Tents And People Removed From Manchester Street Encampment In Lengthy Day Long Process
Updated: Jan 18
Manchester, NH - The deadline was Tuesday for people to move out of the encampment outside the Families In Transition Shelter, but Wednesday morning became the day dismantling began.
Early Wednesday morning outreach workers from several agencies gathered on Manchester Street as DPW workers and police officers put up barriers to close down the street. Barriers were also placed on Pine Street closing one lane to give people in the encampment room to work,
DPW workers delivered several black totes with yellow lids to provide the people a place to secure belongings that the City of Manchester is going to store in a secure place for them. Previous encampment removals only allowed one tote per person but this time people could get as many totes as they wanted.
At about 10 a.m. people began the process of packing their belongings in totes, and shopping carts and some loaded their items in the vehicles of friends who were helping them.
Residents in the encampment were advised that DPW workers would begin removing unwanted items at noon. A large DPW truck with a boom outfitted with a claw scooped up clothes, tents, and belongings and loaded it into a truck.
A front loader and several dump trucks arrived and assisted in removing unwanted items while other DPW workers loaded totes into trucks to transport them to a secure facility.
Gilles Bissonnette, the Legal Director for the NH ACLU and worked to stop the city by a suit filed in court was on scene most of the day answering questions for the people being evicted. Supporters of the homeless community set up a table serving coffee and donuts to those packing up their belongings.
Mid-afternoon cars lined up along Pine Street inside the erected barriers loading the belongings of people they were assisting.
Several people had multiple carts loaded and pulled them away from the encampment headed to downtown Manchester.
When asked where they would go, some did not want to answer or said they didn’t know. Others said they would set up in downtown Manchester, possibly along Elm Street where they can be in well-lit areas and feel safe.
The City of Manchester said that the Cashin warming shelter on the westside will remain open and available for people to spend the night inside.
At Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Alderman, funds were approved to set up a 24-hour shelter at 39 Beech Street, which is an abandoned industrial building. They also approved for the bus terminal at Canal and Granite Street to be used as a warming shelter.
The clearing of the encampment appeared to be peaceful, there were no arrests, and the people living there praised the police for working with them.
The City issued a lengthy update outlining all the steps they are taking to make accommodations and keep people safe.
©Jeffrey Hastings www.frameofmindphoto.com/news
Manchester Emergency Operations Center Update
MANCHESTER, NH - On Wednesday, January 18th, the Governor and Executive Council approved the City of Manchester’s use of the vacant Tirrell House at 15 Brook Street as a women’s shelter. The City previously announced a partnership with YWCA New Hampshire to staff this new shelter location.
The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved of a Use of Premises Agreement with the State on January 11, 2023.
The Executive Council vote follows last night’s vote by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to unanimously approve a location for a 24/7 winter emergency shelter at 39 Beech Street.
The facility is currently being renovated for use as a shelter, to include at least 40 beds, shower and laundry facilities, as well as meals and other wraparound services.
“I am grateful for the Executive Council’s vote allowing Manchester to utilize the vacant Tirrell House in Manchester as an emergency women’s shelter,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “With our partners at the YWCA New Hampshire, the City will work to open and staff this shelter as soon as possible to provide a safe location for women experiencing homelessness in our city.
“Manchester city leadership and our nonprofit partners are working every day to address the needs of unhoused individuals, and last night the Board of Mayor and Alderman voted to fund a new 24/7 emergency shelter. As this crisis lands at the feet of local communities, we will continue to seek partnerships with our state and county governments for immediate and long term solutions.”
Use of the Tirrell House was requested by eight of New Hampshire’s Mayors in a January 3rd letter to Governor Sununu, Acting Commissioner of Health and Human Services Lori Weaver, and Associate Commissioner Christine Santaniello to address a statewide shortage of emergency shelter beds for women experiencing homelessness.
Additional EOC Updates
The City of Manchester Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was opened on January 6th to serve as a consolidation point for the first responders and departments to facilitate decision making to address unsheltered homelessness. In order to address the unsheltered homelessness crisis in the State of New Hampshire, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen have allocated $871,990 from the City’s remaining ARP, CDBG, and Affordable Housing Trust Fund dedicated to address immediate needs and concerns.
To support this work, the City of Manchester has also partnered with Granite United Way to launch the Manchester Winter Relief Fund, as a way for community members to support this work. That fund can be accessed here:
Text WINTERMHT to 41444 to make a donation.
Visit www.graniteuw.org to make an online donation
Mail checks made payable to: Granite United Way, 22 Concord Street, Floor 4,
Manchester, NH 03101 with Manchester Winter Relief Fund in the memo.
These initiatives are in addition to the City’s continued work to address homelessness and housing insecurity, which include over $11,000,000 of federal funds allocated to supportive and affordable housing over the last two years, daily outreach to encampments by first responders and outreach workers, administering the state’s only Healthcare for the Homeless program, and more.
Temporary Warming Station with Cots
Since Friday, January 6th, the City of Manchester has provided a temporary winter warming station with cots at the William B. Cashin Senior Activity Center, open from 7:00 pm until 6:00 am daily. The Cashin Center has been used by between 6 and 20 individuals nightly, serving 51 unique individuals.
A temporary warming station with cots will continue to be available nightly until the 24/7 shelter is available for use.
Additional Services in Manchester
The former Manchester Transportation Center is open today, January 18th, as a resources hub and includes representatives from Harbor Care, Vets Services, Families in Transition, Manchester Mental Health, the Veterans Administration for anyone needing connections to case workers or assistance in accessing additional services.
In addition to the facilities being operated by the City of Manchester, 1269 Cafe and HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery operate a warming station at 456 Union Street with the ability to serve up to 70 individuals. They are open nightly from 8:00pm - 7:00am. Sunday through Friday, they are open throughout the day, beginning at 8:30am and serve lunch from 11:30am - 1:00pm.
Families in Transition operates the largest state-funded adult emergency shelter in New Hampshire, with 138 beds. Last night, Families in Transition had three available beds for men.
Waypoint also offers the State of New Hampshire’s only emergency shelter for youth, with 14 beds for individuals ages 18-24.
Individuals can access state-wide shelter services or access Substance Use Disorder Support through The Doorway of Greater Manchester by calling 2-1-1 or 866-444-4211.