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Mayor Craig, City of Manchester Allocates $4.7 Million for Development of Affordable Housing

Published: 06/15/2021 10:07 AM

Utilizing Federal HOME funds, proposal represents a $3.7 million increase over original budget

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Department of Planning and Community Development announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $4,700,000 to develop new affordable housing units in the City of Manchester. These funds were made available through the federal HOME program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

This is a $3.7 million increase in funding for affordable housing projects from the $1,037,611 originally allocated in the Mayor’s FY22 budget. This investment represents the most funding the City has allocated toward the 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 Mayor Joyce 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/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 that these 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 3:00 P.M. on July 16th, 2021, and must be submitted to the Department of Planning and Community Development in City Hall. 

Download the full RFP

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Mayor Craig Announces New LGBTQ+ Friendly Initiatives in Manchester

Published: 06/03/2021 12:11 PM

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced new LGBTQ+ friendly initiatives in the City of Manchester, in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Every year, HRC releases a Municipal Equality Index (MEI), outlining LBGTQ-friendly policies in a community. 

Currently, Manchester falls in the middle of all rated New Hampshire cities. As a result, Mayor Craig and the Human Resources Department have worked to implement the following changes to help create more LGBTQ+ friendly policies and practices:

  • LGBTQ+ liaisons have been appointed in the Mayor’s Office and Manchester Police Department who will be important points of contact for LGBTQ+ issues.
  • The Office of Youth Services has designated a representative to continue to support transgender anti-discrimination policies and youth bullying prevention policy initiatives.
  • The City has established a Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Committee that aims to evaluate workforce dynamics within an inclusive framework that is founded on the ideal of social justice for all, and to help establish a culture that embraces unique perspectives and experiences of city government as well as those served.
  • The City is in the process of updating its procurement code ordinance procurement code which will strongly consider organizations with non-discrimination policies in awarding bids and contracts with the City.
  • The City’s Human Resources Department has added multiple LGBTQ+ organizations as contacts to distribute municipal job announcements.
  • Human Resources includes all new hires and current staff in diversity and cultural competence training to work towards eliminating prejudice among coworkers as well as towards the public.

“I’m proud to announce these changes during Pride Month. It is important for everyone to feel safe and welcomed in our city, especially our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors. These changes will make a big difference and are a great step toward helping Manchester become as LGBTQ+ friendly as possible,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.

“The MEI is a good tool to analyze current processes that the City of Manchester is doing right regarding excellent customer service to all, including the LGBTQ+ community, and assists the City in analyzing processes that the City can improve upon,” said Human Resources Director Kathy Ferguson.

For more information, visit the Municipal Equality Index webpage on the Human Rights Campaign’s website.

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City of Manchester To Begin Offering Free, Walk-In Vaccination Clinics

Published: 06/02/2021 3:46 PM

63 percent of eligible Manchester residents have registered for COVID-19 vaccination

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Manchester Health Department announced 63 percent of Manchester residents have registered for their COVID-19 vaccination, out of an estimated 98,000 eligible residents 12 years of age and older. 

There have been 52,644 residents who have received one or more doses and 40,637 who are considered fully vaccinated, as documented by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. This data does not include residents and staff who were vaccinated through federal programs, including anyone affiliated with the Department of Corrections, the VA Hospital and anyone affiliated with long term care facilities.

In addition, over the past seven days, the City of Manchester’s test positivity rate has decreased to 1.5%, lower than both the City of Nashua (2.8%) and the State of New Hampshire (1.8%).

 “The rapidly declining rates of COVID-19 in the City of Manchester is an encouraging sign,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Anyone twelve years of age and older is eligible to receive a vaccine, and I encourage everyone who is able to get vaccinated. The sooner more residents are vaccinated, the sooner we can ensure our entire community is healthy and safe.”

“Vaccination provides protection against severe illness and hospitalization related to COVID-19. This is especially critical for seniors and people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease,” said Anna Thomas, Public Health Director. “Vaccination may also decrease the risk of spreading the virus to others. Protect yourself and loved ones by getting a vaccine today.”

To continue this positive trend, the City of Manchester Health Department will be offering a free walk-in, vaccination clinic on Mondays (9:00am-11:00am) and Wednesdays (2:00pm-4:00pm) for people who are age 12 or older. Weekly clinic hours will begin on Wednesday, June 9th and no appointment is necessary. All three vaccine types will be available – Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson (while supplies last). The Health Department is located at 1528 Elm Street and is accessible by MTA bus transportation.

For questions or assistance finding a vaccine, residents can call the City’s COVID-19 Hotline at 603-668-1547 (Monday-Friday from 9:00am-3:00pm). Additional vaccination clinics are offered locally at pharmacies and supermarkets and can be found by visiting www.vaccines.gov.

