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Northampton moves closer to opening community 'resilience hub' to serve people without homes

The former First Baptist Church in Northampton, Massachusetts, which would be the the future site of city's community resilience hub.
Dan Little
/
Daily Hampshire Gazette
The former First Baptist Church in Northampton, Massachusetts, which would be the the future site of city's community resilience hub.

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts, has taken a major step forward towards opening a community resilience hub.

The hub would be located in a vacant church downtown, which the city has just signed an option to buy.

The facility would have a day center for vulnerable community members including people without homes and provide lockers, showers, and internet access. It would also be a place for them to connect to available social services.

Gina-Louise Sciarra, who is the mayor of Northampton, said the building could also serve as an emergency shelter.

"The reason it's called a resilience hub is it's also envisioned as a crisis response space, so a flexible location that can be used in case of environmental crisis or other emergency situations," she said.

Sciarra said an architecture firm will now conduct an assessment of the church to ensure the city's vision for its use and the estimated budget for the project can be met.

According to a press release issued by the mayor's office, the city plans to help pay for the new facility with $1.6 million in cannabis mitigation funds, roughly $500,000 from two types of Community Development Block Grant funds, and a $200,000 gift from Smith College.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.

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