Manchester, NH Begins Clearing Out Homeless Encampment Following Judge's Ruling

Outreach teams began notifying people living in the area about 10 days ago that the city planned to clear out and clean up the encampment, officials said

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The City of Manchester, New Hampshire, began packing up and pushing out the homeless population from an encampment that's been set up along a stretch of the city's sidewalks Wednesday.

City workers showed up bright and early Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, a Hillsborough County Superior Court judge ruled the City of Manchester could move forward with its previously-announced plan to close the encampment on Manchester and Pine streets due to ongoing public health and safety concerns.



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“This was kind of just sprung on us last minute," said Ryan Monica, who has been living in the encampment. "You know, it’s just a sad life out here.”

“It’s a no brainer, I mean you don’t fight City Hall and win, and I get it,” added Dennis Higgins, who was a party to the failed injunction against the city.

Higgins argued this eviction should not have happened until three new shelters promised by Manchester officials are up and running.

“You could have waited a couple more weeks until those shelters were open,” he said. “What harm would that have been?”

The city says outreach teams began notifying people living in the area about 10 days ago that the city planned to clear out and clean up the encampment. They say nonprofit and faith-based partners have been working with city officials since then, conducting daily outreach, connecting the homeless living here to shelters, storage for belongings and other resources.

Autumn Kostrzba, who’s also been living at the encampment said, “It’s hard for people who haven’t been homeless to understand homelessness, you know, evicting homelessness is violence. By evicting us, it’s going to create more problems.”

“It’s not one solution that’s going to solve the whole problem. There’s so many things that have to happen," Higgins said.

A nearby daycare owner, however, said the eviction is too little, too late for her business.

Kristine Larocque plans to close after dealing with months of drug use in the area, sexual activity, fights, public urination and even finding needles in their parking lot.

“We try to shield the kids as much as we can from the outgoing activity," she said. "We close the curtains, we keep the windows closed, we’ve stopped bringing them on the playground because of the activity that we’re seeing in the street, the things that we’re hearing, the things that we’re finding in the playground.”

A day care owner in Manchester says she is closing her doors after 20 years because of a growing homeless encampment across the street.

The ACLU sent a statement urging the city to postpone the eviction. "While we are disappointed with the court’s decision, we continue to believe that any eviction is unconstitutional in the absence of the City providing a 24-hour place for unhoused people to sleep," the statement said.

Many people who NBC10 Boston spoke with who were living in the encampment said they don’t know where they will be sleeping Wednesday night.

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