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The City of Manchester Announces Partnership with Textile Recycler Helpsy

Published: 06/23/2022

The City of Manchester, NH has announced their partnership with Helpsy to offer a free and easy home pickup clothing recycling service for the local community. 

As the largest clothing collector in the Northeast, Helpsy partners with municipalities and organizations across 11 states to collect unwanted clothing and other textiles in order to keep clothes out of landfills. In 2021 alone, the company diverted nearly 30 million pounds of textiles from landfills through a combination of clothing drives, home pickups, thrift store partners and clothing receptacles.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, textile waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States, occupying nearly 5% of all landfill space, which is why Helpsy is committed to working with cities, such as Manchester, in order to give clothing the longest life possible.

“I appreciate how the Department of Public Works is always looking for innovative ways to expand recycling services for our residents," said Mayor Joyce Craig. "Through this partnership with Helpsy, the city will save money, all residents will be able to conveniently recycle their clothes, shoes, curtains and more, and together we will be protecting the environment."

“The goal is to reuse, recycle, and reduce as much waste as we can; we strive to make this as easy as possible for residents. Partnering with Helpsy enables residents, at no cost, to keep textiles from entering the landfill,” stated Chaz Newton, Solid Waste & Environmental Programs Manager, Department of Public Works.

“Helpsy’s mission is to keep clothes out of the trash,” says Dan Green, Co-Founder and CEO of Helpsy. “We are dedicated to changing the way people think about clothing recycling while adhering to the highest level of social and environmental performance.”

Beginning July 9, pickups in Manchester will take place weekly on Saturdays between 7am-5pm. In order to be recycled, the textiles must be clean, bagged, and labeled. The community can sign up for a pick-up at www.helpsy.co/manchesternh or can call  1-800-244-6350.

For more information about Manchester’s Recycling Programs and Helpsy’s municipal partnerships, the community can contact the City’s Department of Public Works at 603 - 624 - 6444  and can visit www.helpsy.co.

As the 20th town to partner with Helpsy to provide free home pickup service, Manchester is joining Hampton, Exeter, Pembroke, Hooksett, and Bow in making it as easy as possible for residents to responsibly dispose of their unwanted clothing.

ABOUT HELPSY: Helpsy is a Certified B Corp on a mission to radically change the way we think about, dispose of, recycle and buy second hand clothing. Helpsy is shifting perceptions around used clothing by helping reduce the impact that clothing production has on our planet and changing the statistic that 85% of clothes currently end up in the trash.

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City of Manchester launch Public Health and Safety Team (PHAST)

Published: 06/21/2022

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig, Public Health Director Anna Thomas, and Chief Allen Aldenberg announced the launch of the Public Health and Safety Team (PHAST).

PHAST is an American Recovery Plan-funded initiative as a partnership between the Manchester Health Department and the Manchester Police Department which is providing a trained Community Health Worker (CHW) for all twelve wards of the City to address neighborhood level health concerns. In addition, a Senior Services CHW will be added to the team to serve the specialized needs of our frail and aging population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define the scope of a community health worker as a frontline public health worker who is a member of the community who serves and improves the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.

Activities of the CHWs include, but are not limited to:

  • Serving as a point of contact, based on mutual trust, for policy makers and residents with neighborhood concerns;
  • Coordinating and mobilizing community groups to support neighborhood enhancement, engagement, and advocacy for individual and community needs;
  • Connecting residents to available resources to more adequately and appropriately meet their needs;
  • Serving as “Violence Interrupters,” an evidence-based approach to violent crime reduction. Under this model, violence is treated like a disease epidemic and can be prevented using health methods. This involves working with police to identify potential conflicts and assist with conflict resolution and mediation (https://cvg.org/); and
  • Responds to non-police matters that historically have been routed to police.

This program was funded through the American Rescue Plan Act funding recommendations presented by Mayor Joyce Craig and approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in July of 2021. The program is a key feature of the Gun Violence Reduction Strategy released by Manchester Police Department earlier this month.

“Our Community Health Workers are already contributing so much,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “And now our Public Health and Safety Team will be able to address neighborhood-level concerns in this thoughtful and intentional manner.”

“Starting in 2014 with our Community Schools Initiative, all the way through to COVID-19 response assistance, our CHWs have been problem-solvers and frontline connectors to our community because they are from the community,” said Public Health Director Anna Thomas. “The PHAST team model is pioneering in New Hampshire and this country because it is place-based, covering every Ward and neighborhood in the City with an added layer of connectivity to basic needs not one organization could ever achieve alone.”

