MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) Committee on Community Improvement took up a pair of items on Monday related to homelessness in the city, tentatively recommending both items.
The first came from Families in Transition (FIT), with the committee recommending additional HOME Grant funding for the construction 11 permanent supportive housing units at 434 Union St., the building formerly known as Angie’s Place.
FIT’s request came due to unexpected increases in construction costs for the project, which seeks to build four one-bedroom units and seven studio apartments at the site for people in the city facing housing insecurity. Members of the committee were sympathetic to increasing construction costs, providing tentative support for now, but several members of the committee said they would not support the proposal at the full BMA meeting without additional information.
Anthony Sapienza (Ward 5), also said he would need input from Manchester’s new Director of Homelessness Initiatives, Schonna Green, prior to final support.
Due to incoming information from contractors, the exact amount needed was not immediately available, with an expected amount of approximately $190,000 per unit to be needed.
Chris Wellington, FIT’s Vice President of Housing Development and Operations told the committee that immediate action was needed a variety of criteria that must be met to keep construction on schedule to begin in September.
The committee also recommended up to $750,000 for a Waypoint housing development that would help young adults facing housing instability.
Waypoint requested just over $800,000 from the city of the approximately $1.2 million needed for the project, which would provide 18-20 emergency beds and three apartments for people aged 18-25 threatened with homelessness.
The facility will be located at the corner of Beech and Hanover Streets.
As with the FIT request, Dan O’Neill (At-Large) and Jim Roy (Ward 4) said that additional information regarding the request was needed for it to pass the full BMA in two weeks..
Bill Barry (Ward 10) also expanded upon a comment mentioned by Mayor Joyce Craig, asking that the beds and apartments be provided for Manchester residents.
“If we open up another shelter dealing with young adults aged 18-25, will that bring more people from outside of Manchester? We really need to take care of our own and I hope we focus on people already in the city,” he said.
Manchester Director of Planning and Community Development Leon LeFreniere said that the city can expect several million dollars to become available this year for projects such as these, ranging from existing HUD funding that must be expended such as the HOME Grants and ESG-CV Grants to American Rescue Plan funding that will become available later this year.