No arrests will be made when the 50-60 individuals who have been staying at the Willand Pond homeless encampment will be told to leave by Somersworth police.

The encampment located on private property on the Somersworth/Dover border  is being emptied on Monday at the request of the property owner. Somersworth Police will clear out the camp and anyone on the property after Monday may face trespassing charges.

Somersworth Police Chief David Kretschmar told a meeting of the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County (CAPSC) that not even those who may have outstanding arrest warrants for low-level, non-violent misdemeanors and felonies will be arrested.

Instead, all will be directed to the Strafford County Extreme Weather Warming Center on Willand Road in Somersworth where CAPSC personnel will be available to direct people to the proper agency for assistance.

CAPSC estimates it provided services such as food, showers and laundry, referrals for medical care, substance use disorder help, and assistance with housing applications to about 32% of those staying at the camp.

The owner of the property, Garabedian Properties of Salem, NH plans to lease or sell the property. It has already placed a "for lease" sign on the property.

CAPSC is seeking donations from the community including:

  • Wagons to help people move their belongings to their destination
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tents
  • Gift cards to local restaurants or supermarkets for meals or other necessities
  • Gas cards for individuals with vehicles
  • Monetary donations that can be used to support services for those in need. To donate, visit the CAPSC website and designate a gift to the Willand Pond Emergency Fund at straffordcap.org/donate/

CAPSC is also seeking apartment owners who can accept or are willing to accept Section 8 housing vouchers to help connect encampment members with permanent housing.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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