“All eight of us are residents of the city,” said Biram Saidybah, Community Health Worker Supervisor. “All of us love the city and are each a trusted member of the communities we serve.”

“These specially trained workers are truly at the intersection of public health and public safety,” added Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg. “Our collaborative approach with the Health Department is an innovative way to increase safety through focusing on root causes of crime and disorder from a public health perspective. This is an evidence-based approach to solve problems proactively, which will reduce calls to the police and allow all of us to better use resources to serve our community.”

Contact info for the CHWs can be found here.

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Hannah Chisholm named as Communications Manager for Office of Mayor Joyce Craig

Published: 06/17/2022

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced Hannah Chisholm has joined the Manchester Mayor’s Office as Communications Manager.

Hannah will lead all communications efforts from the Office of the Mayor and work with City departments to help better inform the public about city initiatives and opportunities.

“I’m thrilled to join the Office of Mayor Craig,” said Hannah Chisholm. “As the City continues to make historic investments in the community, I’m looking forward to helping communicate that progress to our residents and visitors.”

“Hannah’s strong background in communications and community engagement make her a great addition to our team at City Hall,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “I look forward to her work helping to make City government more transparent and accessible.”

Hannah previously worked in the UNH Manchester office of Career and Professional Success as an Internship and Marketing Specialist, as a policy intern for New Hampshire Housing, and for the New Hampshire Democratic Party as a regional organizing director. Hannah graduated from University of New Hampshire at Manchester where she majored in Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership with a minor in Community Leadership.

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City of Manchester announces summer programming in Veterans Park

Published: 06/16/2022

Today, the City of Manchester announced additional summer programming at Veterans Park. In addition to ‘Movies in the Park’ announced earlier this week, Manchester Parks and Recreation will host a ‘Concerts in the Park’ Summer Series. 

Concerts begin at 6:30pm on Wednesday, June 22nd, Wednesday, July 20th, Wednesday, August 3rd, Wednesday, August 17th.

All events are sponsored by the City of Manchester. Bring your own blanket or chairs. Food trucks will be available for purchases at the concerts, or arrive early and dinner at one of our numerous downtown restaurants!
 

Schedule for Veterans Park this summer:

June 22 at 6:30pm – Concert - Akwaaba Ensemble

June 29 at 8:00pm – Movie

July 13 at 8:00pm – Movie

July 20 at 6:30pm – Concert - Mica’s Groove Train 

July 27 at 8:00pm – Movie

August 3 at 6:30pm – Concert - Truffle

August 10 at 8:00pm – Movie

August 17 at 6:30pm – Concert – Soggy Po Boys
 

Find more information about the concerts here:

Wednesday, June 22nd at 6:30PM - New Hampshire’s Artist Laureate Theophilus Nii Martey will be the perfect lead in for the movies and summer events ahead in Veterans Park! 

Theo Martey founded the Akwaaba Drum and Dance Ensemble who will join him onstage in Veterans Park June 22nd at 6:30PM.   The stage will come alive with West African drumming and dance featuring rich and subtle rhythmic patterns and styles specific to different tribal groups of West Africa.  

Martey started his drumming and dance studies at the age of 6 in Ghana, West Africa and now resides in Manchester.  He is a talented artist, songwriter, recording artist, producer and teaching artist.  He received the 2019 Governor's Arts Award for Arts Education, and was featured on New Hampshire Magazine Who’s It for 2019 list.  He was recently appointed by the Governor and the Executive Council to maintain the honorary position as New Hampshire’s Artist Laureate from April 2022 to February 2024.  

Please join us as we celebrate NH Artist Laureate Theophilus Nii Martey and the Akwaaba Drum and Dance Ensemble in Veterans Park on June 22nd!

Wednesday, July 20th at 6:30PMMica’s Groove Train brings New England’s hottest funky soul band to the stage in Manchester.  Their style has created quite a buzz in the music industry.  Their killer vocals create a beautiful, versatile sound.  Strong will and determination pushed Mica’s Groove Train forward, but raw talent has kept these musicians strong, relevant and alive!

Wednesday, August 3rd at 6:30PM - Truffle, a premier band from Seacoast NH comes to the Queen City to entertain for the evening.  Their music style is hard to describe though their fans love their original music, as well as the cover tunes they add for a little more flavor.  They’ve been making music on their wild ride together for over 35 years.  Truffle has shared the stage with numerous well known greats like The Steve Miller Band, The Dave Matthews Band, Phish and many more. Don’t miss the excitement Truffle brings with them!

