New Hampshire

Concord City Council Approves Block Grants For 2 Nonprofit Buildings

CONCORD, NH — Two downtown buildings will be converted into spaces for nonprofits with the help of up to $1 million in community development block grants approved by Concord City Council Monday.

The two buildings — 6th S. State St. and 27 Warren St. — can access grant funding of up to $500,000 each, but serve two distinctly different purposes.

The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness has entered into a purchase option agreement with the South Congregational Church to purchase the South State Street building. The building between Wall Street and Pleasant Street was constructed in the late 1890s. The organization plans to convert the two-tenant commercial into eight one-bedroom apartments for “homeless people,” said Matt Walsh, the city’s deputy assistant urban development manager. A small office area and laundry room will also be incorporated into the project.

Development costs have been estimated at approximately $2.3 million – approximately $1.4 million of which will be used to convert the building into apartments. Along with the grant, the organization hopes to leverage the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority and federal funding for the project.

The Central New Hampshire Crisis Center recently entered into an option to purchase the Warren Street building.

“The property owner and Warren Street Architects are voluntarily vacating the property,” Walsh noted. “Therefore, no displacement or relocation problems are to be expected with this project.”

The approximately 3,800-square-foot 1890s building across from the Concord YMCA will enhance the center’s ability to serve its 1,500 low-to-moderate customers. While the renovation costs were unknown, they were estimated to be around $800,000. The organization also accesses other grants and bank financing for the project.

Walsh said the city secured about $357,000 in block grants about two years ago to help the center with other renovations. But this project never progressed. These funds were later forfeited by the city.

The city published calls for proposals in October 2022, Walsh said. About three dozen organizations requested the information. But only two, the coalition and the crisis center, submitted proposals.

The block grants are part of a federal program administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development through the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority.

Since the mid-1970s, the city has drawn more than $24 million in funds.

The council accepted five votes to approve the funding, including two votes on each block grant proposal, two resolutions re-accepting the city’s anti-eviction resettlement policy and declaration procedures in support of the motions for each proposal, and one resolution re-accepting housing construction and the Municipal development plan of the city. All five votes were unanimous, with some council members resigning due to direct or indirect links to the crisis center.

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