Close up: Homelessness in Manchester

Close up: Homelessness in Manchester



GOVERNOR TRIGGERED THIS LEGISLATION. GOOD MORNING. I AM ADAM SEXTON. THE WORD CRISIS IS USED WIDELY TODAY, BUT IT IS APPLICABLE ACROSS NUMEROUS POLITICAL FRONTS, FROM DRUGS AND ADDICTION TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND MENTAL HEALTH. ALL THREE OF THESE PROBLEMS ARE ELIGIBLE IN THE GROWING PROBLEMS OF HOMELESSNESS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE CITIES. ADRIENNE BELOIN, THE NEW DIRECTOR OF HOMELESS INITIATIVES IN MANCHESTER, MEETS US AT THE STUDIO THIS MORNING. FOR SURE TO SAY ONE OF THE TORGEST JOBS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE CURRENTLY. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK TO PEOPLE AND TELL US WHAT’S GOING ON. YOU ARE THE TOP PERSON IN MANCHESTER. WHAT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT? ADRIENNE: THE SITUATION IN MANCHESTER IS CONCERNING. IT AFFECTS ALL CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES AND WORLDWIDE. WE DO WHAT MANY PEOPLE ARE DOING RIGHT NOW TRYING TO GET TO THE REASON OF THE PROBLEM AND DISCOVER HOW TO HAVE SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS AND LONG TERM PLANNING SO WE CAN SUCCESS EVERY ASPECT OF THE CITY, INCLUDING PEOPLE FALLING HOMELESSNESS SUFFER. WE WANT YOU TO WALK, REHABILITATE AND WALK WELL. AND WE NEED THE CITY AND COMPANIES TO GROW. ADAM: IF THERE WAS A QUICK AND EASY SOLUTION IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED ALREADY. WHAT HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST MONTHS? ADRIENNE: WHAT HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS IS IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT BECAUSE THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC HAS BEEN A REAL EPIDEMIC OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS. THIS HAS REALLY THROWED HOMELESSNESS INTO A NEW LOOP WHERE SUBSTANCE USE IS A VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE THAT HAS CAUSED LOTS OF HOMELESSNESS AND COULD BE, IN MANY SITUATIONS, PERPETUATED HOMELESSNESS AND PERPETATED HOMELESSNESS. WITH THE PANDEMIC, WE HAVE SHOWN THE IMPACT ON THE EXISTING EPIDEMIC AND HOMELESSNESS IN GENERAL. It exacerbated problems for people who were suffering and exacerbated problems for people living on the edge of housing or living in poverty and falling into homelessness. WE HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME. SOCIAL SERVICES HAVE A LOT OF GOING THROUGH IN THE VIEW OF THE ISSUES I MENTIONED AND THE PANDEMIC AND HAVE TO CHANGE, MOVE AND MANAGE HUMAN RESOURCES. IT HAS BEEN REALLY DIFFICULT TO TRY TO FIX A GROWING PROBLEM THE RECENT YEARS. AND FIND OUT WAYS TO MANAGE. ADAM: WHAT IS ON YOUR CHECKLIST SPECIFIC FOR MANCHESTER? WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND WHAT CAN BE DONE? ADRIENNE: WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS WE NEED TO FIND HOUSING SOLUTIONS FOR PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM HOMELESSNESS, INCLUDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING, TO MANAGE PEOPLE WHO HAVE A LIMITED INCOME AND NEED SUSTAINABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS THAT WORK FOR THEM, UP TO HIGHLY SUBSIDIZED HOUSING THIS WOULD ALSO AFFECT THE HOMELESS POPULATION WHO MAY LIVE IN APARTMENTS WITH LITTLE TO NO INCOME. WE NEED