Wednesday, August 17th at 6:30PM – The band Soggy Po’ Boys was born on a snowy Fat Tuesday night in 2012 and they’ve been honing their craft ever since.  Soggy Po’ Boys will join us on the Veterans Park stage on August 17th.  The New Orleans flavored septet play at nearly a hundred shows each year, including festivals, concerts and parades.  They describe their jazz as messy, mixing brass-fueled mayhem with spirituals, Meters-style old-school funk, and the Caribbean side of the New Orleans tradition.  You have to experience the sounds of Soggy Po Boys for yourself! 

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Mayor Craig Announces Community Event and Activation Grant Recipients, Opens Second Round of Funding

Published: 06/15/2022

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Planning and Community Development Department released a full list of first round recipients as well as the start of a second round of funding from Manchester’s Community Event and Activation Grant program which was launched back in February.

During the first round of funding, 29 different community groups and nonprofits received funds totaling $253,862.98. Awardees were selected by a committee made up of representatives from the Department of Planning and Community Development, Department of Public Works, Office of Economic Development, Health Department, and the Office of the City Clerk.

A full breakdown of the grant recipients can be found here.

This program was approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 2021 through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) recommendations. The Community Event and Activation Grant (CEAG) program allocated $1,000,000 to support and increase the number of community-based projects and events in an effort to help Manchester recover from the negative effects of COVID-19.

“The first round of recipients used their grant money for dozens of exciting community programs and initiatives such as community wide celebrations with live music, food and dancing; athletic opportunities with soccer, basketball and disc golf; and neighborhood improvements including community gardens, murals and bike racks.” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “I’m excited to see what else our community brings forward with this next round of funding.”

“Manchester Moves is working with Manchester DPW and Revision Energy to install solar lighting in two of the city’s rail tunnels. This lighting will greatly enhance the safety and usability of our trails for all users,” said Don Waldron of Manchester Moves, a volunteer trail organization that received a grant through the first round of funding. “This project would not have been possible at this time without the help of the CEAG program.”

The second round of funding opens on June 15th, 2022 and applications are due by August 15th, 2022. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible to expedite the application review process.

Applicants can apply for up to $10,000 per grant for community-based projects and events that contribute to economic development and tourism and support a vibrant and healthy community. All applicants are required to provide a minimum 25% match for each project or event, which can include direct funding, in-kind donations or volunteer hours.

The application for Manchester’s Community Event and Activation Grant program can be found here.

Completed applications can be emailed to PCD-ARPA@manchesternh.gov with the subject line “CEAG Application”, or mailed to City of Manchester, Planning and Community Development, Attn: CEAG Application, 1 City Hall Plaza, Manchester, NH 03101. Email PCD-ARPA@manchesternh.gov or call (603) 792-6725 with any questions.

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Mayor Craig, City of Manchester announce $3.4 Million for Development of Affordable Housing

Published: 06/14/2022

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig and the Department of Planning and Community Development announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $3,400,000 to develop affordable housing units in the City of Manchester. 

Funding comes from the federal HOME-ARP program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ($1.9M) and the State and Local Federal Relief Funds (SLFRF) through the American Rescue Plan Act ($1.5M).

“Housing is one of the biggest challenges facing Manchester residents, and we continue to make significant investments in affordable housing options within the city,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “The funds are available for housing projects of all sizes – both large and small – and I encourage all developers who want to be a part of the solution to submit a proposal.”

The funds may be used for the development of non-congregate shelter, new affordable rental units or rehabilitation of existing units for “qualifying populations” and “low-income households” as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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, and a representative from the Manchester Housing Commission who will then make recommendations to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for final approval.

Last year through this RFP process, the City of Manchester utilized more than $2.7 million of federal HOME funds to develop or renovate 152 affordable housing units through Manchester Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Neighborwork Southern New Hampshire, and Waypoint.

Proposals are due by 3:00 P.M. on July 15th, 2022, and must be submitted to the Department of Planning and Community Development in City Hall.

Download the full RFP here.

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Dr. Jenn Gillis named Superintendent of Manchester School District

Published: 05/11/2022

Wednesday evening, the Board of School Committee appointed Dr. Jenn Gillis to serve as the Superintendent of Schools for Manchester School District. Dr. Gillis has been serving as the district’s interim superintendent since February 14th of this year.

Dr. Gillis joined the Manchester School District in 2014 as principal at Southside Middle School, and has served as Assistant Superintendent in charge of operations and facilities for the district since 2018. That role placed her in the middle of the district’s pandemic response, leveraging  work with state, municipal and community partners to provide critical food resources, offer vaccination clinics, and implement safety measures at school buildings. Dr. Gillis has a MBA in Leadership, Certificate in Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

The Board of School Committee Special Committee on the Superintendent Search employed NH Listens, an organization within the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy focused on increasing community engagement and input, to provide feedback to the Board about what the community would like to see from the next Superintendent of the Manchester School District.

