[Hpn] Homelessness topic of forum

wtinker wtinker@fcgnetworks.net
Tue, 30 Jan 2001 10:24:57 -0500


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     /NEWS/LOCAL

     Homelessness topic of forum

      Tuesday, January 30, 2001

      By STEVE VARNUM
      Monitor staff


     CONCORD,N.H.


      There was little disagreement that what Sen. Sylvia Larsen called =
an
"immediate crisis in the streets of Concord" exists, but little =
agreement at
yesterday's public forum on homelessness and housing on what to do about =
it.

      About 100 people packed a room at Wesley United Methodist Church =
to
hear about the scope of homelessness in the city and a pair of proposals =
for
dealing with it. During the two-hour session they also heard Concord
officials defend city services and its policy of not supporting new
construction of affordable housing.

      If there was consensus, it was that homelessness follows the lack =
of
affordable housing, and that the state needs to help communities like
Concord that are magnets for needy people and families.

      "This affordable housing issue is a statewide issue. It is not an
issue just for the city of Concord," said Human Services Director Joan
Callahan.

      Larsen, a Concord Democrat and former city councilor, set the tone
when she pointed out that a person would have to make more than $16 an =
hour
to afford the median two-bedroom rent in Concord. Three-quarters of the =
jobs
in the state pay less than $14 an hour, she said.

      Rising rent prices have created a hardship for two-earner =
families,
and disaster for single parents, she said.

      Some of those single parents, most of whom are mothers, could be
served if the Manchester-based Families in Transition program opened a
branch in Concord. Founder Maureen Beauregard gave an overview of the
program, which houses single women or mothers and children for up to two
years, while providing life and job counseling and training.

      The 10-year-old program has been well-received in Manchester, she
said, and will expand from 24 to 44 housing units there this spring. =
Larsen
said if the program came to Concord, it would probably operate between =
10
and 15 apartments here.

      The Friends Program is also considering a pilot program that would
work with families at risk of losing their homes and help families =
coming
out of shelter programs find housing. When fully staffed and funded, it
might serve as many as 20 to 25 Concord-area families annually, said =
Friends
Executive Director Jim Doremus.

      That help may be needed soon. Real estate developer Steve Duprey
confirmed yesterday that the Brick Tower Motor Inn, where the city often
houses the homeless when shelters are full, is under agreement to be =
sold.
Duprey said he expects the sale to be finalized late this year.

      Callahan defended the services already available in Concord, =
pointing
out that the city has more transitional housing, more specialized =
shelters
and more food pantries than any other community in New Hampshire. She =
also
said Concord has two-thirds of the halfway houses for the state prison.

      Jody Wright, who was Merrimack County's homeless outreach worker
before going to work for the state last week, said those shelters still
don't cover the need. She said 138 people became homeless in Concord =
during
the first 23 days of the year, while shelter openings were rare because
people couldn't find apartments.

      Larry Singlais, the executive director of the Community Services
Council, said the creation of more affordable housing would have a =
ripple
effect of moving some people out of shelters and keeping others out of =
the
social service system altogether.

      City Manager Duncan Ballantyne responded to a woman's charge that
Concord's opposition to new affordable housing is "mean-spirited" by =
saying
the city's high percentage of assisted housing was unhealthy and unfair =
to
its taxpayers. He, too, called for the issue to be addressed on a =
countywide
basis.




(Steve Varnum can be reached at 224-5301, ext. 314, or by e-mail at
svarnum@cmonitor.com.)



      =A9 Concord Monitor and New Hampshire Patriot
      P.O. Box 1177, Concord NH 03302
      603-224-5301

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<DIV>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; =
/NEWS/LOCAL<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;=20
Homelessness topic of forum<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; =
Tuesday,=20
January 30, 2001<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; By STEVE=20
VARNUM<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Monitor staff<BR><BR><BR>&nbsp; =

&nbsp;&nbsp; CONCORD,N.H.<BR><BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; =
There was=20
little disagreement that what Sen. Sylvia Larsen called an<BR>"immediate =
crisis=20
in the streets of Concord" exists, but little agreement =
at<BR>yesterday's public=20
forum on homelessness and housing on what to do about=20
it.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; About 100 people packed a room =
at=20
Wesley United Methodist Church to<BR>hear about the scope of =
homelessness in the=20
city and a pair of proposals for<BR>dealing with it. During the two-hour =
session=20
they also heard Concord<BR>officials defend city services and its policy =
of not=20
supporting new<BR>construction of affordable=20
housing.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If there was consensus, =
it was=20
that homelessness follows the lack of<BR>affordable housing, and that =
the state=20
needs to help communities like<BR>Concord that are magnets for needy =
people and=20
families.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; "This affordable housing =
issue=20
is a statewide issue. It is not an<BR>issue just for the city of =
Concord," said=20
Human Services Director =
Joan<BR>Callahan.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;=20
Larsen, a Concord Democrat and former city councilor, set the =
tone<BR>when she=20
pointed out that a person would have to make more than $16 an hour<BR>to =
afford=20
the median two-bedroom rent in Concord. Three-quarters of the jobs<BR>in =
the=20
state pay less than $14 an hour, she =
said.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;=20
Rising rent prices have created a hardship for two-earner =
families,<BR>and=20
disaster for single parents, she =
said.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;=20
Some of those single parents, most of whom are mothers, could =
be<BR>served if=20
the Manchester-based Families in Transition program opened a<BR>branch =
in=20
Concord. Founder Maureen Beauregard gave an overview of the<BR>program, =
which=20
houses single women or mothers and children for up to two<BR>years, =
while=20
providing life and job counseling and=20
training.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The 10-year-old program =
has been=20
well-received in Manchester, she<BR>said, and will expand from 24 to 44 =
housing=20
units there this spring. Larsen<BR>said if the program came to Concord, =
it would=20
probably operate between 10<BR>and 15 apartments=20
here.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Friends Program is also=20
considering a pilot program that would<BR>work with families at risk of =
losing=20
their homes and help families coming<BR>out of shelter programs find =
housing.=20
When fully staffed and funded, it<BR>might serve as many as 20 to 25=20
Concord-area families annually, said Friends<BR>Executive Director Jim=20
Doremus.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That help may be needed =
soon.=20
Real estate developer Steve Duprey<BR>confirmed yesterday that the Brick =
Tower=20
Motor Inn, where the city often<BR>houses the homeless when shelters are =
full,=20
is under agreement to be sold.<BR>Duprey said he expects the sale to be=20
finalized late this year.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Callahan =

