Councilors Promote Drug Forum, Affordable Housing

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill city councilors helped spread the word about tonight’s start of a series of school department forums on substance abuse as well as an approaching deadline for an affordable housing lottery at a new 144-unit development near Interstate 495.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

Councilor Colin F. LePage Tuesday night reminded parents about parents, “Substance Abuse & The Adolescent Brain: Our Kids Are At The Crossroads,” beginning at 6 p.m., tonight, in the cafeteria at John Greenleaf Whittier middle school, 256 Concord St. LePage also spoke on the subject during the public participation segment of a recent school committee meeting. Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, who served on the school committee when the most recent high school student survey results were released last October, said it was “absolutely amazing” to find the subject is “a community-wide crisis.”

“And it truly is a crisis because our numbers actually exceed the state in one category. I believe we actually exceed the national average. This is obviously a community-wide crisis. It’s a problem we all have to deal with. When they did the poll of the Haverhill students anonymously, (what) they talked about not just with drugs but also with suicide, which is another potential crisis that we may be experiencing in our community,” Bevilacqua said.

Bevilacqua participated during the council meeting by remote teleconference.

Affordable Housing Applications Available

City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Also, councilors unanimously approved a motion by Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan to notify the public applications are due by Sunday, Jan. 31 for a housing lottery of 56 “affordable workplace” units and eight units designated as federally subsidized Section 8 housing at the new Tenney Place, 505 West Lowell Ave. Sullivan said he was told “a lot of applications” were made but “not many by Haverhill residents.” He pointed out, as an elected official, he wants to promote affordable housing which he said would complement the Harbor Place project downtown.

“We all know and have been told that most of our growth, in residential, is going to be along the highway and along the river. Come next fall, 80 units of affordable workplace housing is coming to Merrimack Street. And if you can’t envision what a game changer that’s going to be—not only to have UMass Lowell students, 2,000 or so in the area, but also to have 80 units of affordable workplace-type housing—these are people who do generate an income,” Sullivan said. “They have money and they will be spending that money in our downtown and in our community and we benefit from that.”

Sullivan noted income qualifications, for example between $27,360 and $36,780 for one person in a one-bedroom unit, apply to the housing lottery for the “very modest” affordable units at Tenney Place. Income guidelines also vary by number of residents in other two or three bedroom units.

For more housing lottery information or applications, contact HallKeen Management, Norwood, at (781) 915-3064 or e-mail [email protected].

In other actions, all nine councilors, without discussion, unanimously approved Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s appointment of Dr. Alexander Matolcsy to the Haverhill Board of Health. He succeeds retired board member Dr. Victor L. Labranche. Appointments for a new, 13-member Neighborhood Advisory Board, with 11 residents and two “ex officio” members for the city, were placed on file for a vote in two weeks.

2 thoughts on “Councilors Promote Drug Forum, Affordable Housing

  1. Tom Sullivan: Let me see if I understand correctly.
    The low income folks who end up on Merrimack Street do so because they’re earnings are minimal, but they’re going to have disposable income to spend downtown?

    • “Sullivan noted income qualifications, for example between $27,360 and $36,780 for one person in a one-bedroom” –

      That’s what I was thinking, there’s not a lot of “disposable income” in that range unless one has zero debts, doesn’t have to drive, and doesn’t have to eat much. It is also in the range of household income in Haverhill, minus the Bradford section, meaning it’s still relative poor. The Section 8 folks will most likely be adding to the already overburdened public and social systems in place now (i.e. schools), so I guess it comes down to what peoples interpretation of true “growth” is.