Aldermen table funding request for youth homeless center

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The proposed site of the facility at the corner of Hanover and Beech Streets.

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) voted 9-3 on Tuesday to table a request for just under $730,000 in Community Improvement Program (CIP) funding for a homeless youth services facility on Hanover Street.

The funding request would make up a significant portion of the funding needed for the facility (details below), being planned by Waypoint.

Several members of the board expressed concerns at what they saw as a lack of details, something noted during the BMA’s CIP Committee prior to coming to the full board.

Kevin Cavanaugh (Ward 1), one of the three votes against tabling the motion, felt that the urgency of Manchester’s homelessness problem required immediate action, but the consensus was that more information was needed, ranging from whether the property would be put to better use as affordable housing or if the city should exercise its right to purchase the property that it declined two years ago.

Manchester Director of Planning and Community Development Leon LeFreniere said that in regard to underwriting, it is common for underwriting efforts on projects such as this not to begin until the BMA has approved funding. He also noted that the CIP funding is tied in this case to federal funding from the CARES Act, which must be expended in 13 months.

Aldermen also had concerns over whether the services would go to individuals from Manchester or if it would draw individuals from around the state. Waypoint Director of Homeless Youth and Youth Adult Services Erin Kelly said that approximately 90 percent of the individuals they currently serve are from Manchester.

Pat Long (Ward 3) said that other methods could be used to ensure the services are going to Manchester individuals, although LeFreniere and City Solicitor Emily Rice warned that federal and state funding may have preconditions preventing the services from being limited to just Manchester residents.

Cavanaugh, Will Stewart (Ward 2) and Anthony Sapienza (Ward 5) were the votes in opposition, Keith Hirschmann (Ward 12) did not vote.

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About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com