longer inhabitable, she called Dover Welfare for help and secured a new subsidized apartment in Dover. As she moved on, she was forced to leave most of her furniture and other belongings behind. Safely situated in a small one-bedroom apartment, she still found herself without furniture, a bed, or linens, and with Christmas approaching, was forced to curl up on the floor for the night.

 

The call went out to the Dover Share Fund and their team went into action, securing donations of a bedroom set with all linens, living room furniture, kitchen table set, dinnerware, cookware, and a microwave. All of these items were delivered and set up on Christmas Eve. She is very grateful to have spent Christmas Eve tucked into a new bed and waking to a furnished apartment, feeling a little bit of that Christmas magic she once knew.

 

To help her start the new year off on the right footing, Dover Share Fund also made an initial payment on her past-due electric bill with Eversource and enrolled her in the New Start Program for low-income residents. Provided she makes the scheduled program payments throughout 2024, her remaining past due balance will be forgiven. With her recent troubles now behind her and a bit of good fortune under her belt, she looks forward to a new year and the promise of better days ahead.

November 2023 - For this month’s profile we take a look back to November 2022 when we profiled a US veteran, homeless and living alone in the woods with no money, no support system, and little hope for the future.

 

Dover Share fund along with a few other agencies worked together back then to get this veteran enrolled in several support programs and situated in a new apartment. The Dover Share Fund case worker took a personal interest in this veteran and went the extra mile in working with him to transform his new apartment into a welcoming home, helping him purchase necessary furniture and accessories needed for his daily living.

 

The Dover Share Fund’s charter does not allow for continuous help, so we thought it would interesting to check in on this veteran’s situation one year later to see how his life had progressed. We learned that he is not only well-situated in this same apartment, he now has a full-time job at UNH, and with help from a live-in roommate, has been able to fully cover his monthly rent and other expenses, and with her help has made the space more and more into a home. At this point in time he relies on public transit, but given this man’s determination and grit there will likely be a car in his life not too far down the road.

 

Along the way he did receive some on-going assistance from the offices of Supportive Services for Veteran Families, but has progressed to a point where that assistance is no longer required. His story provides a good example of the lasting influence the Dover Share Fund can have on a person’s life. Even our “one touch and done” approach shows that sometimes, all it takes is that one touch.

October 2023 – This month’s client’s profile captures the teamwork between Dover Welfare and Dover Share Fund. Two men residing at a Dover boarding house needed assistance with their rent as they were running behind in payments. Both men have work restrictions that keep them from holding down full-time jobs, one due to injuries, and the other due to illness, and therefore rely on temporary jobs from a local agency that pairs them with employers who can accommodate their physical restrictions.

 

Opportunities for this type of work can be sporadic and when there are no openings, as in this instance, their income suffers. Seeking rental payment assistance from Dover welfare is an option, however, the welfare office by law is not allowed to pay back rent for individuals. This is where Dover Share Fund steps in to plug the gap. With Dover Share Fund paying back rent, and Dover Welfare paying current rent, together they keep these men housed and on track.

September 2023 - So many people walk a thin financial line, struggling to keep their lives in balance just to make it by, month to month. So it was with this middle-aged woman, living alone in a downtown Dover apartment until a serious medical issue requiring surgery and a 2-month convalescence period pushed her to the edge.

 

Taking leave from her full-time job, she reached out to Dover welfare for assistance and they provided the social guard rails of rental and food stamps assistance allowing her to remain in her apartment through her recovery period.

 

But guard rails are temporary and returning to work became a necessity. Her employer could only take her back part-time, forcing her to seek a second part-time job. Three weeks into job #2, she had to leave as she was unable to meet the physical requirements of the job. She then discovered gaps exist in the social guard rails as voluntary job termination is a disqualification for welfare assistance. Dover Share Fund came to her assistance, plugging the gap with the payment of one month’s rent. She continues to seek a more suitable second part-time job to keep from falling off the edge. With an eye out for the guard rails, and wary of the gaps, she continues on her way.

August 2023 - Life for this Dover woman was seemingly normal, living in a subsidized housing unit with her toddler and working as a bus driver for a local company, until the day her world was turned upside down. A severe domestic abuse incident left her physically and mentally injured and unable to work. This trauma resulted in her hospitalization for mental health treatment and forced her to take unpaid medical leave from her work.

 

With no other means of support and facing eviction for non-payment of rent, this woman turned to Dover Welfare for help. Lacking any income, her subsidized rent has been temporarily reduced to zero, and she was enrolled in the food stamp program along with a program for needy families that provides temporary cash assistance for daily expenses. Dover Share Fund stepped in and paid all her back rent just days prior to a pending eviction.

