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Shaheen helps introduce bill to help local governments reduce homelessness

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced $1 billion of spending to help combat homelessness in communities, through the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act.

The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, would allocate funds for affordable housing, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and job training.

In Concord, the Coalition to End Homelessness follows a Housing First model, which is based on the idea that to successfully end and transition people out of homelessness, permanent supportive housing is the first step.

This bill supports this belief, with grant money awarded to cities and counties that provide housing as well as supportive services.

“Housing needs are especially dire for Granite Staters struggling with other crises, like substance misuse or mental health challenges, which have been surging across many communities,” said Shaheen in a statement. “Addressing homelessness often requires a comprehensive approach as proposed by this legislation, to address the intersection of these challenges and build a long-term solution for individuals struggling with homelessness.”

For five years, $1 billion would be made available annually to fund supportive housing projects and tangential services and case management needs to support clients.

The grants could be used for any operational needs, such as capital building costs, as long as projects fulfill the need to supply housing.

Recipients would be required to fund 25 percent of proposed projects and report measures of success, such as whether or not individuals remain housed. Other tracked outcomes include improvements in health and well-being, such as children’s education.

Last week, Shaheen visited the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness to discuss $1 million in funding she secured to help purchase property to build housing for their clients.

The multifamily home on South State Street will be converted into eight one-bedroom apartments to provide permanent supportive housing for people transitioning out of homelessness.