New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

Judge: Manchester Can Evict Homeless From Downtown Sidewalks

Posted Jan 19, 2023 by: Nancy West

Superior Court Judge John Kissinger ruled Tuesday that the eviction of about 50 people living in tents on Manchester sidewalks can go ahead.

The encampment is outside the Families in Transition shelter in the area of Pine and Manchester streets in downtown.

“The Court believes the city should continue to work to provide better shelter options for the people residing at the encampment,” Kissinger wrote. “The court is very concerned that 21 of 24 hours still leaves the unhoused people with potentially three hours or more of time when they do not have shelter. In winter months in New Hampshire, this potentially exposes people to real health risks.”

Still, Kissinger cited a Manchester city ordinance that makes it unlawful to use public space for camping without permission.

It says Manchester police shall enforce this camping section only when the individual is on public property and there is an available overnight shelter.

The plaintiffs argued the city cannot enforce it because of insufficient overnight shelter for the individuals at the encampment.

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