 

She is continuing treatment for mental health and is attending classes. She has yet to receive medical clearance to return to work, but her employer is holding her job open and welfare has arranged for free child care once that need arises.

 

Another tough luck story whose end has yet to be written, but it is heartening to see that the social safety net for those in need is out there and it does work and Dover Share Fund is a key part of the process.

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July 2023 - This month, we get a glimpse of one man’s hardscrabble life. Residing in a boarding house and dependent on temporary day-laborer gigs as the sole source of income makes daily existence a constant struggle. No job security, no benefits, no extras, no dreams of that vacation away somewhere.

With rent claiming a large chunk of his take-home pay, it’s tough to stay afloat even in good times. Then the jobs stopped coming, and the bills piled up.

 

Facing eviction, he turned to Dover Welfare and the Dover Share Fund for help. Dover Welfare came through to cover the current rent, while the Dover Share Fund, assisted by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Thomas W. Hass Fund, contributed payment towards the months of accumulated back rent.

 

With a turn of luck, he landed a job with an opportunity for full-time employment, which allowed him to negotiate a pay-back schedule with an understanding landlord to catch up on the back rent. Now he is back on track with fingers crossed, hoping for a steadier ride on the road ahead.

June 2023 - Alone, homeless, disabled, and then a victim: this elderly Dover woman came to the Welfare office after her backpack was stolen, losing her phone, ID, documents, and remaining cash from her last Social Security Disability check.

 

In addition to Dover Welfare, CAP Homeless Outreach and the Bureau of Elderly Adult Services together provided assistance for temporary housing in a local hotel and ensured her nutritional and medical needs would be met.

 

None of these organizations, however, were able to cover one particular item that had her very concerned: it seemed she had managed to save some remnants from her prior life and was paying rent for a storage unit where they were safeguarded. If these were lost, many long-held memories would be lost with them, along with some small measure of hope that holding onto these possessions meant things were not at an end and there would still be hope for the future.

 

The DSF was able to step up and cover this cost, so this worry was eased, at least for now. There remains a long, tough road ahead for this woman.

May 2023 - This self-employed Dad with three children tried his best to hold things together while going through an acrimonious divorce and custody dispute. Situated in a new apartment in a neighboring town and charged with full custody of one child, and financial support of all three, things became increasingly difficult to manage.

 

A need for private transport of the kids to their existing school system (with public transport not an option) resulted in a severe restriction of his ability to secure the contractual commitments necessary for his work as a tradesman. The resulting loss of income left him unable to cover the cost of his utilities and his rent. Faced with a shut off of utilities and looming eviction, he reached out to Dover Welfare for help.

 

Dover Welfare granted enough aid to prevent the electric service from being disconnected and funds to cover the June rent bill. Dover Share Fund provided funds for gas utilities and assistance in establishing a catch-up payment plan with the utility company.

 

With the school year over, he can now concentrate on pursuing his trade full time to reestablish the income needed to keep afloat.

 

Dover Share Fund teaming up with Dover Welfare were able to keep this fractured family safely housed and hopefully have helped them through a temporary rough spot.

April 2023 - This month we profile a U.S. Marine Veteran who finds himself one of the many caught up in a statewide housing crisis.

 

This Vet suffers from multiple medical conditions resulting from the water contamination he was exposed to during his time at Camp Lejeune. This has caused him to be hospitalized, and has left him disabled and unable to work. The Social Security check he receives each month is not enough to cover his rent and basic living expenses.

 

After medical bills, prescriptions, food, laundry, cell phones, buses, and Ubers (he does not have a car), there’s not enough remaining to pay his full rental bill at the end of the month. He has been kept afloat by Community Action Partnership (CAP) via the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, but when that program terminated in December 2022, he lost his safety net.

 

The Dover Share Fund, along with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, paid his February rent, and the Dover Welfare Office paid his March and April rent.

 

He has been referred to a caseworker at Veterans Inc.

March 2023 - Of the many reasons that have led clients to our doors, this one is particularly heartbreaking. A woman pursuing a successful teaching career was assaulted, beaten, and robbed, resulting in severe and lasting impacts on her mental and physical health.

 

More than two years after the assault and with more than six attempts at restarting her career, she found herself just unable to hold onto a job. She applied for public assistance with the Dover welfare office and is currently receiving counseling at a community health center.

Along the way, she fell behind on her rent and utility bills. The Dover Share Fund picked up the portion of her back rent not covered by the welfare office, and will pay her electric bill in full.

 

With these helping hands, it is hopeful she can move forward in her life and find suitable and lasting employment.

