Continuum of Care denies city request to be lead agency, cites ‘concern’ over affordable housing efforts

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Manchester Continuum of Care Chairman Matthew McCall, seated second from right, during a 2023 MCoC meeting. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – Last Friday, the Manchester Continuum of Care (MCoC) announced that it voted unanimously not to accept the city’s application to become the MCoC collaborative applicant.

Under U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, a collaborative applicant is the lead organization responsible for various tasks on behalf of a Continuum of Care, including general coordination, oversight, and planning efforts of the MCoC for the purpose of submission of the funding application. The collaborative applicant has authority by the MCoC to certify and submit the annual HUD homeless assistance funding application on behalf of the MCoC.

Several departments of the city government are already members of the MCoC, an alliance of organizations in the Manchester area tasked with addressing systems of care for the homeless or those in danger of becoming homeless.

Mayor Jay Ruais had indicated his desire in recent months for the city to serve as the lead agency for MCoC to better coordinate efforts to address homelessness in the city.

“The Continuum of Care (CoC) is a critical entity in our city with a mission of preventing and ending homelessness. It is imperative that we have a broad and inclusive city-wide response, breaking down the siloes so that no one falls through the cracks. Which is why on January 17th, I released a list of 15 additional community partners I asked to serve on the CoC to join our efforts to break the cycle of homelessness in the City of Manchester. I look forward to working with the CoC to advance our mutual goal of ending homelessness,” Ruais said in a statement to Manchester Ink Link on Wednesday.

The notice of decision letter released on Friday by the MCoC Leadership Committee cited concern regarding the impending release of HUD Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) being released soon, making it ill-advised to switch from their current collaborative applicant, Families in Transition.

The notice of decision also expressed “concerns” regarding the city’s direction with affordable housing for the city’s homeless community, however it also indicated a desire for the MCoC and the city to continue working closely and increase communication regarding certain strategic initiatives and evaluation processes.

MCoC Chair Matthew McCall released the following statement regarding the decision.

The Continuum of Care weighed several factors, including the utilization of HUD consultants in deciding not to move forward with a new entity for the collaborative applicant role. The MCoC leadership committee believes it is critical to continue to focus on system improvements, data collection and working collaboratively with the city to support the best outcomes for those who are unhoused.  

We have offered the city an opportunity to meet with the CoC to discuss the decision and the reasons for that decision. We very much look forward to furthering our discussions with the city, despite the decision. Our focus will be to explore ways to work collaboratively with the city to help end homelessness in Manchester. We are grateful to Families in Transition for continuing to remain as our collaborative applicant lead.


 

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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.