NH Mayors to Sununu: We need a statewide homelessness plan

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Homeless encampment on the grounds of the Hillsborough County Courthouse. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Thursday, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig joined with the other 13 mayors of New Hampshire asking New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu for a statewide plan to address the issue of homelessness in a collaborative manner.

In the letter, the mayors noted that the State of New Hampshire experienced a five percent increase in individual adults experiencing homelessness and a six percent increase in families facing homelessness between 2014 and 2018.

The mayors expressed concern over the undue burden New Hampshire’s cities face regarding helping the state’s homeless population in places like Manchester where only 27 percent of homeless people identify as being from Manchester originally or in Keene due to its status as the only city in the Monadnock region.

They added that upcoming cold temperatures expected in winter months as well as the need to socially distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic requires a more permanent solution beyond just additional shelters.

“As time goes on, hundreds more face the prospect of losing their homes or apartments due to increased housing costs, loss of income, mental illness, substance abuse disorder, family break up and domestic violence,” wrote the mayors in the letter. “It is only with the State’s support that we collectively can adequately address this homelessness crisis from a state-wide perspective. We need swift action, and we look forward to working with you on collaborative solutions to this crisis.”

When asked about the topic of a statewide plan in the past, Sununu has referred back to over $100 million given to the city on the homeless issue.

There is no public data source available that accounts for where state and federal money has gone this year for homeless services. A majority of funding is allocated to non-profits and other organizations from multiple funding streams, which makes Sununu’s $100 million figure difficult to fact check.

The last statewide homelessness plan came in 2006.

A full copy of the letter can be found below.