Mayor Joyce Craig Announces Community Office Hours

Published: 05/19/2021 8:54 AM

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced she will host a series of community office hours throughout the city, beginning on Thursday, May 27.

“For the past three years, we’ve held community office hours in every ward of the city to make local government more transparent and accessible to residents,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Throughout the summer, we’ll be holding outdoor meetings to talk with residents about their concerns and ideas on how to continue to make our community a better place.”

Dates and times are weather-permitting and may be subject to change.

Thursday, May 27, 12pm - 1pm
Rock Rimmon Park, 264 Mason Street

Monday, June 21, 9am - 10am
Sheehan-Basquil Splash Pad, 297 Maple Street

Wednesday, July 14, 10:30am - 11:30am
Elmwood Gardens, 83 Trahan Street

Wednesday, July 21, 4pm - 5pm
Gossler Park Elementary School, 145 Park Side Avenue

Wednesday, August 18, 4pm - 5pm
Beech Street Elementary School, 333 Beech Street

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Mayor Joyce Craig Proposes Housing Commission to Lead Affordable Housing Initiatives

Published: 05/18/2021 10:40 AM

 Following through on recommendations made by the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force, Mayor Joyce Craig has proposed the creation of an Housing Commission within the City of Manchester.

The Affordable Housing Taskforce was made up of community stakeholders from all aspects of housing, including private developers, finance authorities, non-profit leaders, and city staff. In their final report released last month, they recommended the creation of a Housing Commission through RSA 674:44-h in order to follow through on their recommendations, and to continue to support the housing needs of Manchester moving forward.

“The Housing Commission will work with City departments and boards to ensure we’re doing everything we can to plan for the future while meeting the current housing needs of our city. Through this commission, the City of Manchester will continue to engage members of our community in finding innovative solutions to the rising cost of housing,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.

This Housing Commission, once established by ordinance, would be responsible for following up on the many recommendations made by the Affordable Housing Task Force, and continue their work by “recognizing, promoting, enhancing, encouraging, and developing a balanced and diverse supply of housing to meet the economic, social, and physical needs of the City of Manchester and its residents.”

The proposed ordinance is being presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Committee on Administration this evening, May 18th at 5:45pm.

Read the language of the proposed ordinance.

Mayor Joyce Craig Comments on Release of Treasury Guidance For American Rescue Plan Funds

Published: 05/10/2021 1:43 PM

City of Manchester Expected to Receive $43.3M


MANCHESTER, NH -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the American Rescue Plan, providing millions to the City of Manchester for COVID-19 recovery.

“I’m thankful these funds can be used to address many of the challenges we faced caused by COVID-19, giving us the opportunity to help residents, support small businesses, increase affordable housing options and make investments in city infrastructure. I look forward to working with our community in the coming weeks and months to ensure these dollars have the greatest positive impact for Manchester residents,” said Mayor Joyce Craig.

The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provide flexibility for each jurisdiction to meet local needs—including support for households, small businesses, impacted industries, essential workers, and the communities hardest-hit by the crisis. In addition to allowing for flexible spending up to the level of their revenue loss, these funds can be used to:

•    Support public health expenditures
•    Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency
•    Aid the communities and populations hardest hit by the crisis
•    Provide premium pay for essential workers
•    Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure

Since March of 2020, Mayor Joyce Craig has been a vocal and influential proponent of direct federal funding to municipalities, repeatedly advocating with the New Hampshire federal delegation, national organizations, and even to former President Trump prior to one of his visits to Manchester.

“Mayor Craig’s leadership and advocacy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been instrumental in informing federal relief legislation and underscoring the needs of New Hampshire communities on the frontlines of this crisis,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Mayor Craig, and city and municipal leaders across New Hampshire, to deliver meaningful resources for local governments across our state that meet the most pressing needs of localities and Granite Staters. Help is on the way and I look forward to continuing to work with our cities and towns as funding from the American Rescue Plan is put to use.”

“Mayor Craig has been a valuable partner and strong advocate for Manchester, helping to ensure that federal relief is targeted to keep small businesses open and protect public health,” said U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan. “I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Craig to make sure that American Rescue Plan funds help Manchester get more vaccines in arms, put people back to work, and protect small businesses.”

“Cities like Manchester have been on the front lines of this health and economic crisis from the beginning, and I've been proud to partner with leaders like Mayor Craig throughout this unprecedented time to help our state weather the storm,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “For over a year, Mayor Craig has joined me and leaders from throughout the state in advocating for COVID-19 relief, including the kind of direct, flexible funding for municipal, county, and state governments included in the American Rescue Plan. This support will help ensure that Manchester can continue to provide critical services and allow us to finally put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.”

