MANCHESTER, NH – Following a call for action from Gov. Sununu on what the city has called its “failed” services delivery system for those seeking help with addiction, Mayor Joyce Craig will be leading a discussion during regular business at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting around the topic of “Conduct In and Around Public Spaces.”
In an introductory four-page memo Craig provides the board with a summary of steps taken over the past two weeks and a bulleted list of steps already undertaken – including the hiring of Doug Howard, the city’s new Homeless Coordinator as proposed by a Homelessness Task Force.
Howard begins work Sept. 16. Howard previously has worked for Waypoint (when it was Child & Family Services), Southern NH Services and the Nashua School District, a liaison for homeless students.
The memo also includes action items, which will be part of Tuesday’s meeting agenda:
- Discuss drafting an ordinance prohibiting camping in public spaces and trespassing on public property in certain circumstances
- Amending the city’s existing ordinance on parks
- Make committee referrals for two items: a $150,000 proposal to work with an entity that has successfully address homelessness in San Antonio; and a proposal to “return those who are not in crisis back to their home ‘hub’.”
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. with public comment and can be viewed on Manchester Public TV, Channel 22, or online at Manchestertv.org.
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Below is an excerpt from a communication sent to the Board of Aldermen by Craig in advance of the Sept. 3 Board of Aldermen meeting highlighting proposed action steps. The full letter and other supporting documents relative to this topic are included at the bottom of this story.
Recent Departmental Actions Taken
As a result of our discussions, our city departments have responded with recent actions to address some of these challenges. For further detail, please see the letter from department heads included in this memo, but for your review, here are some of the key actions being taken:
- Solicitor’s Office has prepared a citizen’s guide to registering complaints (see below).
- Solicitor’s Office has prepared analysis of current applicable ordinances and state laws as well as enforcement guidelines.
- Solicitor’s Office has prepared guidelines and necessary precursors for potential adoption of sleeping/camping and trespass ordinances.
- Solicitor’s Office has prepared an amendment to the City’s ordinance prohibiting camping in parks for the Board’s consideration.
- Police will continue walking routes downtown during the day and evenings.
- Police will continue to enforce all City of Manchester ordinances with a zero-tolerance. To date, MPD has issued 371 ordinances in 2019 and recently reinforced the procedure for ejecting someone from a park with officers.
- Public Works will be posting rules, including curfew hours, at every park entrance in the city.
- Public Works will be dedicating crews to check and clean downtown parks first thing in the morning.
- The Public Works Director will be in communication with the Chief of Police regarding repeated disturbances in parks and determine if the Public Works Director needs to exercise his authority under City Ordinance 96.04(B) and change curfew hours.
- With support from state DHHS, the Health Department will be launching a mobile medical van to provide services to hard to reach populations.
- Health Department, within their role as the fiscal agent for the Healthcare for the Homeless program, recently opened a third clinic site (Wilson Street Integrated Health) at the Manchester Recovery and Treatment Center.
- As a part of the Planning and Community Development Department’s work on the 10-year master plan, they are examining how land-use regulations can assist in the efforts designed to break the cycle of homelessness and addiction.
- Instruct Solicitor’s Office to begin drafting process for potential ordinance prohibiting camping in public places.
- Instruct Solicitor’s Office to begin drafting process for potential ordinance addressing trespassing on public property in certain circumstances.
- During New Business at tonight’s meeting, support passage of amendment to the City’s ordinance prohibiting camping in parks to be brought forward by Alderman Hirschmann.
- Chairman O’Neil and Alderman Barry have been in conversations with Leon Evans and Karla Ramirez who were key players in reducing homelessness in San Antonio. Evans and Ramirez have put forward a proposal (attached) for services to support the City’s efforts to end homelessness and I would respectfully request the Board send this proposal to the Special Committee on Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Youth Services so they can begin considering it as soon as possible.
- There have been many conversations on how to reduce the influx of people from outside of the city to access Manchester Safe Station, including transitioning those who are not in crisis back to their home “hub” in the Doorway I would respectfully request the Board send this topic to the Special Committee on Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Youth Services to discuss this topic in more detail.
Full memo from Mayor Craig to the Board of Aldermen