HOUSING SOLUTIONS. IN THE MEANTIME WE NEED PROTECTION SOLUTIONS. WE HAVE SOME EMERGENCY SHELTERS IN THE STATE BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH. IT’S A BIG PROBLEM NATIONWIDE AND IN MANCHESTER IT’S A BIG PROBLEM. I estimate we have between 200 and 250 people in Manchester living in different camps. THE ONE DOWNTOWN DESERVES THIS ATTENTION AND WE MUST FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE WHO VISIBLY SUFFER BUT THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE IN THE WOODS AND IN THE POCKETS. WE KNOW THAT’S TRUE. IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO DO OUR POINT-IN-TIME COUNT THIS YEAR WHICH HAPPENS IN A FEW WEEKS TO SEE HOW THE NUMBERS ARE. WE ARE LOOKING AT 200-250 HOMELESS, AND THAT’S A LARGE NUMBER. ADAM: YOU MENTION THE HIGH QUALITY STOCK THAT IS Slated TO BE VACATED IN THE COMING DAYS. THE ACLU THREATENS A LAWSUIT TO MAINTAIN STATUS QUO. WHAT IS THE CITY’S ANSWER TO WHY THESE PEOPLE NEED TO MOVE? ADRIENNE: THE ACLU THING IS SO FRESH OUR TEAM IS REVIEWING THIS SO I WILL NOT COMMENT ON THIS. THE PROBLEM WITH THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO MOVE FROM THAT PARTICULAR PIECE OF SIDEWALK IS COMPLICATED. IT IS REALLY DUE TO A DECISION WHICH IS NOT A KIND OF POLICY BY MY OFFICE FOR HOMELESS INITIATIVES, BUT A POLICY OF THE COMBINATION OF CITIES DEDICATED TO PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES. IT IS THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THOSE LIVING INSIDE THE TENTS AND WE HAVE BEEN MONITORING IT WELL, BUT ALSO THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD. WE HAD A NEED TO RESTORE THIS SIDEWALK SO WE CAN ADDRESS THE SECURITY ISSUES THERE WHILE ATTEMPTING TO DELIVER SOLUTIONS TO PEOPLE’S HOMES QUICKLY. I PROBABLY MORE THAN ANYONE IN THE CITY IS VERY CONCERNED BY THIS, THE MAYOR IS VERY CONCERNED BY THIS, ALL OF US. WE DON’T THINK THAT PEOPLE NEED TO BE OUT WITHOUT A RESOURCE THAT WORKS FOR THEM. WHAT I CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THIS TALK IS THAT THERE MUST BE A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT OFFERINGS FOR THE PEOPLE AS SHELTER AND SUPPORT. Shelter will work for some people and shelter won’t work for other people. WE SEE THIS THROUGH YOUR CHOICE TO LIVE IN TENTS AND THEY DO THIS BECAUSE OF THE DIGNITY AND PRIVACY YOU CAN AFFORD LIVING IN TENTS AND NOT AN INSTITUTIONAL FACILITIES. ADAM: YOU DESCRIBE THE BALANCATION BETWEEN THE POPULATION YOU WORK WITH AND THE OWNERS AND BUSINESSES. MANY OF THEM HAVE COME FRONT AND SAY ENOUGH. THE DAYCARE EXAMPLE, WHERE SIX ACTS ARE GOING OUT WHERE THE KIDS ARE – SEX ACTS GOING OUT WHERE THE KIDS ARE. HOW DO YOU MAKE BOTH ENDERS MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SECURE WHERE THEY HAVE PROPERTIES, WHERE THEY LIVE AND WORK, AND ALSO ADAPT TO THE NEEDS OF THE HOMELESS POPULATION? IT SEEMS THAT IT IS HARD TO DO BOTH AT ONCE. ADRIENNE: I THINK THAT’S A GOOD WAY TO DESCRIBE THIS AND I AM sympathetic to the experience of the business owners. WE HAD AN AMAZING MEETING WHERE I SAT AT THE REX THEATER WITH OUR DIRECTOR OF OVERDOSE PREVENTION TO ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM OUR BACKGROUND. I FOUND THE COMMUNITY WAS REALLY REASONABLE AND THE THINGS THEY ASKED. ALSO THERE IS AN OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT AND PEOPLE WANTING