Rotary Log for November 7, 2019
President Leo opened the meeting with the pledge of allegiance, song and invocation.  Guests and visiting Rotarians were introduced.  Leo said that Portsmouth Rotary will have a float in the city’s Christmas Parade. Volunteers are welcome to participate as well as walk in the parade.
Justin Finn thanked everyone who signed up for Christmas tree shifts….Marie Brownell reminded us about the golf tournament committee meeting….Joanie Dickenson announced her appreciation for those who signed up to assist the Interact group at their weekly meeting and Salvation Army suppers…We were reminded that more Thanksgiving turkey cookers are needed as well as kitchen help and clean up.
There were more announcements. Barbara Miller says the Cash committee is here to help fund projects with which individuals are involved….Bill Hurley needs volunteers to help pack a container with Crutches for Africa November 23….Josiah Babcock issued an open invitation for anyone to attend the Communication committee November 14 at 11 AM here.
Jonathan Flagg, in his Historical Moment, discussed the different Rotary Christmas ornaments through the years.  As this is the 25th anniversary of its inception, he called for unique and special suggestions for this year’s commemorative design.  Several ideas pit forth are, in fact, serious and pretty good.
Priscilla then introduced “Capt. Dan,” who with his troop of skier and snowboarders, has volunteered, unasked, at the last five Thanksgiving dinners.  He apologized that their schedule would not allow them to participate this year.  However, he rightly praised our efforts in the community and admitted that he knew very little about Rotary until five years ago.  He says he’s carried our message of community involvement with him since.
The 50/50 raffle was won by Tom Decker at $25.
Ramona Dow then introduced Lauren Wool of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast.  She graciously thanked us for our support, especially for their “Baby Shower” event and “Purses for a Purpose.”  She then enumerated the agency’s focus on areas of greatest need.  Two prominent ones are educational “K-ready Readers” and homelessness “Home for All” coalition.
Page Farmer, executive director of Home for All, then discussed the challenges her organization faces and the steps being taken to meet them.  Although the paucity of affordable housing is well known, the extent of the problem is daunting.  It was shocking to hear that approximately 800 students in Strafford and Rockingham counties experienced homelessness during a school year. 
Because there can be many causes for homelessness, solutions may involve several agencies with attendant fragmentation and repetition. The coalition is attempting to streamline the process, so clients aren’t filling out and signing multiple identical forms.  Education in the community is also paramount.  Home for All hopes to engage owners and landlords in allotting space for families with housing vouchers.  Understand that the waiting period to receive a voucher is one to three years!  
Important to the education of owners and landlords is making them aware of the services some agencies can provide. Between 500 and 700 evictions occur each year.  The coalition is working on identifying strategies for early intervention and preventing evictions.  
With current shelters routinely running at maximum capacity, this is a program we can all get behind.
Respectfully submitted, Albert Lantinen