2024 Legislative Breakfast

Invitation 2024 Leg Breakfast ADVOCACY

Our Call to Action

Basic needs, like housing, transportation and access to health care are imperative to the health and wellbeing of our communities. In Strafford County, these basic needs go unmet for some of our most vulnerable populations, oftentimes due to the cost burden.

Without transportation, individuals struggle to work, creating further barriers to accessing essential resources like healthcare.

The dismal housing landscape in our state is not only creating a cost burden on citizens, it is creating workforce challenges across sectors – affecting our ability to provide timely services like mental health care to our populations.

Unmet basic needs and unstable living conditions can exacerbate behavioral health issues like mental health and substance use disorders. Limited access to mental health care, substance use treatment, and wraparound services perpetuates a cycle of crisis, trapping some Granite Staters in a web of challenges that have increasingly high barriers.

We can break down these barriers to wellness by advocating for comprehensive solutions, prioritizing funding streams and supporting evidence-based interventions that meet the diverse and complex needs of our communities. By joining us today, and by continuing to support these improvements across our communities, you are helping to ensure that the needs of individuals and families in Strafford County and across the Granite State are reflected throughout the decision making process.

Areas of Focus

The information in this section provides background information on the three priority topics highlighted at our Legislative Breakfast; Housing, Access to Mental and Behavioral Healthcare, including that for Substance Use Disorder, and Transportation.

As you review the information here, and reflect on the stories shared by our panel and speakers, please keep these facts in mind.

Download the Handout for our Areas of Focus here

Current Legislation

The pieces of legislation in this list section relate to the three priority topics from our Legislative Breakfast. As you consider these bills, and others like them, we ask that you keep in mind the information referenced on this page, and the stories our panelists and speakers shared.

Download the Handout of 2024 Legislative Bills Here

Meet Our Speakers

Allison Burridge | Assistant Director of Housing Initiatives, Granite United Way

For a decade, Allie worked in Portsmouth and lived in the Seacoast area. In 2020, she joined Alliance Asset Management in Dover as an Occupancy Specialist, handling housing applications and assisting with property management. Despite challenging market conditions in 2022, she earned her real estate license, specializing in first-time homebuyers. By October 2023, she joined Granite United Way as Asst. Director of Housing Initiatives, where she oversees the Affordable Housing Incentive Program, aiming to break barriers for Housing Choice Voucher tenants and promote equitable housing opportunities throughout New Hampshire.

Justin Holsapple | Account Manager, Working Fields & Program Director, The Freeman House Sober Living

Justin Holsapple is the Account Manager for Working Fields. Which is a mission driven Staffing Agency with a new office located in Dover NH. He joined them 6 months ago after 3 years as a case manager for Turning Point. Additionally, Justin is The Program Director of the Freemen House Sober living for men and women, with 6 homes in Strafford county. He has been with the Freemen organization for 5 years, first as a resident then as a house leader before becoming the Program Director 2.5 years ago.  Justin is a person in long term recovery and has his CRSW.

Katherine Michaud | Behavioral Health & Matter of Balance Coordinator, Cornerstone VNA

Katie joined Cornerstone VNA in 2013 and is the Behavioral Health and Matter of Balance Coordinator. She graduated with her Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of NE in 2009. Katie leads the Behavioral Health Team at Cornerstone VNA and is an advocate for mental health education, resources, and support. At the community level, Katie shares her knowledge and expertise by providing mental health presentations through Cornerstone VNA’s Educational Series. At Cornerstone VNA, she leads Mental Health First Aid Trainings for the staff to ensure that patients and their families have the support they need. She also provides special presentations during staff meetings to promote mental health awareness.

Rad Nichols | Executive Director, COAST

Mr. Nichols has been the Executive Director of COAST since 2007, being named following the passing of the previous Executive Director, Steven Wells. Mr. Nichols began his public transit career at COAST in 1993 as the Assistant Executive Director. He left the organization in 1996 but returned in 1999 as the Program Manager. In 2001, as COAST assumed the day-to-day management and operation of its system, he was promoted to become the Manager of Operations & Planning. From 1996 through 1998, he was the Operations Analyst at the MBTA Advisory Board, the only public oversight body for the Boston-based MBTA. In 1998, he was the Senior Mass Transit Planner at the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in Haverhill, MA.

Phil Sletten| Research Director, New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute

Phil is the Research Director at the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, where he has worked for more than seven years. He conducts research and analysis related to the State Budget, State revenues and expenditures, the economy, and the economic security of Granite Staters, with a focus on residents with low and moderate incomes. Born and raised in New Hampshire, Phil earned a Bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa and holds a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin. Before joining the team at NHFPI, he served for three years as a performance auditor for the New Hampshire Office of Legislative Budget Assistant


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