On March 18, Mayor Craig released a community feedback survey, asking residents to share ideas on how the funds can be utilized to help bring Manchester out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most popular needs expressed by residents were for improvements to transportation, infrastructure and recreation, with nearly 32% of respondents hoping to spend these dollars improving roads, connecting the rail trail, and promoting a more walkable and livable city. View the survey results.
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​Mayor Craig Releases Results of Community Feedback Survey on American Rescue Plan

Published: 05/06/2021 1:27 PM

Federal delegation praises Mayor for advocacy for direct municipal funding

MANCHESTER, NH - Today, after over a year of advocacy on behalf of the residents of Manchester for flexible funds sent directly to municipalities, Mayor Craig released survey results of how Manchester residents want American Rescue Plan funds to be spent.

Since March of 2020, Mayor Joyce Craig has been a vocal and influential proponent of federal funding sent directly to municipalities, repeatedly advocating with the New Hampshire federal delegation, national organizations, and even former President Trump prior to one of his visits to Manchester.

Mayor Craig’s advocacy on behalf of Manchester has been praised by our federal representatives:

“Mayor Craig’s leadership and advocacy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been instrumental in informing federal relief legislation and underscoring the needs of New Hampshire communities on the frontlines of this crisis,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Mayor Craig, and city and municipal leaders across New Hampshire, to deliver meaningful resources for local governments across our state that meet the most pressing needs of localities and Granite Staters. Help is on the way and I look forward to continuing to work with our cities and towns as funding from the American Rescue Plan is put to use.”

“Mayor Craig has been a valuable partner and strong advocate for Manchester, helping to ensure that federal relief is targeted to keep small businesses open and protect public health,” said U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan. “I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Craig to make sure that American Rescue Plan funds help Manchester get more vaccines in arms, put people back to work, and protect small businesses.”

“Cities like Manchester have been on the front lines of this health and economic crisis from the beginning, and I've been proud to partner with leaders like Mayor Craig throughout this unprecedented time to help our state weather the storm,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “For over a year, Mayor Craig has joined me and leaders from throughout the state in advocating for COVID-19 relief, including the kind of direct, flexible funding for municipal, county, and state governments included in the American Rescue Plan. This support will help ensure that Manchester can continue to provide critical services and allow us to finally put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.”

“I’m grateful to our federal delegation for listening to the needs of our community and fighting for the direct funding to municipalities that was included in the American Rescue Plan.” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “These dollars are going to have an incredible impact on the lives of the people of Manchester. The results of our community feedback survey show that our residents are ready to bounce back from this COVID-19 pandemic and address important issues like infrastructure, housing and education.”

 

ARP Community Feedback Survey Results:

On March 18, Mayor Craig released a community feedback survey, asking residents to share stories on how the pandemic has impacted them, and ideas on how the funds can be utilized to help bring Manchester out of the COVID-19 pandemic. 159 residents responded, and while most discussed the social isolation, anxiety and financial impacts related to COVID-19, nearly 24% also talked about the positive impact that the past year has brought about:

“It has slowed us down in a way where we value our local community and realize the dependencies we have on each other. We've learned to love our neighbors more and to support ALL the businesses and people that are working hard each day,” said one resident.

When it came to the $44 million Manchester will receive through the American Rescue Plan, the most popular needs expressed by residents were for improvements to transportation, infrastructure and recreation, with nearly 32% of respondents hoping to spend these dollars improving roads, connecting the rail trail, and promoting a more walkable and livable city.

Additionally, approximately 28% of respondents said their top priority with the funds was affordable housing and assisting those in Manchester experiencing homelessness. 10% would like to see these dollars spent on education improvements, 10% on downtown improvements and local businesses, and 7% on public health.

Find additional results of the community feedback survey here.

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Mayor Craig, Board of Assessors Expand Tax Exemption Eligibility Requirements

Published: 05/05/2021 2:27 PM

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Board of Assessors announced a change to tax exemptions recently approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, expanding the eligibility requirements for elderly and disabled Manchester residents.

For elderly and disabled residents, income limits are increasing from $37,000 to $41,000 for single individuals, and from $50,000 to $55,000 for married individuals. Asset limits are increasing from $90,000 to $100,000 for single individuals and $115,000 to $130,000 for married individuals.

“For the first time since 2014, we’re making elderly and disabled tax exemptions available to more Manchester residents,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “This will help many of our seniors who live on low and fixed incomes, while the costs they face, especially with healthcare and housing, continue to grow. I encourage everyone who thinks they may qualify to contact the Assessor’s Office.”

To qualify for the elderly exception, a person must be 65 years or older as of April 1st, must be a resident of New Hampshire for three consecutive years on or before April 1, must be the owner of record of the property in question and must have income and assets that do not exceed the above limits.

