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November 20. 2013 12:43AM

Cogswell trust donates $75k 
to homeless family shelter

MANCHESTERHomeless families will benefit from a $75,000 grant from a trust set up by a Manchester man who made a fortune in the city's shoe factories nearly a century ago.

The grant from the Cogswell Benevolent Trust is earmarked for building a larger $2.2 million shelter for homeless families.

"Our hope and our goal is to start construction in early summer," said Michele Talwani, director of economic development and marketing for Families in Transition, a provider of homeless 
services in Manchester, Concord and Dover.

The new shelter on Lake Avenue will house up to 12 familieswhen it opens in late fall or early winter next year.

"This is going to be specifically designed to house homeless families in a very safe way in a short period of time," Talwani said. "Each family would have their own locked bedroom and bathroom and shared communal space."

Maureen Beauregard, the founder and president of Families in Transition, said the new shelter will help meet the demand
 
"The current emergency family shelter in Manchester is held in a triplex home built many years ago for three families, not the seven that currently reside there each night."

The organization has raised $155,000 through grants and donations. The Community Development Finance Authority is providing $500,000 in tax credits. According to the authority's website, the "tax credit may be applied against the New Hampshire business profits tax, business enterprise tax and/or the insurance premium tax. The donation also may be eligible for treatment as a state and federal charitable contribution. In most cases, businesses only pay about 11 cents on the dollar for their contribution."

"It's a great way to leverage a business donation," Talwani said.

Full service facility
The shelter will partner with the New Hampshire Food Bank to provide healthy meals. The homeless also will be able to get free access to health care through a program with Catholic Medical Center, she said.

"It's really a one-stop shop for families to get established and move on to more longer-term housing," Talwani said.

The Cogswell Benevolent Trust is a Manchester-based trust tied to the city's once-thriving shoe business.

According to the trust's website, Manchester resident Leander A. Cogswell, a Henniker native, spent most of his life in the city shoe business.

His engineering foreman, Elmer Nichols, invented a tool used for trimming leather to a uniform thickness. The two men combined to promote the tool's productive use, leasing it to other shoe factories.

After Nichols died, Cogswell purchased the patent from his friend's widow. Cogswell died in 1928 and a trust in his name was established the following year.

mcousineau@unionleader.com

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