NH Listens shared a great deal of feedback from residents about the next school leader, but NH Listen’s most significant finding was that “there is a strong desire for the next superintendent to have a deep understanding of the Manchester community.”

“I want to thank the Board of School Committee for the opportunity to serve as Superintendent of the Manchester School District,” said Superintendent Jenn Gillis. I’m thrilled to be able to continue to serve our community. We have a lot of important work ahead of us, but everything we do – everything we can achieve – will come through our collective efforts. I’m looking forward to the continued work with our students, district staff, families, elected officials and community partners.” 

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Jennifer Gillis has been named superintendent of the Manchester School District,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Dr. Gillis has a deep understanding of our community, a keen eye for detail and process, and a strong commitment to ensuring that all of our students have access to a quality education. Since taking on the role of interim superintendent, she has proven herself to be a coalition builder, who has the trust of students, staff and parents, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

“I’m very proud of the work done by the Board of School Committee in reaching a unanimous vote to appoint Dr. Jenn Gillis as the superintendent of the Manchester School District,” said Vice Chair Jim O’Connell. “The Board heard the clear voice of the people of Manchester who resoundingly told us that they wanted a candidate who had local knowledge and who was ready to take up the reins leading our city forward immediately. Dr. Gillis has proven herself to be a great interim superintendent, and I am confident that she will lead us to not just meet but exceed the goals in our strategic plan.”

The Board voted to approve a starting salary of $177,100 for a three-year term with an option to renew for one year commencing immediately.

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Mayor Joyce Craig announces Staff Changes

Published: 04/05/2022 5:27 PM

Manchester, NH — Today, Mayor Joyce Craig announced the promotion of Shannon MacLeod as Chief of Staff. Currently Mayor Craig’s Policy Director, MacLeod will step into the role following the departure of Chief of Staff Lauren Smith.

“For the past two years, Shannon has led policy initiatives in my office with outstanding attention to detail and professionalism,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “She is dedicated to progress and has proved time and time again her passion to make our community better.”

As Chief of Staff, MacLeod will direct all operations in the Mayor’s Office. Prior to joining Mayor Craig’s team in 2020, MacLeod was the New Hampshire State Director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential campaign and held senior positions in several statewide New Hampshire campaigns and organizations. She also served as Mayor Craig’s Finance Director for her successful 2017 election.

“I’m honored to continue to serve Manchester as Mayor Craig’s Chief of Staff,” said Shannon MacLeod. “Our city has made incredible progress throughout Mayor Craig’s time in City Hall, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue to work with the Mayor and City staff to continue to move Manchester forward.”

MacLeod is replacing Smith as Chief of Staff later this month. Smith joined Mayor Craig’s Office in 2018, and was promoted to Chief of Staff in February 2020.

“Lauren provided steadfast leadership through one of the most difficult times in our City’s history. I’m grateful for her work on behalf of our community and look forward to seeing the positive impact that she’ll continue to have on Manchester,” added Mayor Craig

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to have served Manchester for the past four and half years alongside Mayor Craig – and I’m proud of what we accomplished,” said Lauren Smith. “Over the past two years, people across the Queen City stepped up to help our community come back from the pandemic stronger. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to work with all of them.”

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Mayor Joyce Craig Announces Earth Day Clean-Ups

Published: 04/05/2022 5:24 PM

April 23rd event hosted in partnership with Manchester School District & Department of Public Works

MANCHESTER, NH - Mayor Joyce Craig, in conjunction with the Manchester Department of Public Works (DPW) and Manchester School District, is hosting an Earth Day Neighborhood Clean-Up on Saturday, April 23rd.

Residents are encouraged to clean-up across the city, and DPW will be stationed at four schools from 9:00am through 2:00pm:

  • Jewett Street School, 130 S Jewett St, Manchester, NH 03103
  • Northwest Elementary, 300 Youville St, Manchester, NH 0310
  • 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.”

“We are excited to once again partner with the city and Public Works for this cleanup,” said Dr. Jenn Gillis, Interim Superintendent of Manchester School District. “This is a terrific opportunity to get out, get some fresh air and do our part to beautify our community. It’s also a great lesson for our students especially: In just a few hours of work, you can help ensure that everyone can enjoy our outdoor spaces.”

