A Renewed Emphasis

The past several years have featured tremendous progress in MHRA’s rejuvenatedhousing development operation, as the Authority has worked intensively with its public and private development partners to surge ahead with multiple new housing development initiatives.

By the end of the 1990s, traditional funding sources for new housing development by public housing authorities had all but disappeared, and PHA housing production had essentially ceased. With a desperate need for more low income affordable housing opportunities for many thousands of Manchester families and elderly, in 2001 MHRA’s Executive Director sent forth a call to creative action to “everyone in sight who shares the belief that such opportunities are essential to Manchester’s best future.”

The response was swift and substantial, and it has resulted in public and private entities joining with MHRA in pursuit of new and creative ways to address the acute housing needs of Manchester residents.

Since then the collective efforts and resources of MHRA and its partners have produced a series of new development projects which add over 600 apartments to Manchester’s low income affordable housing inventory at a total development cost of more than $70 million.

MHRA’s rehabilitation and conversion of the former Gale Home on Maple Street to the Mary Gale Apartments has received accolades for its historically sensitive and aesthetically pleasing design. The 37 unit Mary Gale Apartments provide housing with supportive services to low income elderly and persons with disabilities.

Renovation of the former Brown School on Manchester’s West Side adds another 37 such units.  The renovation of the Brown School has also received recognition for its preservation of an historically and architecturally significant structure.  The school now provides 34 units of housing for elders and people with disabilities who require supportive services.

Construction of 61 units of housing at Laurette Sweeny Apartments, located on South Porter Street, provides additional assistance to low income people who are elderly or who have disabilities and who are in need of support services.

Our most recent development at South Main Street renovated a previously undeveloped site to create 20 units of housing for people with disabilities.

MHRA recently partnered with Southern New Hampshire Services to build the 28 unit, HUD Section 202 funded Derryfield Village to provide affordable housing for Manchester’s elderly residents. MHRA also recently partnered with a private developer, The Anagnost Companies, to develop 90 units of family housing on Old Wellington Road units of low income affordable family housing at Karatzas Avenue.

MHRA has also implemented the project based voucher program to stimulate the development of new housing and to subsidize rents to provide affordable housing to Manchester’s lowest income residents. Project based vouchers are assisting the following projects:


Project# of Units# of Vouchers
Families In Transition
(Existing Units)
Mary Gale Apartments3737
Straw Mansion336
Piscataquog River Apartments15054
The Family Mill338
Brown School3434
The Family Willows2929
Stella Arms Apartments
(Karatzas Ave)
Sidora Terrace7218
Old Wellington Road9022
Laurette Sweeney Apts6161

At a time when rental housing has been in critically short supply and has been unaffordable to so many households, these new housing development efforts have significantly improved the lives of many Manchester families.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Projects

It is worth noting that the rules governing Mary Gale Apartments, Brown School Apartments, Laurette Sweeney Apartments, and South Main Street Apartments, while similar to, are slightly different from MHRA’s Public Housing rules.  These developments are all service-assisted and application is by referral.  They are designed for low income people who are elderly or have disabilities, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who have issues that contribute to their risk of homelessness.  Referrals are accepted from approved agencies which will coordinate resources to provide for each resident’s non-housing needs.  All of these projects with the exception of South Main Street Apartments are designated as elderly projects, and as a result, there are limits on the number of non-elderly residents that may be housed there.  One other difference is that a full security deposit is required for all apartments.