Manchester's Liberty House Could Seek Federal Grants Again, Under Senate Amendment

May 31, 2016

Liberty House in Manchester.
Credit Brady Carlson / NHPR

  The US Senate is backing an amendment to allow a sober living home for veterans in Manchester to again seek federal funds. 

Liberty House offers housing and other resources for up to ten veterans at a time.

It’s also a sober facility – and federal policy requires grant recipients to be open to everyone rather than requiring sobriety.

Advocates of this policy, known as Housing First, say research shows getting people off the streets and then dealing with their addiction and mental illness issues better addresses chronic homelessness.

But Liberty House decided last year that the Housing First approach would compromise its core mission and decided to stop seeking federal grants rather than end its sober-only policy.

Last week the US Senate approved an amendment to a spending bill from US Senator Kelly Ayotte, which would allow sober-only facilities to again qualify for the grants.

During a visit to Liberty House Friday Ayotte said the amendment provides a middle ground for sober-only facilities as well as those that use the Housing First approach.

“This really makes sense, when you have a place like Liberty House, for them to have the opportunity, as they have had historically, to apply for these funds," Ayotte said. "They’ve used them effectively, and we know because we’ve seen the lives that have been changed and turned around, and continue to be by what you do here.”

The bill now goes to the House, but officials at Liberty House say they may not need the grants after all, as private donations have exceeded the amount they needed to raise when they decided not to seek federal funding.