$30.8M NH public housing improvements for Somersworth apartments

SOMERSWORTH — A $30.8 million overhaul of 169 Somersworth Housing Authority units at Albert J. Nadeau Homes, Filion Terrace and Charpentier Apartments has begun.

The renovations are a result of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development sponsored Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD), which is tailored to help public housing authorities preserve and improve housing properties by addressing costly backlogs of deferred maintenance and upgrades.

Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard praised SHA’s “aggressive commitment to redefining a community of hope” through these modernized housing opportunities, during a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, June 9 at the Nadeau Homes Complex.

Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard welcomes the major upgrades to Somersworth Housing Authority units Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

‘Dignity through modernizing housing’

For Hilliard, seeing this investment in the community is deeply personal.

“I lived some of my earliest years, until my parents could afford their first home with federal housing loans, in one of the apartments just steps away,” Hilliard said during the ceremony. “Programs like RAD and agencies like the Somersworth Housing Authority work, and we have a proven record of changing people’s lives. Today we celebrate how our 10-square-mile community has once again taken its next step forward by offering dignity through modernizing housing, and to offer our neighbors hope.”

SHA Executive Director Deborah Evans said that the three buildings, built in the 1960s, are getting a “much-needed makeover.”

A kitchen in a Albert J. Nadeau Homes unit awaits remodeling as part of an upgrade project for Somersworth Housing Authority apartments.

“These buildings are being completely demo’d right down to the studs,” Evans said. “Noting the age of these buildings, there was a lot of room for energy efficiency improvements. This project is more than seeing new siding, windows and sheetrock be installed, it is about recognizing the impact our partners are making to improve the quality of life for the residents. This isn’t just cosmetic work, it will be an installation of entirely new infrastructure like wiring, heating system, boilers, insulation, and other safety and convenience needs like washers and dryers or walk-in showers for our elderly tenants.”

Somersworth Housing Authority Executive Director Deb Evans leads the celebration ceremony for upgrades to aging apartments Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

The Dover Housing Authority’s Whittier Falls renovations were the first upgrades in the state to be partially funded by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. SHA’s project is the second largest public housing renovation undertaking in the state.

SHA developed key partnerships with New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, HUD,  Evernorth, Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, Eversource and Until to help fund the project. The project architect is CJ Architects and construction will be completed by Gary Chicoine Construction Corporation.  

More on Dover’s success with RAD:How Dover’s public housing is improving lives

Somersworth Housing Authority maintenance supervisor Eric Guillmette, left, leads a tour of what units look like before and during renovations Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

“This program and the partnerships we built allowed us to accomplish much needed repairs and renovations that we simply at times just could not afford through just our capital funding program,” Evans said. “This enabled us to form partnerships that could reinvest in our community not only for now, but for many years to come. Providing affordable housing is our main mission and always has been since 1961.”