defended the services already available in Concord, pointing<BR>out that =
the=20
city has more transitional housing, more specialized shelters<BR>and =
more food=20
pantries than any other community in New Hampshire. She also<BR>said =
Concord has=20
two-thirds of the halfway houses for the state=20
prison.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Jody Wright, who was =
Merrimack=20
County's homeless outreach worker<BR>before going to work for the state =
last=20
week, said those shelters still<BR>don't cover the need. She said 138 =
people=20
became homeless in Concord during<BR>the first 23 days of the year, =
while=20
shelter openings were rare because<BR>people couldn't find=20
apartments.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Larry Singlais, the =
executive=20
director of the Community Services<BR>Council, said the creation of more =

affordable housing would have a ripple<BR>effect of moving some people =
out of=20
shelters and keeping others out of the<BR>social service system=20
altogether.<BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; City Manager Duncan =
Ballantyne=20
responded to a woman's charge that<BR>Concord's opposition to new =
affordable=20
housing is "mean-spirited" by saying<BR>the city's high percentage of =
assisted=20
housing was unhealthy and unfair to<BR>its taxpayers. He, too, called =
for the=20
issue to be addressed on a =
countywide<BR>basis.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>(Steve Varnum=20
can be reached at 224-5301, ext. 314, or by e-mail=20
at<BR>svarnum@cmonitor.com.)<BR><BR><BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp=
; =A9=20
Concord Monitor and New Hampshire =
Patriot<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; P.O.=20
Box 1177, Concord NH 03302<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;=20
603-224-5301</DIV></BODY></HTML>

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Homelessness topic of forum

Tuesday, January 30, = 2001

By STEVE VARNUM
Monitor staff


=

CONCORD

There was little disagreement that what Sen. Sylvia Larsen called an = "immediate crisis in the streets of Concord" exists, but little = agreement at yesterday's public forum on homelessness and housing on = what to do about it.

About 100 people packed a room at Wesley United Methodist Church to = hear about the scope of homelessness in the city and a pair of proposals = for dealing with it. During the two-hour session they also heard Concord = officials defend city services and its policy of not supporting new = construction of affordable housing.

If there was consensus, it was that homelessness follows the lack of = affordable housing, and that the state needs to help communities like = Concord that are magnets for needy people and families.

"This affordable housing issue is a statewide issue. It is not an issue = just for the city of Concord," said Human Services Director Joan = Callahan.

Larsen, a Concord Democrat and former city councilor, set the tone when = she pointed out that a person would have to make more than $16 an hour = to afford the median two-bedroom rent in Concord. Three-quarters of the = jobs in the state pay less than $14 an hour, she said.

Rising rent prices have created a hardship for two-earner families, and = disaster for single parents, she said.

Some of those single parents, most of whom are mothers, could be served = if the Manchester-based Families in Transition program opened a branch = in Concord. Founder Maureen Beauregard gave an overview of the program, = which houses single women or mothers and children for up to two years, = while providing life and job counseling and training.

The 10-year-old program has been well-received in Manchester, she said, = and will expand from 24 to 44 housing units there this spring. Larsen = said if the program came to Concord, it would probably operate between = 10 and 15 apartments here.

The Friends Program is also considering a pilot program that would work = with families at risk of losing their homes and help families coming out = of shelter programs find housing. When fully staffed and funded, it = might serve as many as 20 to 25 Concord-area families annually, said = Friends Executive Director Jim Doremus.

That help may be needed soon. Real estate developer Steve Duprey = confirmed yesterday that the Brick Tower Motor Inn, where the city often = houses the homeless when shelters are full, is under agreement to be = sold. Duprey said he expects the sale to be finalized late this year.

Callahan defended the services already available in Concord, pointing = out that the city has more transitional housing, more specialized = shelters and more food pantries than any other community in New = Hampshire. She also said Concord has two-thirds of the halfway houses = for the state prison.

Jody Wright, who was Merrimack County's homeless outreach worker before = going to work for the state last week, said those shelters still don't = cover the need. She said 138 people became homeless in Concord during = the first 23 days of the year, while shelter openings were rare because = people couldn't find apartments.

Larry Singlais, the executive director of the Community Services = Council, said the creation of more affordable housing would have a = ripple effect of moving some people out of shelters and keeping others = out of the social service system altogether.

City Manager Duncan Ballantyne responded to a woman's charge that = Concord's opposition to new affordable housing is "mean-spirited" by = saying the city's high percentage of assisted housing was unhealthy and = unfair to its taxpayers. He, too, called for the issue to be addressed = on a countywide basis.


(Steve Varnum can be reached at 224-5301, ext. 314, or by = e-mail at svarnum@cmonitor.com.)



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