Seeking money for efforts aimed at addressing homelessness in the Queen City, two Manchester nonprofits will go before an aldermanic committee on Monday.
Families in Transition/New Horizons (FIT/-NH) has submitted a request to the Aldermanic Committee on Community Improvement (CIP) asking for an unspecified amount of additional HOME Grant funds to cover construction cost increases associated with the renovation of Angie’s Place at 434 Union St.
In a separate request, Waypoint is asking for $1.1 million in CIP funds to pilot an emergency shelter for young adults (18-25) at 298 Hanover St.
The Aldermanic Committee on Community Improvement is scheduled to meet remotely Monday at 5:15 p.m.
In a letter to aldermen Chris Wellington, vice president of housing development & operations for FIT-NH, reports the most recent homeless count tallied 150 individuals on one night in Manchester, 16 of whom were documented as chronically homeless.
“Research shows that those living on the streets are extremely expensive to serve due to their frequent use of key public services including police and fire contacts, emergency room visits, mental health services and criminal justice engagement,” writes Wellington.
“Providing these individuals with permanent supportive housing not only leads to better outcomes, but in many instances is a cost-saving for the community. In order to ensure that those with the most significant needs are met, chronically homeless individuals will be prioritized for this housing, many coming directly from the streets or from the New Horizons shelter.”
Aldermen awarded FIT-NH $500,000 earlier this year to use toward the renovation of Angie’s Place, to provide 11 new permanent supportive housing units (four one-bedroom units and seven studio units) for homeless individuals in Manchester.
After the funding was approved, renovation work was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and FIT’s decision to use 434 Union St. as a quarantine location from March to September 2020, and a temporary emergency winter shelter from October 2020 to March 31, 2021.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the cost of construction materials has increased significantly and we expect that the current funding we have secured will not cover the increase in construction costs,” writes Wellington.
Wellington and FIT-NH officials were unsure of the exact amount they are requesting as of late last week, but asked that the item appear on Monday’s committee agenda to avoid further delaying the project. FIT-NH officials anticipate having a dollar amount in time for Monday’s meeting.
According to Wellington, the project is on track to begin construction by September 2021.
Waypoint has submitted a request for CIP funds to develop 8-10 crisis response beds to pilot an emergency shelter for those 18-25 at 298 Hanover St., with hopes to expand to 18-20 beds and three permanent housing units.
Waypoint also hopes to relocate its Youth Resource Center Drop-In to the same location to provide 24-hour services for youth and young adults, according to a memo to aldermen from Erin Kelly, director of homeless youth and young adult services for Waypoint.
According to Kelly, Waypoint has submitted a signed purchase and sales agreement for $325,000 for 298 Hanover St., and worked with Cornerstone PDC Construction to develop a preliminary renovation budget of $1.27 million.
Waypoint is requesting the CIP committee allocate $325,000 for building acquisition, $272,779 for construction of three studio permanent housing apartments on the second floor of the building, and $569,672 for construction of an emergency shelter for 18-20 crisis response beds for young adults.
“Waypoint understands that the city of Manchester may not be able to allocate funding to support this full amount, but this represents the true costs of these two projects,” Kelly wrote in her request to city officials.
The third piece of the project, relocating the Youth Resource Center Drop-In with a construction cost of $422,531, will be funded with “other resources,” Kelly wrote.
According to Waypoint, over 700 youth and young adults ages 13-25 experience homelessness each year in Manchester, with over 90% of those accessing services at Waypoint identifying the Queen City as their home community. In 2020, 30% of these young adults had spent the previous night sleeping in an adult emergency shelter, outside, in a vehicle, or “in a place not meant for human habitation,” according to Waypoint.