Sends letter asking Manchester to postpone planned Tuesday sweep of unhoused population
Eviction is likely unlawful; letter requests reply by tomorrow (Friday) morning
MANCHESTER, N.H. – The ACLU of New Hampshire, joined by eight other advocates and groups, today sent a letter to the City of Manchester asking that they postpone the planned eviction of unhoused individuals at the encampment at Pine and Manchester Streets. The encampment, which may contain up to 50 people, received notice from the city that it must be fully vacated by midnight on Tuesday, January 17—immediately following the evening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
In the letter, the groups explain how the eviction and its scope are likely unlawful and additionally raise several human rights concerns—foremost, that the proposed eviction is inhumane, especially given the admitted lack of sustainable and permanent options for the unhoused community in the coldest months of the year.
The letter states, “Given the absence of such a plan to immediately house and relocate these individuals in a sustainable and humane way, we hope that the City will postpone this eviction—an eviction that will only perpetuate a costly cycle of “chasing” the houseless from place to place, and will only further ostracize, stigmatize, and endanger the safety of this community. Given the imminence of the eviction at midnight when Tuesday, January 17, 2023 begins, we ask for a commitment to postpone this eviction by Friday, January 13 at 10:00 a.m., which would allow us to seek judicial relief if appropriate.”
As Manchester itself has acknowledged, this unhoused population has nowhere else to go on a sustainable basis for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Capacity at the Families in Transition Adult Emergency Shelter is full, with some unable to get a bed for days in a row. The temporary warming center, located at the Cashin Senior Activity Center, is only open from 7:00pm to 6:00am—with the 6:00am daily eviction often being about the coldest time of the day.
In addition to the ACLU of New Hampshire, the following people and organizations signed onto the letter:
- Stephen Tower, Esq., Staff Attorney, New Hampshire Legal Assistance
- Lily Milwit, Esq., National Homelessness Law Center
- Brandon Lemay, Housing Justice Organizer, Rights & Democracy N.H.
- N.H Harm Reduction Coalition
- Maggie Fogarty, NH Program Director, American Friends Service Committee
- Grace Kindeke, NH Program Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee
- Viola Katusiime, Deputy Director, Granite State Organizing Project
- Dam Wright, Advocate