To qualify for the exemption for the disabled, a person must be eligible for payments under Title II or Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act, must have been a New Hampshire resident for at least 5 years as of April 1st, must be the owner of record as of April 1st and must have income and assets that do not exceed the above limits.

Individuals that did not submit an application for the elderly or disabled exemption by the April 15th deadline because their income and assets exceeded the prior limits will now have until Friday, June 18th to file an application under the new income and asset limits. Anyone with additional questions can contact the Assessor’s Office at (603) 624-6520 or visit the Assessor's website.

 

Mayor Joyce Craig to Senate Finance: ‘Prioritize our Local Taxpayers’

Published: 05/04/2021 3:59 PM

Manchester Mayor asks State to end unsustainable downshifting to municipalities

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig gave the following testimony to the Senate Finance Committee on the proposed state budget:

“On April 14th, a bipartisan group of Mayors from all of New Hampshire’s 13 cities joined together to write the Senate Finance Committee urging them to consider the impact that New Hampshire’s state budgets have had on municipal governments and local property taxpayers over the past decade. I want to take this time to reiterate those points, and once again ask that this committee prioritize our local taxpayers in the state budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023 biennium.

Budget decisions at the state level have resulted in significant losses of revenue to municipalities, contributing to property tax increases and delays in needed infrastructure improvements. As a Mayor, I understand the difficulties associated with balancing a budget. There are always competing priorities, finite resources and a need to reinvest for growth. But for the last decade, the state has failed to prioritize funding to municipalities, resulting in a heavy financial burden on our local taxpayers that puts a particular strain on retired Granite Staters on a fixed income, young people purchasing their first homes and limits municipalities’ ability to invest in infrastructure.

One of the most significant losses in revenue to municipalities was the reduction in the Meals and Rooms Tax distribution. It was originally created as revenue to be shared between the state and municipalities at 60% and 40% respectively so that both the state and municipalities could benefit from tourism trade and provided funds to help promote the industry and offset any expenses.

Since 2011, municipalities’ share of Rooms and Meals has been trending downward, all while the revenue collected from the Tax has increased by over 60%. The City of Manchester alone has lost out on over $41M in revenue over the last decade from a failure of the State to live up to its commitments.

Another form of revenue sharing of significance to municipalities, enacted via RSA 31-A, was originally intended to “return a certain portion of the general revenues of the state to the cities and towns for their unrestricted use.” This revenue sharing has been suspended since FY09, resulting in a total loss of over $300 million to municipalities and countries. Since 2010, my community in Manchester has lost out on over $47M.

These are just two examples in a long list of downshifted costs and lost revenues to local communities, all while the State is touting an over $160 million revenue surplus for the year. From state pension costs to state aid grants, the State of New Hampshire continues to renege on its commitments to our municipalities and our local taxpayers. Our cities and towns will continue to provide all the necessary services to our residents, who rightfully expect their trash to be collected, their streets to be repaved, and their calls to emergency services like police and firefighters, to be answered quickly. But in return, I ask that the Senate Finance Committee prioritize these services that our municipalities provide and put an end to this unsustainable downshifting.”

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Mayor Joyce Craig Announces Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up

Published: 04/13/2021 10:54 AM

April 24th event hosted in partnership with Manchester School District and Department of Public Works

Mayor Joyce Craig, in conjunction with the Manchester Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Manchester School District, is hosting an Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up on Saturday, April 24th.

Residents are encouraged to clean-up across the city, and DPW will be stationed at four elementary schools from 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m:

  • Jewett Street School, 130 S Jewett St, Manchester, NH 03103
  • Northwest Elementary, 300 Youville St, Manchester, NH 03102
  • Smyth Road School, 245 Bruce Rd, Manchester, NH 03104
  • Beech Street School, 333 Beech St, Manchester, NH 03103

Each site will have clean-up materials, including trash bags and gloves, and will serve as a drop-off location for all collected materials.

“This is a great opportunity for folks across Manchester to celebrate Earth Day and give back to our community,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “With the warmer weather, I know we’re all looking forward to spending time outside. We want to make sure we have clean, welcoming neighborhoods, parks and trails for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”

"Our schools are hubs of activity for the neighborhoods they serve, providing not just education, but also food support and areas for outdoor recreation,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Goldhardt. “We are grateful for this opportunity, because it's a reminder to all that each one of us needs to chip in to improve our community." 

Same day sign-ups are welcome, but volunteers, organizations and businesses interested in participating can pre-register for the neighborhood clean-up here

In addition to the city-wide Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up, InTown Manchester is hosting their 20th annual Adopt-a-Block on Thursday, April 22nd starting at the Mill Girl Statue on Commercial Street from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols will be required.

 

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