Groups May Begin Applying for Haverhill Mental Health and Youth Activities Grants March 1

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Experts say the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the educational, social and physical well-being of Haverhill’s younger population.

As a result, for the second year in a row Haverhill is distributing grant money to various non-profits and other agencies offering programs to help low- and moderate-income youth facing those issues. On Tuesday, Haverhill city councilors heard from representatives of Anser Advisory Consultants, a Boston-based counseling group hired by the city to help allocate and distribute money to appropriate agencies. Andrea Lombardi a spokesperson for Anser Advisory explained how last year’s grant total of $500,000 was allocated.

“Last year, they received 60 applications and the applications were prioritized by the city’s application review committee. Thirty-six applicants were ultimately awarded,” she said.

Those awards included scholarships and memberships, music lessons, sports, art projects and community improvement projects.

When consultants continually referred to the program as coming from Mayor James J. Fiorentini, councilors reminded them it was the legislative body that fought for the allocation of money.

For 2023, the city’s allocation has increased to $750,000 with a third of that to go to direct mental health and substance abuse counseling and services. Two-thirds of the money comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act while the remainder comes from cannabis fees and a national opioid settlement.

This year’s program, while still highly ranking low-income families focuses on moderate income youth as well and will provide money for career development.

The timeline for agencies interested in applying for a grant is an application window opens on March 1 and closes April 14. Applications will then be reviewed and the administration of those grants will begin on May 11 and run through June 7.

Lombardi said applications may be submitted digitally as well as via hard copy in an effort to speed up the process.

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