The Soapbox: The State does not have a plan for homelessness

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s Your Turn.

Over the past two days, nearly 100 community members across the state of New Hampshire have come together to stand in solidarity to protect and conserve the rights and property of the homeless people who live in the encampment at 300 Chestnut St in Manchester, NH. We have been able to prevent the illegal eviction of the community living here for over two days.

In response to sustained protests, DHHS and the Attorney General’s office have released a public statement implying that the campers are refusing help or do not want the services being provided by the state, including things like mental health services and hotel accommodations. We have been on the ground day and night, talking to members of the encampment and pooling our resources to meet requested needs including hot food, tents, and warm clothing. We have not seen or heard from any of the services mentioned in the press release. We welcome anyone who shares our goals of providing members of the encampment with the resources they need. We are meeting needs that have clearly not been met.

As a direct response to the false claims presented by DHHS and the Attorney General’s office, we reviewed public meeting notes from the Mayor’s office and found the following:

“The state has confirmed that they have not yet updated their 2006 plan to address homelessness. The state could not commit to there being beds or sheltered living for the individuals being displaced. The fact the State lacks emergency shelter beds, supportive housing, and shelter for couples were noted as significant issues that need to be addressed. It was also suggested that the Governor declare a State of Emergency to address the statewide issue of homelessness.” October 16, 2020. Mayor Craig Meeting notes, RE: Update Regarding Hillsborough North Superior Courthouse Property.

The state does not have a plan for homelessness. They have not updated their plan in over a decade. As a result of COVID-19 there has been a visible increase in homelessness in Manchester, and to not have a plan to address it 8 months into the pandemic is irresponsible.
No amount of lies can cover up the fact that the state of New Hampshire is trying to forcefully remove our unhoused neighbors in the midst of a pandemic by arresting them and destroying their property. There is no justifying that. Shame on DHHS and the Attorney General’s office for wasting time on lies instead of coming up with solutions.

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? We accept thoughtful submissions on topics of general interest. Send to, subject line: The Soapbox

The NH Youth Movement is a a network of young people across NH working collectively to further a united political platform– one that represents our values. We are young people struggling with massive debt, worried about losing our homes and families to climate change, and not finding hope in the future of our state.