New Hampshire

Londonderry Cops Dump Homeless in Manchester

Manchester’s homeless crisis is not being helped by police departments in surrounding communities dropping off their own homeless in Queen City.

“Manchester has become ground zero for the homelessness problem,” Police Commissioner Allen Aldenberg told WFEA radio host Drew Cline on Wednesday.

Aldenberg said he had confronted other New Hampshire police chiefs about the practice of bringing homeless people to Manchester for months. Instead of dealing with their local homelessness problems, they rely on Manchester to provide care and services. Last month, Aldenberg witnessed Londonderry officers bring a homeless man into the city and abandon him outside a shelter.

“It’s bad enough when other states do this to me,” Aldenberg said, “but when a neighboring community does this to me, it’s even worse.”

Manchester Police spokeswoman Heather Hamel said the Londonderry officer failed to secure the man a place at the shelter and simply left him in the city.

“The shelter had not been contacted prior to the officer’s arrival and the officer did not go inside,” Hamel said.

Londonderry Police Chief Kim Bernard did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, nor did Londonderry City Manager Michael Malaguti.

Hamel said Aldenberg has since spoken to Bernard and the two bosses now have a good working relationship.

“The two chiefs have spoken. Everything is fine,” said Hamel.

But Aldernberg is putting other communities and their law enforcement agencies on high alert. Keep blaming your problem on Manchester and you will be “named and shamed”.

Aldenberg told Cline that other communities regularly transport their homeless population to Manchester, where they are essentially left to their own devices. At one point, the large Manchester Street homeless encampment consisted largely of non-Manchester residents.

“When the camp was at 199 Manchester Street, 60 percent of these people were not from the city of Manchester,” Aldenberg said.

It’s not just communities in New Hampshire that are using Manchester as a destination for the homeless. Sanford, Maine police drove a homeless woman 60 miles to Manchester in December and dropped her off at an animal shelter. The shelter had no room for the woman, and she was found to be suffering from frostbite, according to a report in Manchester InkLink. Hamel said this type of movement is common.

Sanford Police Chief Craig Andersen did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, although he has reportedly since apologized.

The woman was stranded when she learned the shelter had no place for her. She made her way to Mayor Joyce Craig’s office at City Hall to seek help. The woman was treated and later taken to an animal shelter in Portland, Maine, where she had been secured a place by Manchester officials.

While officials may be able to do little to stop other communities from using Manchester to care for their homeless population, Aldenberg has let other police chiefs know he will begin to shame department heads who leave their homeless in Manchester.

“No boss wants to be publicly embarrassed,” Aldenberg said. “I’ll let them know if you do this to me again, I’ll make an example of you.”

Aldenberg’s officials recently oversaw the eviction of about 60 homeless people from camps set up downtown. The tents are gone for now, but the homeless are still in town, he said. He is trying to work with homeless people and city and state agencies to address the crisis.

“Obviously they’ve gone to other parts of the city that we need to address. We will not stop our way out of this problem,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

| |
Back to top button