Making an Issue of Substandard Rental Housing

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Concord Street property with peeling lead paint.
Concord Street property with peeling lead paint.

Interesting documentation is included with the packet for the June 30 Public Safety Committee meeting, submitted by Granite State Organizing Project (click here for the agenda and scroll down to page 8.1)

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., third floor, City Hall.

This item was tabled from a previous meeting, but the report outlines several unsafe and unsatisfactory conditions at multiple rental properties in the cities, potentially affecting hundreds of Manchester residents.

"Repair" of a bathroom ceiling at 215 Wilson St.
\”Repair\” of a bathroom ceiling at 215 Wilson St.

According to the Executive Summary, compiled in May of 2014:

“The Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) is a grassroots coalition of groups working for economic justice in south central New Hampshire. The exploration of housing conditions began in 2008, when we began hearing concerns about poor housing conditions from our affiliated church congregations who were assisting resettled refugee families. Over a five-year period starting in 2009, GSOP staff and volunteers visited residents in the center city area of
Manchester, and documented their living conditions. We learned that those poor conditions were not limited to the refugee community. What we found were people living in substandard, unhealthy and sometimes dangerous conditions. The intent of this report is to bring attention to the conditions that we found. We examined public records at the City of Manchester Building Department, and the Tax Collector’s Office. We researched the dangers of exposure to lead, cockroaches, bedbugs, and rodents. We conducted tenant interviews and took pictures. We met with landlords, building code enforcement officers and elected officials to discuss the problems associated with
substandard housing conditions and possible solutions.”

Their recommendations include:

  • more stringent code enforcement
  • a review of City and State lead policies and enforcement
  • review of criteria for the issuance of a CoC
  • creation of an Office of Tenant Services
  • more resources for City code enforcement
  • establishment of a Manchester Housing Commission to study the deteriorating housing stock and make appropriate recommendations.

Take a moment to read through the report, and let your alderman know what you think about the proposed action items.

The report was authored by Susan Bruce, consultant to GSOP. The report was written in collaboration with Maggie Fogarty from the American Friends Service Committee, Rick Castillo from The Way Home, and Sarah Jane Knoy, GSOP Executive Director.

For more on GSOP, click here.

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About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!