Social service agencies get $1.4 million in federal grants

NASHUA – Four local social service agencies that help the homeless were awarded a total of more than $1.4 million in grants Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The funds will help support programs that offer permanent and transitional housing to the homeless, as well as provide services such as job training, health care, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and child care.

Grant recipients include Harbor Homes, the Greater Nashua Council on Alcoholism, Marguerite’s Place, and MP Housing.

The funds mostly represent renewal grants at level funding, said Peter Kelleher, executive director of Harbor Homes.

His agency will use its $1.1 million to support various programs that provide residential and support services to the homeless and people with long-term mental illnesses.

The largest of Harbor Homes’ three grants – $862,121 – will go towards supporting the agency’s 30-apartment program, which provides housing and subsidies for people with mental illnesses.

The only area agency receiving a new HUD grant is MP Housing, a nonprofit established by the board of directors of Marguerite’s Place in 2000.

The agency was created in response to the need for permanent affordable housing for families who received transitional housing from Marguerite’s Place.

Women in need and their children can live in MP Housing’s five condo units for up to five years.

The grant of $173,659 “makes it a great Christmas for us,” said Sister Sharon Walsh, CEO of Marguerite’s Place.

The local grants are part of a $1.27 billion package awarded by HUD nationwide to address the problems of the homeless.

This is the most money a federal agency has ever awarded to help the homeless, according to a written statement from HUD.

The record amount of aid is intended to end long-term or chronic homelessness for people who are physically disabled, addicted or mentally ill, according to HUD.