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Manchester allocates $4.7 million for development of affordable housing

·2 min read

Jun. 15—City officials on Tuesday announced a Request for Proposals for $4,700,000 to develop affordable housing units in Manchester.

The announcement by Mayor Joyce Craig and the Department of Planning and Community Development represents an increase of $3.7 million in funding for affordable housing projects from the $1,037,611 originally allocated in the mayor's fiscal year 2022 budget.

Funds were made available through the federal HOME program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In a statement, Craig said the investment represents the most funding the city has allocated toward development of affordable housing since the HOME program's creation over 30 years ago.

"Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing Manchester residents. This significant investment puts people first while at the same time addresses the critical need in our community," said Craig. "These funds will allow us to focus on a 'Housing First' model to address homelessness, and make sure families, seniors on a fixed income and those with disabilities have access to safe, affordable housing that meets their needs."

Projects utilizing these funds will provide housing for individuals and families making between 30% and 80% of the Area Median Family Income, defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and require individuals not pay more than 30% of their annual income on total housing costs.

The funds may be used for the development of new affordable units or rehabilitation of existing units. In addition, proposals are encouraged, but not required, to include commercial space, market-rate residential units, public green space and public art.

All requests will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of the Director of the Planning and Community Development Department, the Director of Homeless Initiatives, and a representative from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen CIP Committee, who will then make recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for final approval.

Proposals are due by 3 p.m. on July 16, and must be submitted to the Department of Planning and Community Development in City Hall.

Parking lot development eyed

City officials have also clarified the Requests for Proposals (RFPs) issued to transform two city-owned downtown parking lots into mixed use, mixed-income housing developments. The "Pearl Street Lot," just behind Elm Street, and "Hartnett Lot," between Pine and Chestnut streets opposite St. Joseph Cathedral, are permit and public parking lots.

Both require that some units remain affordable, as defined by Housing and Urban Development, and that the number of affordable units provided be the most significant factor considered in the evaluation criteria.

According to the RFPs, submitted proposals must not result in a reduction of existing public parking spaces used by businesses and visitors to downtown Manchester, and must integrate with the community in an "architecturally pleasing and pedestrian friendly" way.