A Look At The Current Homelessness Situation In Downtown Manchester With A 1.5 Hour Photo Snapshot
MANCHESTER, NH - Today is election day and marks the day that Manchester will choose a new Mayor to lead the city of Manchester for the next two years.
Homelessness has been one of the top discussions by the two candidates, Republican Jay Ruais(R), and Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh (D).
Manchester officials continue to point the blame to the state level and speak about the shelter space they have opened including 39 Beech Street.
The Beech Street shelter was originally opened as a temporary shelter last year and has continued to get additional funding to stay open.
The Beech Street shelter is running at full capacity, as well as the shelter at Families In Transition on Manchester Street. 1269 Cafe acts as a drop-in/warming shelter and sources indicate it is at capacity.
The City of Manchester passed an ordinance that the people who regularly house themselves in the city parks must vacate the parks at dark. Each day the people pack
up their belongings and take them to the sidewalk surrounding the parks.
The parking lot of a building that formerly was a law firm is a popular place for people to set up their beds after they are forced out of the parks.
The City of Manchester for several weeks forced the people to move from the sidewalks outside the shelter so the area could be cleaned and pressure washed. This continues to force the unhoused to disperse and find refuge in other parts of downtown.
Storefronts and sidewalks of downtown businesses offer the people shelter from the weather and a place to set up their beds.
The former police station at 351 Chestnut Street is another place to offer unauthorized shelter outside the building. The building is set to be torn down soon and replaced with a new apartment building.
“Affordable Housing” is a popular word used by the current officials in Manchester, and they point to projects scheduled to be completed in the future.
When we have taken the time to talk face to face with many of the unhoused people they say they wouldn’t take housing even if it was free. They cite mental health issues that are inflamed by living inside with other people, and that many of the unhoused are the only family and friends they have.
Several people point the blame on the lack of police doing an effective job, and that is far from the issue. Police have to enforce laws and also not violate peoples civil rights, those decisions are made by lawmakers and legal advisors for the city.
The fire department offers daily outreach and checks on people. Professionals from mental health and addiction recovery agencies reach out.
Many people will disagree with documenting this but as someone who lived in the city of Manchester for 55 years, and has an office here I think this is fair and accurate reporting.
We decided to do this 1.5 drive and offer a snapshot of what it really looks like downtown, and how many people are living on the streets. Take moment to check out the gallery of photos taken in the morning hours on November 7, 2023.
We are committed to doing a follow of photos on election day approximately 2 years from today.
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