February 2023 - It is a reflection of these times that someone dedicated to a career providing care to other people’s children should find herself unable to effectively provide financial support for her own three kids. That is the case with this mom, highlighted in this client profile, who is faced with the choice of paying rent or the electric bill on her apartment. She chose to pay the rent and let the electric bill slide, stretching funds out to the point of receiving a shut-off notice from her utility company.

 

After reaching out to the welfare department, she was granted a rental subsidy plus a referral to the Dover Share Fund for additional financial support. The caseworker from DSF arranged for this woman to be enrolled in The New Start Program with Eversource. Candidates who qualify for this program agree to pay a monthly payment set by Eversource (generally an average of their regular monthly bills) on time for 12 months, and in return, the customer's past balance will be forgiven.

 

On this mom’s behalf, the DSF made the first monthly payment for the New Start Program, and with her continued hard work, this client will be on her way to providing a secure household for herself and her three children.

January 2023 - It’s one thing to live paycheck to paycheck, but imagine living on an income of just $995/month from Social Security with zero in savings and zero in other income. Dover Share Fund, due in part to a generous grant by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, was able to assist an elderly woman living alone in a mobile home park in Dover who was badly in need of extensive dental care that she had no means to pay for.

 

This woman was referred to The Dover Share Fund by Dover Welfare, and the DSF case worker was able to work with a very understanding dentist to negotiate a low monthly payment of $100 towards payment of the $2400 dental expense, with the DSF award covering the next 10 months of payments. She was also connected to the NH Federal Credit Union for free financial coaching that will provide some education towards helping her manage her expenses.

 

This woman, in her seventies, with little help coming from family, has been forced to seek every bit of public assistance available to her. Since she is a fighter, she has succeeded in gaining access to food stamps and fuel subsidies, utilizes food pantries in the area, and is receiving some assistance from her church. Even with all this help, it is a day-to-day existence since none of the public programs cover dental bills or things like her auto insurance bill, her current challenge.

December 2022 - This highlight is a good example of a family just scraping by due to misfortune of circumstance combined with a lack of awareness of assistance available to them through the local welfare system.

 

Luckily, a good friend referred them to the Dover Share Fund, and a case worker responded, finding the family consisted of a middle-aged man disabled due to a stroke, his fiancé unable to work after being laid up in an accident in April, and a 10-year-old son. The family’s only income was a small disability benefit from Social Security that barely covered rent and utilities.

 

With Christmas approaching and no extra funds to spare, their request to Dover Share Fund was for assistance with Christmas gifts for their son.

 

The Dover Share Fund case worker was able to connect the family with Toys for Tots, providing some toys and a new pair of boots for the boy, and then proceeded to directly purchase additional gifts for the son and the fiancé, plus some needed clothing for the dad. For on-going assistance, the family was referred to the Dover welfare office and is in the process of completing the required paperwork to begin the process of obtaining additional monthly support.

 

This was outstanding work by the case worker, who not only saved this family’s Christmas but helped set them on a sustainable path going forward.

November 2022 - Dover Share Fund, in partnership with Harbor Care, teamed up to help a US Army Veteran move out of the woods and into an apartment. Harbor Care is a non-profit organization in New Hampshire that provides low-income residents with affordable healthcare, housing, and Veteran services. They secured an apartment and covered his rent payment through the end of the year, and will also be paying for half of his monthly rent for the next two years.

 

This Vet had zero household belongings, so he came to DSF seeking help securing a bed and a few necessary household items. The Share Fund was able to purchase a mattress, box spring, and frame from Ross Furniture at a good discount, along with a mattress cover and pad, and a pillow and cover. In addition, in coordination with the First Parish Church Thrift Shop and some private donations, DSF was able to provide him with furniture, household items, and clothing. He is now registered for both food stamps and SSI and will be receiving a Social Security disability check each month that will cover his rent and utilities.

 

This is one very happy man whose life has been dramatically changed and who will be spending the Holidays and beyond in his own secure, warm, and safe place. He is very grateful for all the help he has received.

October 2022 - A Dover woman, single and providing for three children, was struggling to survive on the salary of a full-time retail worker. With expenses increasing faster than income, she was forced to choose which bills to pay and which to leave aside for a while.

 

She fell behind on her utility bills, but managed to keep the electric bills current, assisted by a special payment plan from the electric company. There was little room left for the gas heating bill, and due to continuous non-payment, the gas company terminated service but offered a minimum payment plan for restitution of service. She tried but was still unable to meet the minimum payments, and with the weather turning colder, she finally turned to the Dover Share Fund for help.

 

The Dover Share Fund provided the needed $563.00 to bring her account current, and her heat was turned back on. With financial coaching now being provided to her by the New Hampshire Federal Credit Union, she is on track to meet the monthly minimum payments and is looking forward to a warm home for the Holidays.

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