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Life-threatening cold weather predicted, Warming Center to open 1/28

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The Emergency Management Directors of Dover, Rochester, and Somersworth are activating the Strafford County Extreme Cold Weather Warming Center beginning tomorrow night, Thursday, Jan. 28. The warming center will remain open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night, through the morning of Monday, Feb. 1.

The directors made the decision to activate the warming center due to a forecast of extended, life-threatening cold temperatures beginning Thursday that will likely diminish the availability of existing shelter space.

The warming center is located at 30 Willand Drive in Somersworth. Partners and municipalities are asked to help transport at-risk or unsheltered clients to the warming center when possible. COAST Bus has agreed to transport anyone on their way to the warming center to the closest bus stops at no cost. Please note: COAST Bus does not operate on Sunday. During this activation, the warming center will be unable to transport clients to or from the center.

Those seeking to warm up may arrive anytime between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. during the activation period. Referrals or reservations are not required. COVID-19 coronavirus precautions are in place, including hand hygiene, social distancing, and required masking. Cots are available at the warming center; however, no meals will be provided.

If you need help:

Those in need of assistance with basic emergency needs should contact the welfare departments of their respective communities.

Dover: The Public Welfare department is located at the McConnell Center, 61 Locust St. in Dover. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (603) 516-6500. For those who need assistance after hours, call Police Dispatch at 742-4646.

Somersworth: The Welfare / Human Services department is located at City Hall, 1 Government Way in Somersworth. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (603) 692-9509.

Rochester: The Municipal Welfare Department is located at City Hall, 31 Wakefield St., in Rochester. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (603) 332-3505.

New Hampshire residents may also dial 211 in the state anytime, day or night, to help locate critical resources.

About the Strafford County Extreme Cold Weather Warming Center:

The warming center is a partnership of the cities of Dover, Somersworth, and Rochester to establish an alternative location for a regional warming center to accommodate social distancing and other challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Dover purchased the property and equipment for the warming center in December through a New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority grant made possible by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Strafford County is providing grant monies to help cover the cost of staffing the warming center during life-threatening weather conditions.

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