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Neighbor-To-Neighbor Fund
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Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund
Help a local family in need!

Recognizing the need to assist Sterling families during difficult economic times, the Neighbor-to-Neighbor fund was established by a generous contribution from Kevin and Marilyn Beaupre.  This fund is intended to assist Sterling family recipients with payments towards housing, groceries, utilities, clothing and other essential living costs.

"It is our sincere hope that this fund will take root and grow through the generosity of others in the Sterling community.  While the Town of Sterling will assist the fund by accepting donations and distributing payments, no town monetary resources will be allocated." Kevin and Marilyn Beaupre

Qualifying Criteria for Recipient(s)
Confirmation of the recipient(s) qualifications under these criteria must be confirmed by one Selectman and the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative (as defined below) prior to the disbursement of any relief:

1.
These funds are intended for the benefit of established families/households with a physical address in the Town of Sterling, MA.  A family/household is considered to be established by demonstrating payment of real estate taxes to the Town or rent fees on a Town residence, either of which is the only residence of the family for a minimum of one year (12 months).
2.
For the purposes of this fund, a resident family shall be defined at the discretion of the Select Board and Finance Committee representative to be a group of people of various ages sharing a single residence, whether or not they are directly related by kinship, marriage, or other arrangement, but who collectively share the responsibilities of managing/maintaining a residence.
3.
This fund is intended to give people a hand-up not a hand-out.  A resident family may only receive relief from this fund twice and at least six months must separate the two disbursements.  This lifetime limit is two-times the current individual disbursement limit. Currently, the lifetime limit is $2,400.
4.
No single disbursement to a resident family shall exceed the individual disbursement limit.  Currently, the single disbursement limit is $1,200.
5.
Funds will be disbursed at the discretion of the Select Board upon the recommendation from the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative based on the resident family being "qualified".  Funds will be disbursed directly to qualified creditors having a legal business operating in the Commonwealth and not to any members of the resident family.  Funds must be used for the payment of, but not limited to: debts/bills such as housing (rent/mortgage), groceries, utilities and clothing.  Funds shall not be used for the payment of debts/bills such as gambling, entertainment, debts to individuals (non-qualified creditors) and other "non-essential" living costs.
6.
If necessary to preserve the anonymity of the recipient(s), a representative/sponsor may forward the name of someone seeking debt relief from the fund. In all cases, these qualifying criteria will be confirmed directly by a Selectman and the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative prior to disbursement of funds.

Fund Management and Growth
Section 1.

1.
The Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee shall appoint a Neighbor to Neighbor Representative who shall monitor the account funds, investigate applicants' status of need, and disburse funds accordingly.  It is not necessary for the Board of Selectmen and the Finance committee to meet jointly in order to deliberate.
2.
If a time shall arise where there is a vacancy within the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative position, the Finance Committee shall appoint a Finance Committee member to temporarily fulfill the role and all of its duties until such a time, when a joint appointment can be made.
3.
The Neighbor to Neighbor Representative shall be appointed on an annual basis.
4.
The Board of Selectmen will annually appoint a Selectman to serve as the Neighbor to Neighbor Liaison.  This person shall work in conjunction with the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative.
5.
Prior to any release of Neighbor to Neighbor funds the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative or the Board of Selectmen Liaison must get authorization from the Board of Selectmen.
6.
The Board of Selectmen Executive Assistant shall be the initial point of contact for applicants.  This person shall receive Neighbor to Neighbor donations and applications.  Donations will be forwarded to the Town Treasurer.  The Board of Selectmen Executive Assistant shall disperse all applications, initially submitted letters, and financial documents to the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative.
7.
The Neighbor to Neighbor Fund policy can be modified, updated or changed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Selectmen at any scheduled board of Selectmen's meeting.
Section 2.

1.
The Town Treasurer shall keep a permanent written record of all disbursements made from this fund.  Prior to authorizing a disbursement, the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative shall confirm the qualifications of their recipient with respect to criteria 3 and 4 with the Treasurer.  The Neighbor to Neighbor Representative shall also define the recipient family name for purposes of criteria 3 and 4 prior to authorizing any disbursement.
2.
The Fund will maintain a minimum balance of $1,000 at all times.  In the event that the fund becomes eligible for interest bearing status of $10,000 or more, the Neighbor to Neighbor Representative in conjunction with the Finance Committee or their liaison shall consult the Town Treasurer to invest 50% of the fund balance in an insured, interest generating account as to allow for growth.  Upon reaching an investment conclusion, the aforementioned parties will present their findings to the Board of Selectmen for approval.
3.
At their discretion, the Select Board and the Finance Committee, with advice from the Town Treasurer, may alter the frequency of, and individual disbursement limits, depending on the availability of funds.  At no time shall the number of disbursements to a resident family exceed two.
4.
Moving forward and to ensure the most effective and fair disbursement of this fund to those in need, the Qualification Criteria may be altered by a majority vote of the Select Board and a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Finance Committee.  The voting to occur at open public meetings of either group, but not requiring a single/common meeting of both groups.

How to Donate
Donations for the Sterling Neighbor-to-Neighbor fund can be accepted in the Treasurer/Collector's Office or the Office of the Select Board.  Please make all checks payable to Sterling Neighbor-to-Neighbor.  If the Town Offices are closed, you can leave your donation in the drop-box in front of the Butterick Building, along with a note indicating that it is a donation to the fund. (No cash in the drop-box, please!)  

Please mail your check, written to Sterling Neighbor-to-Neighbor, to
Sterling Neighbor-to-Neighbor
c/o Town of Sterling
Office of the Treasurer/Collector
1 Park Street
Sterling, MA 01564

How to Apply
Sterling residents who wish to apply for assistance through the Sterling Neighbor-to-Neighbor should contact the Board of Selectmen Executive Assistant.

Policy amended at Sterling Board of Selectmen's Meeting of June 4, 2013

 
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