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Letter: Alternative housing options

‘Up to $500,000 for emergency housing and public facility activities that directly benefit low and moderate-income persons” – that is what the Community Development Block Grant program does. And it is grant money, also known as “free,” and you don’t have to pay it back. And you can be awarded up to $12,000 just to study the problem.

Successful CDBG users have included Pittsfield’s Rustic Crust and Pittsfield Weaving, New Castle’s Wentworth-by-the-Sea, Keene’s ice skating rink and Derry’s Nutfield Brewing Co. Imagine that.

I didn’t see any CBDG proposals in Concord’s 20/20 discussions or any Friendly Kitchen mention, but then, that was a “things” discussion not a “people” one.

Meanwhile, self-contained housing areas such as Camp Chenoa in Antrim are up for sale; Boy Scout camps are used only in the summer; Hopkinton Fairgrounds is empty all winter long; and other similar locations are available for consideration as winter “holding areas” for the homeless.

It is time to stop fobbing this problem off on social organizations. Sure, it will require discussion and agreements with other Concord-area towns and organizations, but that is to be expected.

Remember when the problem was “solved” with one-way bus tickets to Florida? Well, that isn’t done anymore and the homeless problem remains. It should be resolved or at least given a good look.



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