TO HELP. THE VISION I HAVE FOR HOW MANCHESTER WILL WORK TOGETHER ON THIS PROBLEM IS A CERTAIN APPRECIATION THAT HOMELESSNESS IS AN URBAN PROBLEM THAT WILL NEVER BE RAISED. THERE ARE MANY POSSIBILITIES I HAVE SAW DEMONSTRATED IN OTHER COMMUNITIES THAT I HAVE DONE THIS WORK WHERE WE CAN BE MORE INTEGRATED AS A COMMUNITY AND APPRECIATE THAT THE HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS ARE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY. YOU ARE OUR NEIGHBORS AND WE NEED TO DETERMINE THE BEST WAYS TO WORK TOGETHER. THERE CAN BE MUTUAL BENEFITS TO BOTH THE HOMELESS PART OF THE COMMUNITY AND THE HOUSING PART OF THE COMMUNITY WHERE WE CAN WORK HAND IN HAND. THERE MAY BE PROGRAMS WHERE THE COMMERCIAL DISTRICT ACTIVELY EMPLOYED HOMELESS PEOPLE TO WASH THEIR WINDOWS AND CARE THEIR FLOWERS AND MISCELLANEOUS THINGS ON THE STREET. THERE ARE POSSIBILITIES TO HAVE ACTIVITIES THAT COULD BE MUTUAL RESPECT AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT TO EACH OTHER. ADAM: IF YOU ADD MORE ACCOMMODATION SPACE, IN WHAT WAY DO YOU ATTRACT MORE PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP? IN THE MOST EXTREME FORM WE SEE IN CHURCHES THAT ESSENTIALLY PEOPLE ARE SENT TO MANCHESTER TO HAVE SERVICES DELIVERED TO THEM. ADRIENNE: WE HAVE IT DONE. IF WE HAVE EMERGENCY SHELTER BEDS THAT ARE FULL, WE SEND THEM TO OTHER COMMUNITIES. THIS IS A REALITY. WE KNOW MANCHESTER HAVE GOALS FOR DIFFERENT REASONS. WE ARE AN URBAN CENTER. WE HAVE MANY SERVICE PROVIDERS HERE. THERE IS PROBABLY ALWAYS AN ATTRACTION FOR PEOPLE COMING TO TOWN. I KNOW FOR THE HOMELESS POPULATION THEY END WHERE THEIR NEEDS CAN BE MEET. YOUR NEEDS ARE DIVERSE. SOMETIMES THERE ARE SERVICES LIKE EMERGENCY SHELTERS. SOMETIMES IT IS THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT THAT SUPPORTS YOU THE SURVIVAL BEHAVIOR THAT SUITS YOU AT ANY TIME. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE TARGETS FOR A RESPECT AND I THINK WE NEED TO ACCOMMODATE WHO IS IN OUR CITY AND WE NEED WHAT THEY NEED. ADAM: THE HOMELESS POPULATION IS OBVIOUSLY ONE THAT INTERACTS WITH THE POLICE AND THIS HAS TAKEN A NEW DIMENSION WITH THE ARREST OF ALEXANDRA ECKERSLEY THAT THE BABY WAS BORN AROUND CHRISTMAS. SHE ALLEGEDLY CALLED 911 AND THE OPERATOR TOLD HER TO LEAVE THE BABY IN THE TENT ON THE GROUND BECAUSE SHE WAS AFRAID OF THE FRIEND SHE WAS WITH AND NOW SHE WAS ACCUSED OF ALL SUCH CRIMES. ADRIENNE: I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE MANCHESTER POLICE HANDLED THE SITUATION APPROPRIATELY AND I THINK THE FIREFIGHTERS ARE UNIQUELY INVOLVED IN THESE TYPES OF EMERGENCY CALLS. I HAVE COMPLETE BELIEF AND TRUST THAT THESE TWO DEPARTMENTS ARE STRONG, THE CHIEFS ARE DONE AND THEY HAVE AN AMAZING TEAM. ADAM

Close up: Homelessness in Manchester

The word crisis is used a lot these days, but it’s applicable to a range of policy fronts, from drugs and addiction to affordable housing and mental health. All three of these problems are intertwined with the growing homelessness problems of New Hampshire cities.

The word crisis is used a lot these days, but it’s applicable to a range of policy fronts, from drugs and addiction to affordable housing and mental health. All three of these problems are intertwined with the growing homelessness problems of New Hampshire cities.

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