Manchester NH

Manchester NH

why are we "NH Under The Bridge"?

NH Under The Bridge is an organization founded on the principle that in order to end homelessness, people who are homeless must become an organized, effective voice for systemic change.

Our position is that if you lose your housing and chose to live in public spaces rather than go to shelter the police should not abuse your constitutional and human rights! We fight to end selective enforcement of Quality of Life regulations (we ask "Whose Quality of Life" is improved by moving homeless people from public spaces?)

It's not a homeless crisis - it's a housing crisis!

The city's best hope for reducing and preventing homelessness is a commitment to addressing the skyrocketing rents and general housing shortage that plagues NH and drives people by the thousands into homelessness. Yet at the same time as the homeless population continues to escalate, landlords and the city continue to keep buildings empty and gentrify our neighborhoods.

We are a citywide organization and our constituency includes homeless people living in shelters as well as those living on the streets and in other public places. We serve a broad population of people because homelessness cuts across all boundaries: race, ethnicity, culture, gender, family composition, age, sexual orientation, language, etc., but what all homeless people have in common as a community is extreme poverty and social stigmatization.

There are currently over 5000 people in the NH shelter system, In addition the 14.000 people who came forward to ask for help but found no room at the shelters. These numbers do not include street-dwelling homeless people, or the hundreds of families waiting for placement in a shelter, or the doubled-up households throughout the state that go uncounted.

Our outreach targets individuals from within the shelter system, as well as those who are unable/unwilling to live within it. We meet them on their turf and their terms.

NH Under The Bridge was founded on the principle that homeless people have civil and human rights regardless of our race, creed, color or economic status. NH Under The Bridge Was founded by homeless and formerly homeless people. We refuse to accept being neglected and we demand that our voices and experience are heard at all levels of decision-making that impact us.
We oppose the quality of life laws that criminalize homeless people in any form by the city, state and national governments. We work to change these laws and policies as well as to challenge the root causes of homelessness. Our strategies include grass roots organizing, direct action, and educating homeless people about their rights, public education, changing media stereotypes, and building relationships with allies.

"Under the bridge isn't just a place, It's a way of life some have to face cold and alone outside the fortunate can’t live life, cause they can't afford it. Under the bridge isn't a place, it's a feeling you get when you are all alone, no rescue in sight and The only thing on your mind is where you'll sleep tonight"-Jamie Kupchun 1999

about the project

Under The Bridge is self supporting through our own contributions and it survives on God's Providence, through your generosity. We are not a non-profit and do not give tax receipts. Nothing comes in that does not go out directly to the people in need. We dont need money, we need goods and food to distribute.

We can’t measure smiles; how many weeks it takes for someone to finally trust us and tell us their name.
Some get financially better off; they become employed, sober, or qualify for other programs.
Some get off the street,Some don’t. Some die.
We are not in charge of the final outcome but we are able to help along the way with a little compassion and a lot of understanding. Anyone can do what we do.It starts with a smile and a greeting.

We have found that one of the most important things you can offer is your time and friendship. We see the same people every day and make sure we know their name and begin to find out their story. That way we can find out what they need and want instead of having to guess what they could use. Each person is an individual, one may need new socks and someone else would need a toothbrush.
Your friendship is invaluable. Your experience, strength and hope is all you can offer at times, it is essential.

As homelessness continues to increase, so does the outrage of death on our streets. Having a permanent roof over one’s head, an adequate income and health care would greatly reduce the number who die homeless.
Having treatment programs with available drop-in beds would further facilitate the addict into recovery from the street, as is is not normal for a street person to be able to call for a bed daily, as is required now.

I Stand at the Door

By Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world -
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door - the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch - the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man's own touch.

Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it - live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in -
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. 'Let me out!' they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door -
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But - more important for me -
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

'I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homeless Memorial Day vigil 2009

many times people come forward with names that should be on our list, here is how it happens:

My Uncle's name was Howard E. Heselton, Jr. (Hezzy) born June 20, 1950 and he died December 24, 2001."

beating and robbery of homeless man in concord

The link:

CONCORD, N.H. -- Three Concord residents are facing attempted murder charges in connection with what police have called a severe beating and robbery of a homeless man.

According to investigators, Thomas Croswell, Robert Potter and Jamie Locke attacked and robbed the victim Wednesday night in wooded area near the Everett Arena. Police said the assailant tried to dispose of the victim in the river.

