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Housing projects for mentally ill, low income on tap

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 30. 2014 9:21PM

MANCHESTER — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen tonight will weigh funding requests of nearly $1 million for two housing projects, one for low income people and the other for the mentally ill.

The board’s Committee on Community Improvement voted on Monday to support providing the funding through federal HOME grants overseen by the city’s planning office.

The Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority is seeking $300,000, after its loan request to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston was denied.

The total budget for the project is $4.3 million.

The city has already designated $400,000 in HOME funds for the work after it was approved a year ago. The project will consist of 20 apartments at 168 South Main St., on the West Side near the bank of the Piscataquog River.

The MHRA is partnering with the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester on the apartments, which will be geared toward people who have mental illness but do not require the level of supervision typical at a group home.

Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long said he wanted assurance that there would be “some supervision” at the building.Patricia Carty, community support services director for the Mental Health Center, said the level of supervision would vary depending on the individual. “Some might occur during the day or the night,” she said. “Generally, we wouldn’t provide functional support services.”

Asked how far the building would go toward meeting demand for housing for the mentally ill, Carty said, “We have 1,500 clients who are the most at risk, and we currently have 50 beds that are subsidized.”

The other request for HOME funds came from Families in Transition, which is seeking $500,000 to convert a vacant building at 393 Spruce St. into three two-bedroom apartments for low-income families.

“The building is ... in a particularly depressed neighborhood known as the Hollow,” a FIT representative noted in a letter to the committee.

“It is anticipated that this project, along with a proposed adjacent Community Garden and Learning Center, will serve as an anchor in this neighborhood and will spur additional revitalization efforts,” the letter continued.

The committee voted to back the request without discussion.

Both requests were referred to the full board of aldermen, which is to vote on them at its meeting this evening.

Politics Manchester

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