MANCHESTER, N.H. - The ACLU of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Legal Assistance today filed a lawsuit against the City of Manchester to 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 and during the coldest month of the year.
“We do not believe that it is humane to evict these unhoused individuals with no plan to immediately house and relocate them in a sustainable way during the coldest month of year,” said Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Given the absence of permanent and sustainable housing resources for unhoused individuals, this planned eviction would only further ostracize, stigmatize, and endanger the safety of this marginalized community. It is unlawful, and we hope that the court will postpone this eviction until those critical needs are met.”
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.
The ACLU of New Hampshire, joined by eight other advocates and groups, yesterday sent a letter to the City of Manchester asking them to postpone the eviction.