The 19-year-old victim remained hospitalized Saturday. The three assailants are set to be arraigned Monday on conspiracy to commit murder charges.


now most likely these other people camped along the river will be forced out. There is no room at the shelter in Concrod, McKenna House houses about 30 people. There is an overnight emergency shelter in a church, but folks prefer to have a place to stay also during the day. especially like today with hard rains.

we'll keep you posted

Thursday, October 29, 2009

another daughter found a parent on our memorial list

It isn't a hard thing to list someone's name
someone you may have know or not,
someone from your community
who wasnt born homeless
who had a family
that disengaged or were lost

it isn't hard to answer questions when
family members find a name
of their loved one.

each name has a story
all theirs
but part mine,
part yours
and most of all how we treat each other

"The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity"
-Leo Tolstoy

"For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows that they have lived or not. “ -Fyodor Dostoevsky

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

next of kin

got a call from one of our local hospitals the other day. an MSW whom I have had contact with previously wanted to ask me if I knew a fellow. She said he came in for alcohol detox and quickly became unresponsive and is now on a vent. said he has no kin listed and she went through traditional channels, city welfare, police, mental health.
I didnt know him. told her I would say a prayer for him and that she finds next of kin. It is sad and true that aloholism is a little understood disease and that it ends with jails, institutions and death.

Its kind of funny to that the professional world has begun to recognize that we are in the community, that we are experts in homeless issues.

speaking at Hooksett Lions club on 9/3

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Karen Angela Carter-Turgeon

Photo by Will Stewart of
with stroy "They call her "Crazy" Karen"

Subject: Letter to editor

Thank you Manchester Express and Brian Early for your story on Karen Carter. You certainly captured the Karen that most of us know, but there is more to her story than, “Crazy Karen”

I have know Karen Carter for many years and at our monthly counsel meeting in Laconia on Wednesday I was asked by Grandfather Donald Newell our former Chief of to share more information about our friend Karen Carter.

Before Manchester knew Karen directing traffic downtown she was a member of the Passamaquoddy Joint-Tribal Counsel ( Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes people) and the NH Native American Inter-Tribal Counsel.

While she was activist in the Manchester community she was also active in Native Rights in many ways.

In the late 70’s early 80s The Passamaquoddy tribe sued Maine in Federal Court over land rights regarding Indian Island and the small area they were forced to live in while large paper mill corporations harvested on Maine’s Indian Lands. They stated the Dept of interior failed to fulfill national guardianship duties owed to Maine’s tribes and after a long battle a Joint Memorandum between Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Negotiating committee along with the White House work Group was signed in 1978.

The battle continued until President Carter made appearance in Maine and in 1980 President Carter signed the Maine Indian Settlement Act giving $81.5 million to the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Tribes to purchase 300,000 acres of

land. Also gave tribes $27 million trust fund for economic development.

In 1986 Karen and Harold Pins produced a film “Our Lives in Our Hands” which

examines the traditional Native American craft of split ash basketmaking as a means of economic and cultural survival for Aroostook Micmac Indians of northern Maine.

She also served on the Board of now defucnt Sargent Museum of Archeology, which was incorporated 1994 and held Penacook artifacts from the Smyth Site and Eddy Road in Manchester. The Smyth site was an important fishing station; it was a village site for the Penacook’s and excavation of the site was of urgency to due to impending bridge construction in the mid-eighties.

While on the streets in Manchester she would sometimes say to passersby, “get off my land” or “I can’t be homeless on my own land” and knowing her background, one can understand why she laid claim to her small area in the valley of the Merrimack River.

Our neighbors who are homeless, were not born in our streets, they have multifaucited lives with various backgrounds and if we don’t take the time to know them, we miss out on understanding how we are all connected.

Cindy Carlson NH Native American Inter-Tribal Counsel

this was the article theManchester Express had already printed

RIP Queen City's 'unofficial mayor'

by Brian Early

Highly visible Karen Carter had surprisingly big impact

"You think you own Manchester, huh? You don't. I do. Do you know who I am? I invented Dental Dams."

That was Samatha Appleton's first first conversation with Karen, the unoffical Mayor of Manchester. Appleton the director of public relations at Intown Manchester, became good friends with her. Karen would stop by and talk about Manchester and seemingly had wild stories.

"She had a way of making you almost believe them", Appleton said.

Karen didn't trust me until she knew I was friends with Appleton. Once she trusted me, she no longer yelled at me. If she saw me driving towards her, she'd stop and say something to make me laugh.

