Those are some big numbers… but we also have some smaller numbers that are no less important…
- We distributed 307 holiday baskets during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, which allowed families to enjoy a meal with loved ones and feel the comfort of tradition without worrying about food insecurity.
- We provided local transportation to 72 seniors, enabling them to get around town to appointments and shopping, and providing a sense of autonomy that is crucial to a healthy mental outlook.
- Our weatherization program provided upgrades and necessary repairs to 104 individual homes, resulting in lower utility bills and a healthier indoor environment for 412 residents!
Support, Setbacks, and Success
In 2021, families faced a record number of financial challenges due to the pandemic, which led to the initiation of the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP). The goal of NHERAP was to provide stability for families who had lost a source of income during the pandemic. The program aimed to keep NH households in their homes by providing rent and utility subsidies, including past due and future rent. As one of NH’s community action agencies acting in conjunction with NHERAP, CAPSC received direct funding and was a key facilitator in the application process. To-date, statewide, these combined efforts provided $270M in assistance to over 25,000 households in all 10 NH counties.
However, in October 2022, NHERAP paused accepting new applications due to lack of funding at the federal level, and existing participants would be phased out through June 15, 2023.
As a non-profit that is dependent on federal and local funding, as well as private and corporate donations, we often have to pivot our efforts as resources shift, or at times, just disappear. The NHERAP setback told us that we needed to look elsewhere for ways to help Strafford County families find housing, a clear and present challenge considering the rising rental rates and a 0.5% vacancy rate in the state of New Hampshire (New Hampshire Statewide Housing Needs Assessment).
With this pause in the NHERAP program, we took a step back to observe our situation and decide on our next steps. We made the observation that families kept in their homes during very challenging financial times were more in need of our services. Simply put, more families were coming to CAPSC, were more aware of our full program offering, and were taking full advantage of it. While a greater demand shows greater need, we were happy to be able to provide it to more people.
How did the community find out about CAPSC?
First, the statewide promotion and success of NHERAP helped thousands of new families discover CAPSC, get to our doors and our website, and get their housing applications in. Because of this, there is now more awareness of all of CAPSC programming throughout Strafford County, which has led to new partnerships. Through NHERAP, we developed strong relationships and communication with local vendors, landlords and hotel owners and we are continuing those partnerships beyond NHERAP, as well.