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Housing group proposes the construction of affordable units in Manchester

Gaby Lozada

With the need for more affordable housing in the state, Families in Transition, a local organization that fights homelessness, is exploring the possibility of building homes for people with low and middle incomes.

New Hampshire is suffering from a housing crisis, as therental vacancy rate slides down to 0.5%.

In an effort to address the housing shortage in Manchester, Families in Transition, an organization that provides services to people experiencing homelessness, is exploring the possibility of expanding its affordable housing footprint.

They are asking Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Alderman to consider a proposal to develop new housing units on two parcels of land they own, on Massabesic Street and Spruce Street.

The proposal is still in its early stages and waiting for approval. If it moves forward, Families in Transition Communications Director Kyle Chumas said the new housing would target people of lower and middle income backgrounds. In a memo from the Planning and Community Development Department, the city says the beneficiaries would have to earn up to 120% of the median income area.

Chumas says the organization already runs about 200 affordable housing units. Their goal is to continue adding new projects, like the 11-unit apartment building they opened earlier this May on Union Street.

The city acquired the land now being considered for development in 2012 with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Manchester received money to demolish dilapidated buildings and fix environmental hazards.

In 2016, the land was transferred to Families in Transition to build a community garden and a family learning center. Other public improvements, including a pond and walkways, were also planned.

The organization maintained the garden beds under a part-time garden manager's supervision, but after the COVID pandemic hit, those plans slowly dissolved.

Chumas says financial barriers have made it hard to continue to fund and support the original plans for those two parcels of land.

“We have had a lot of staffing problems,” he said.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.

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