Appleton called me in tears two weeks ago. Karen Angela Carter would no longer stop by her office. She would no longer direct traffic. She would no longer stand and speak passionately about mental illness at the city's goverment meetings. She died May 13 at 3pm, she lost her battle with cancer.

In later years, she was known by many as Crazy Karen. That's what I first though of her before I knew her. But she was a caring person who fought fot the rights of others.

" She would go and stand before the Mayor and the alderman and stick up for people who didn't have a voice," remembers Tracy Deggs, a Manchester community activist. "She didn't treat the guy in the suit or the homeless guy any different. Everyone is a human being.

Sometimes she was homeless, sometimes not. Often she struggled to survive. But that wouldn't stop her from trying to donate her limited means to others. Fred Robinson of New Horizonsremembers her trying to donate a dollar to one of their fundraisers.

" you need that for yourself," He told her. "She tried to donate whatever she had."

Sean Thomas, advisor to Mayor Frank Guinta, recalls Karen as active in city life.

" She was one of the smartest people I know. She could tell you everything going on in the city," he said. " Karen knew everyone and could remember their names. Politicians wiould die for that skill."

Last year she stopped Thomas. She was hungry and asked Thomas to buy her a hot dog from a street vendor. The vendor overheard the conversation.

"Karen I will take care of you, " the vendor told her. He gave her two hot dogs and a soda. "People looked out for her."

It is difficult to know fact from fiction in Karen's life. All the infromation is hearsay, but collaborated with poelpe who knew her. Karen was born 60 years ago in Lawerence, Mass. She was born into a large family, some of whom are in Maine and California. She worked as the director of admissions at Lawerence General Hospital. She moved to New Hampshire. She worked in Concrod managing a pizza place and worked as a receptionist at a dentists office.

She served on the board of the now disbanded Sargent Museum. She wopuld frequent the Franco-American Center on Concord Street to keep up with her French.

In Manchester, she worked as an advocate for the homeless and people with mental illness. And she looked out for others. She was know to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with her limited means and distribute them to homeless folks in Manchester.

I wish I had known her sooner. But at least I was able to dance with her to the music of Del Sol during the summer park music series last year.

My favorite story is when I sat with Karen and Appleton on the sidewalk of Elm street, two professional women were walking side by side and talking.

" Single file ladies," Karen told them. "This is not a parade."


Our Lives in Our Hands: Film Facts
Preview available at FolkStreams,94
1986, 16mm
49 minutes, Color
Description: This 1986 film examines the traditional Native American craft of split ash basketmaking as a means of economic and cultural survival for Aroostook Micmac Indians of northern Maine. This documentary of rural off-reservation Indian artisans aims to break down stereotypical images. Basketmakers are filmed at their craft in their homes, at work on local potato farms and at business meetings of the Basket Bank, a cooperative formed by the Aroostook Micmac Council. First person commentaries are augmented by authentic 17th century Micmac music.
Featuring: Donald Sanipass, Mary Sanipass, Paul Phillips, Harold Lafford, Marline Sanipass, Cathy Murphy, Sarah Lund, David Sanipass
Copyright: 1986 Carter/Prins
Filmmaker(s): Karen Carter, Harald Prins
Produced by: Karen Carter, Harald Prins
Cinematography: Eric Muzzy, Robert Brady
Editing: Bruce Jehle
Sound: Stuart Mann
Acknowledgements: Sponsored by the Aroostook Micmac Council. Music by Stuart Diamond. Music based on a song by Micmac Shaman Chief Sagamore Henri Membertou (1510-1611). Ethnographic consultant: Bunny McBride. Assistant camera Darryl Mitteldorf. Assistant sound Linda Ende. Research consultants Harald Prins, Bunny McBride. Stills by Nova Scotia Museum, Parks Canada, Queens County Museum, Steve Lapidus. Rerecorded at Trans-Audio by Dick Vorisek. Opticals by TRI-PIX Film Service, Inc. Negative cutting by Lawrence Mischel. Color by TVC Laboratories, Inc. Special thanks to Laumic Company, Inc. and Mary Sara Archer, Thomas Augustine, Annie Bishop, Arden Bull, Dora Dow, Willard Doyen, Patrick Ende, Mary Martha Francis, Abraham Harquell, Eileen Jehle, Cheryl Lafford, Henry Lafford, Marguerite McNeal, Jerick Morey, Tania Morey, Pamela Murphy, Patricia Murphy, Sayyeda Murphy, Eric Nelson, Lisa Nelson, Michael Nicholas, Betsy Paul, Fred Peter Paul, Andrew Phillips, Betty Phillips, Elizabeth Phillips, Steve Phillips, William Phillips, Lisa Sanipass, Rolenda Sanipass, Thomas Schools, Mary Shaw, Randy Silliboy, Richard Silliboy, Joe Simon, Marty Simon, Mathilda West, Ruth Whitehead, Elizabeth Zernicke.
Funding: Sponsored by the Aroostook Micmac Council ; Funded by a major grant from the Maine Humanities Council, Inc., The Vera List Foundation, and private contributions

