The Hippo

HOME| ADVERTISING| CONTACT US|

 
Nov 14, 2018







NEWS & FEATURES

POLITICAL

FOOD & DRINK

ARTS

MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE

POP CULTURE



BEST OF
CLASSIFIEDS
ADVERTISING
CONTACT US
PAST ISSUES
ABOUT US
MOBILE UPDATES
LIST MY CALENDAR ITEM


The new Family Place Shelter will serve as an emergency shelter and a comprehensive research center.




Family matters
Working toward shelter for homeless families

01/23/14



For Manchester families transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing, the options for temporary living are slim. They can double up on friends’ couches, or they can try to land a room at Manchester Emergency Housing, the city’s only homeless shelter that admits families. But MEH has room for only seven families and it’s full 100 percent of the time, so families are often turned away. 
That’s why it’s crucial to build and open Family Place Shelter, said Michele Talwani, director of economic development and marketing at Families in Transition, located in Manchester, Concord and Dover. It’s a new emergency shelter specifically designed for families in transition, which is the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population. New Hampshire Housing’s Board of Directors recently approved $750,000 in funding toward the new facility. 
“It will be a larger, more comprehensive facility. It will not just be a place where people can lay their heads. It will be a resource facility,” Talwani said.
The length of time people spend living at the shelter will determine how many people can be serviced, said Jane Law, director of communications at New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.  
She said the shelter will offer 12 single-occupancy rooms with private bathrooms. Often shelters have communal bathrooms and sleeping spaces.
“Basically you have no private space,” Law said. “So you’ve got no space to put your stuff that’s private, no space to lock it up, because that space is not yours.” 
In these situations, people must take their belongings with them when they leave the shelter or risk having them stolen. There’s also a safety concern for kids, Talwani said. 
“For [residents] to have access to their own locked bedroom as a family is the safest and best way to house them short-term until they can find longer-term housing,” she said. 
Successful transition into permanent rental housing usually means shelter residents have found rental assistance or a job that can support them. While any shelter is a step up from living in a car or on the streets, Talwani said the new shelter will provide more services to better help people make successful transitions out of the shelter.
Family Place will house a Head Start daycare program through Southern New Hampshire Services, Inc., a health clinic operated by Mobile Community Health Team, a food pantry with commercial kitchen and an intake center. 
A lack of affordable rental housing is a major player in driving up homelessness rates for families. 
During the recession, more homeowners were forced into the rental market as a result of foreclosures. The recession also stalled or halted the construction of new rental properties in the area. All this has driven vacancies down and rental rates up.  The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Manchester has increased 182 percent since 1995 from $573 to $1,041 per month, According to the 2013 New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority Survey. 
“New rental units have not kept pace with needs,” Talwani said. 
Funding for the new emergency shelter has come from a combination of private donors and $500,000 from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority’s tax credit program. Families in Transition is now in the process of selling those tax credits to businesses. 
“Our goal is to sell all tax credits and raise enough money to start construction in June,” Talwani said.
 
As seen in the January 23, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





®2018 Hippo Press. site by wedu