For Immediate Release
Says policy is another that will attract more homeless to the city
MANCHESTER, NH September 10, 2021–Responding to information published in a Union Leader news story about the pending elimination of a large homeless encampment near Exit 4 on Route 293, Manchester Republican mayoral candidate Richard Girard issued a statement condemning Mayor Joyce Craig for the city’s permissive policy on homeless encampments.
Girard’s specific concerns included social workers allegedly talking about delivering a portable toilet to the encampment and what the article refers to as the city’s “latest approach” to dealing with the camps by “allowing small camps to remain as long as they don’t generate complaints and don’t pose a health or safety hazard.” The article reports Schonna Green, Craig’s Director of Homeless Initiatives, as saying:
“If there are one or two (tents) and they keep it clean and they’re not bothering anybody, we’re not bothering them.”
The story cites Green as saying there are about 20 such small sites across the city.
“Really, this is an outrage. Instead of taking steps to make Manchester less desirable for homeless people to flock to from all over the place, the city’s giving camps sanctuary status by intentionally ignoring ordinances and laws to allow them to exist without being bothered. Porta-potties? Really? It’s stuff like this that causes homeless people to come here, enables camps to start and grow and eventually leads them needing to be broken up because they’re out of control. With 3 out of every 4 homeless vagrants on our streets already coming from outside our city, how does Mayor Craig expect to solve the problem if she’s willing to let people get away with breaking the law?
“As I’ve campaigned across the city, the rampant homeless vagrancy problem has, by far, been the most often made complaint. It has been the most intense one, too. People have had enough of the camps, the vagrants in the downtown, in the woods near their neighborhoods, on the trails, in the parks and down by the rivers. This is another situation where Joyce has made the wrong choice about the direction things should go in. Her policy proscriptions are inconsistent, incoherent and self-defeating, which is why the problem has become unmanageable during her time as mayor. If elected, I have a plan that will bring an end to the coddling, enabling and excusing the behavior of these vagrants and expect them to follow the laws everybody else has to follow. Being homeless doesn’t excuse them from the crimes they commit or give them special privileges and rights and the city absolutely shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to their violations.”