Haverhill Directs Bulk of $1 Million Federal CDBG Aid to Poor Neighborhoods and Families

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill plans to continue using its federal Community Development Block Grant to prop up its poorest neighborhoods and needy families.

The Haverhill City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution allowing Mayor James J. Fiorentini to submit the city’s plan for spending about $1 million during the coming year. Community Development Director William Pillsbury Jr, told councilors this year’s allocation went up by 5 percent.

“Our emphasis this year, as it has been for many years in the past, has been to have a coordinated effort aimed at neighborhood stabilization primarily in the Mount Washington and the Acre neighborhoods that are our target area,” he said.

In addition to improving housing and sidewalks in those areas, Pillsbury said, up to 15 percent of the total grant will go to public services.

“This year, we’re supporting a variety of our food pantries. We’re supporting heating assistance. We’re supporting elderly meals programs, homeless programs and the like,” Pillsbury added.

The federal program was created in 1974 to help low-income families with affordable housing and other health and welfare issues. Haverhill has participated for more than 40 years since the program replaced the federal urban renewal program.

The Council approved the program by a vote of 8 to 0 with Councilor Michael S. McGonagle abstaining due to a potential conflict of interest.

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