William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Fri, 12 Aug 2005 03:46:22 -0400

Homeless veterans housing planned

By TOM WEST, Telegraph Correspondent

Published: Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005

NASHUA – Harbor Homes Inc. is proposing to tear down a two-story warehouse
next to the post office and construct a 20-unit multifamily housing building
for homeless veterans and their families.

The project could be the first of its kind in the country, said a Harbor
Homes official.

The planning board will consider the project at its meeting tonight at City

According to a report prepared by Deputy Planning Manager Rick Sawyer,
qualified veterans would be able to reside in the facility for up to two
years. The three-story building would include 15 one-bedroom apartments and
five two-bedroom units.

“The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide housing and vocational
services to honorably discharged veterans, including those with long-term
mental illness and substance abuse problems, and their families,’’ the
report states.

“The project is designed partially to address the severe shortage of
affordable housing for Nashua’s low-income population in the densely
concentrated downtown region,’’ the report stated.

Officials say a recent survey indicated there are about 350 homeless
veterans living in New Hampshire, including 192 who live in this area.

Mary Auer, a development specialist with Harbor Homes, said Wednesday that
the agency is already considered a leader in providing services to veterans
and the proposed project could serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

“It may very well be a first in the United States,’’ she said. “We say, ‘If
there’s a need, let’s see if can fill it’ . . . and we saw there is a need,
not only for male veterans, but for females and families as well.’’

The site, at 46 Spring St., consists of two lots covering 20,374 square feet
in the mixed-use overlay district. The proposal is consistent with the city’s
master plan, Sawyer said.

“In particular, the construction of an attractive, modern facility in the
area will enhance and compliment the surrounding commercial and public
service uses, and will protect the values of surrounding commercial
properties,’’ he said.

The opportunity to create a residential use in unused property will
eliminate blight and disinvestment in the area, Sawyer argued.

“Because it addresses a specific need, it will have a positive long-term
social and economic impact on the inner city,” he said.

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