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June Newsletter Article

UUSE: Our History

This is the first installment of this Newsletter feature and was written by Malcolm Barlow, an original member of UUSE.

A Story of UUSE and the MISAC Corporation

Religious leaders in Manchester gathered in the mid-1960s to discuss the needs of residents. They called themselves the Manchester Interfaith Social Action Committee.

Members came from Temple Beth Shalom, St. James, St. Mary’s, Center Congregational, Second Congregational, North Methodist and South Methodist—7 total. They planned to build 191 units of family housing off Oakland Street, Manchester. As the plans ripened, the committee formed MISAC, Corporation in 1967.

The MISAC leaders had invited every religious body in Manchester to join MISAC. But only the 7 religious congregations did so.

When UUSE incorporated in 1969, MISAC leaders extended the invitation to our Society, the newest church in town. We immediately and unanimously said yes! MISAC now had 8-member religious bodies.

Each member of MISAC can send 3 delegates to its board of directors. We have been sending three delegates ever since.

MISAC was the first true social action taken by UUSE, and one of its most successful. MISAC helps provide homes to low- and moderate-income families in the 191 homes at the Beechwood Apartment complex on Rachel Road off Oakland Street in Manchester. A federal HUD Section 221D3 program gave MISAC the mortgage needed to pay for building Beechwood.

Beechwood has been home to about 300 children at any point in time. Since 1969, thousands of children have grown up in Beechwood. MISAC provides high quality living at low rent 365 days a year—heat and hot water included.

MISAC paid off its HUD-insured mortgage July 22, 2010. Since Beechwood has almost always been fully occupied, rents paid, MISAC has earned funds in excess of its expenses. The MISAC directors have voted to donate this excess to promote any program in the region that supports healthy housing. MISAC has given over $2.3 million for other housing work, all of which have been successful. Today MISAC has another $1 million in available reserves for additional housing programs.

Current UUSE delegates to MISAC are Anne Carr, Stan McMillen, and Malcolm Barlow. Our MISAC board meetings have given us great satisfaction. We review new and existing programs that create and support housing. It is safe to say that without the help of MISAC’s grants, hundreds of homes would not exist today.

Beechwood gets better every year providing wonderful homes to families who could not otherwise afford them. Basic rents are no more than a third of current market rates.

The success of MISAC and the success of UUSE have tracked together since 1969.

—Malcolm F. Barlow

 

Contact Information modified in accordance with UUSE Privacy Policies.
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