$500K tax credit to help renovate former school for homeless shelter

NASHUA – Hoping to give members of the city’s growing homeless population a place to go, Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter officials hope to raise $3 million to renovate the former Sacred Heart School at 35 Spring St. by 2021.

The $500,000 tax credit the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority awarded shelter officials will bolster the efforts, according to soup kitchen Executive Director Michael Reinke.

“This is wonderful news,” Reinke said. “This is a critical piece for what we need to make this project happen.”

The authority states that it is a “statewide nonprofit public authority focused on maximizing the value and impact of community development.” This is the same organization that awarded a $367,500 tax credit to the city of Nashua to support construction of the planned $15.5 million downtown Performing Arts Center.

“Our tax credit awardees are leading collaborative, community-based projects to address critical needs in the Granite State that bring together public and private resources to solving local challenges,” authority Executive Director Katy Easterly Martey said. “The diversity of projects funded speaks to the many ways our partners are driving forces behind making New Hampshire communities strong, resilient, vibrant places.”

At NSKS, the renovation concept for the former school do not involve moving the soup kitchen from its Quincy Street location.

“This is all for people who are experiencing homelessness,” Reinke said about the planned new shelter. “This is for people who don’t to have a place to go.”

“This is not like apartments for rent,” he added.

Reinke said the Spring Street location will act as a shelter that will provide more than 20 units for the homeless, with approximately 12 units for single women and 10 to 12 others for homeless families.

“These units will act as long-term housing,” Reinke said. “They can stay there as long as they need to.”

Reinke said there are more commitments being made to make the project possible, but until the plans start to become a little clearer, he declined to go into great detail.

“We’re hoping to be able to make an announcement in four to six months of other commitments,” Reinke said.

The building will be used as a multifaceted outpost for the soup kitchen and shelter. Being around the corner from the pantry and kitchen, it will help increase access to critical services for those experiencing homelessness.

The building was leased to NSKS in October by St. Patrick’s Church, who entered into a 40-year agreement with the soup kitchen as a way to continue to serve the community.

The agreement will help the soup kitchen continue its goal toward supporting the homeless community by providing emergency shelter and services to families and single adults in Greater Nashua, which it has been doing since 1984.

Mathew Plamondon may be contacted at 594-1244, or at mplamondon@nashuatelegraph.com, @telegraph_MatP.