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, Manchester Urban Ponds will be hosting clean-ups from 9am - 11am on April 23rd at Black Brook/Blodget Park, on April 30th at Stevens Pond, and on May 7th at Nutts Pond. 

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Mayor Joyce Craig Delivers 2022 State of the City Address

Published: 03/23/2022 4:34 PM

Today, Mayor Joyce Craig delivered her 2022 State of the City Address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. 

Speaking to a room of community members and business leaders, Mayor Craig outlined the work that has been done in the City of Manchester over the past year and announced exciting initiatives in public transportation, education and economic development.

“The pandemic tested every aspect of how we live and work. But though it all, we persevered, one step at a time. And we adapted to COVID-19 in ways that have enhanced our lives and our community,” stated Mayor Joyce Craig. “As we continue forward, we know things will be different. But, I know we’ll come out of this stronger, because that’s what Queen City residents do. We put in the work.” 

Mayor Craig announced the launch of The Manchester Promise Program, an initiative to enable Manchester public school students, who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity and who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to attend college debt-free.  

She shared that in just two years, the City has exceeded their goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent – current reductions are 58.4% – thanks in large part to the City’s solar array. 

In addition, Mayor Craig announced she is establishing an exploratory committee to bring hockey back to the Queen City.

“We’re putting in the work to create equitable futures for our students. We’re putting in the work to help our businesses recover and thrive. We’re putting in the work to build safe neighborhoods and empowered communities,” added Mayor Craig. “The state of our city is strong, because our residents are.” 

Mayor Joyce Craig 2022 State of the City Summary

  • In the coming weeks, the City of Manchester will launch The Manchester Promise, a program in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester Community College, and Duet. 
  • This program will enable Manchester public school students, who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity, to attend college debt-free.  
  • For the first time in Manchester’s history, the Health Department will collaborate with the New Hampshire National Guard to provide essential services for residents.
  • Mayor Craig: “We know residents are concerned about gun crimes in the city. Gun violence is unacceptable, and I want to reiterate that the safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority.”
  • The MPD is focused on reducing gun crimes, implementing new tactics to address this concerning issue. They established a community-focused gun crime problem-solving team, are holding bi-weekly meetings with internal stakeholders and law enforcement partners, and have deployed additional walking patrols to increase police presence and community engagement in neighborhoods. Their efforts are yielding results – in 2021, MPD seized 81 illegal guns off the streets.
  • In two years, Manchester exceeded the goal set in Mayor Craig’s 2020 State of the City to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%. Today, the City has realized a 58.4% reduction in CO2 emissions, thanks to the solar array, plus building and energy efficiencies.
  • Manchester was named a finalist for the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge Phase 1. The Phase 2 application was submitted on March 15th.
  • If awarded, the grant would bring $100M+ of federal investment into the region, accelerate job creation in tissue engineering and advanced aerial mobility; has the potential to create more than 20,000 jobs. The grant would also fund a pedestrian bridge over the Merrimack River connecting the Millyard to the West Side. 
  • The Economic Development Department will soon issue an RFP to update the City’s marketing and branding strategy, working with the state tourism board to continue solidifying Manchester’s place as a top destination in New Hampshire.
  • Mayor Craig: “But one thing that’s been missing is hockey – Manchester is a hockey town. I’m pleased to announce that I’m establishing an exploratory committee to work to bring hockey back to the Queen City.”
  • The City and MTA are committed to bring innovative forms of public transportation to Manchester, including micro-transit; the City is in the process of piloting a program for on-demand bus service, and hope to launch service in FY23. 
  • Mayor Craig: “Housing is one of New Hampshire’s biggest challenges, and we’re focused on increasing affordable housing locally.”
  • The City allocated $8M dollars in federal funds to develop new affordable housing; includes $2.3M to construct 48 units at Kelley Falls (MHRA), renovate 101 units in the Elm Street Brownstones and Straw Mansion Apartments (NeighborWorks) and develop three studio apartments for young, at-risk adults (Waypoint). 
  • Established the Manchester Housing Commission to monitor housing stock and make recommendations to increase affordable housing options in the city. 
  • Currently finalizing proposals for 450+ new mixed-income apartments to be built on underutilized city-owned parking lots. 
  • The City is working with MHRA to offer additional incentives for landlords to accept Housing Choice Vouchers. 
  • Utilizing federal funds, the City hired the City’s first Director of Homeless Initiatives, Schonna Green.
  • We’re working with the outreach teams to address the needs of those who are chronically homeless, and collaborating with non-profits, faith-based organizations, businesses, and residents. 
  • We’re also establishing new relationships with recovery service providers and to date, have helped over 30 individuals enter treatment.

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