State suggests city erect $1 million tent in Armory parking lot and hotel vouchers for homeless

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NH National Guard Armory in Manchester. File photo

MANCHESTER, NH – On Monday night Mayor Joyce Craig shared with the Board of Aldermen an update following a meeting between city officials and state officials regarding the immediate need to set up an emergency shelter for sub-freezing temperatures as a matter of fatality prevention. This matter is expected to be discussed at the Nov. 17 Board of Aldermen meeting.

Highlights from the meeting were cited. The city for a third time since July requested use of the Armory as an emergency shelter, but was told the building was needed for National Guard training. The city then asked if the vacant section of the Sununu Center on River Road previously occupied by Granite Pathways could be used. The state said no because there are youths living in the juvenile detention center adjacent to that building.

The state asked if the city had considered placing a large climate-controlled tent in the parking lot of the Armory, and the city said they had looked into it but the cost quoted was around $1 million. The state also suggested providing hotel vouchers, as some other cities and towns are doing, but Families in Transition declined that offer because of liability costs or damages that would not be covered by the state.

The city also asked the state if there is funding available to purchase a building for the city to fit-up for 38 Housing First units and staff it, at an estimated cost of $6 million.

In the memo (see below) the next steps for the city and state are enumerated as follows:

  • The city will get back to the state with costs associated for manning an overnight warming station at a city-owned building, such as a school building or senior center
  • The city will finalize a plan for an emergency shelter and submit it to the state by Friday.
  • The state will determine if the city can use the Armory parking lot for a tent
  • The state will determine if a non-profit entity will accept liability for renting hotel rooms
  • The state will consider funding options for a Housing First project as suggested by the city.

A copy of the memo from Craig to the BOA is below:

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