Distribution: Documentary Educational Resources
101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472
Distributor Email: Contact
Distributor Website: Documentary Educational Resources
Distributor Telephone: 617-926-9519

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Really Happens to Mentally Ill Offenders When They Leave Prison

Please read and share this press release about the upcoming premiere of a FRONTLINE documentary, "The Released." The program looks at the lives of the seriously mentally ill who are newly released from prison and their struggles to find care and support in their communities that helps them stay out of prison and reintegrate into society.

What Really Happens to Mentally Ill Offenders When They Leave Prison
Tuesday | April 28, 2009 | 9 P.M. ET on PBS

Five years ago, FRONTLINE's groundbreaking film, The New Asylums, went deep
inside the Ohio prison system as it struggled to provide care to thousands of mentally ill inmates. This year, FRONTLINE filmmakers Karen O'Connor and Miri Navasky return to Ohio to tell the next chapter in this disturbing story: what happens to mentally ill offenders when they leave prison. The Released-airing on Tuesday, April 28, at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), is an intimate look at the lives of the seriously mentally ill as they struggle to remain free.

As communities across the country face the largest exodus of prisoners in history, the issue has never been more pressing. This year alone, over 700,000 people will leave prison, more than half of them mentally ill. Typically, these offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 in cash, and two weeks' worth of medication. Studies show that within 18 months, nearly two-thirds of mentally ill offenders-often poor and cut off from friends and family-are re-arrested.

In 2007, Lynn Moore, armed with bottles and bricks, broke into a house looking for
Osama bin Laden. A paranoid schizophrenic with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, he was arrested more than 20 times and sent to prison for the fourth time. After serving eight months, Moore was released without supervision. FRONTLINE follows him from his first day of freedom to a homeless shelter in Canton, Ohio. "I don't think people understand how hard it is to transition from prison life back to everyday life," says Scott Schnyders, program director at Refuge of Hope, the shelter that housed Moore.

For about a month, Moore stays on his medication and does well. But when he fails a breathalyzer test, he is asked to leave the shelter-and, like the majority of
unsupervised ex-offenders, he is unable to remain on medication. After once again
searching for bin Laden, Moore resurfaces at the county jail, where he has been
charged with criminal damage for throwing rocks at a trailer. Asked about the
incident, Moore tells FRONTLINE: "It is no delusion. ... It was the devil, Antichrist,
bin Laden, Satan, Saddam." After 30 days, Moore is released from jail. But one week later, he is re-arrested.

"The realities of psychiatric treatment for those coming out of incarceration is that it
is nonexistent or very poor," says Dr. Mike Unger, a psychiatrist with a community
outreach team. "This isn't a population that's going to come with their planners and
their organizers ... and be compliant with their medications and keep them in that
perfect little medication box as they live behind a dumpster somewhere."

Finding housing is always difficult for ex-offenders, but the challenge is even more
acute for the mentally ill who need treatment. "For the severely mentally ill, there is
virtually no facility designed for long-term inpatient care," says Sherri Sullivan,
director of Bridgeview Manor, the only residential treatment center in Ohio that
accepts the indigent mentally ill. "If they exist, they exist in the form of a group
home, and most group homes don't offer treatment."

FRONTLINE also tracks down Keith Williams, a paranoid schizophrenic who had
been arrested more than 10 times since producers first met him in 2004. Now at
Northcoast, a state psychiatric hospital in Toledo, Ohio, Williams has been stabilized
on forced medications. "I'm doing a whole lot better," Williams says. "I want better
things in life than this just, you know, going back and forth to jail, back and forth to

But Northcoast, like all other state psychiatric hospitals, now provides only short-term crisis care. "The good news is that Keith is getting better," says Michelle Istler-Perry, a nurse at Northcoast. "And in a sense, the bad news as well is that because of this, he'll be sent back into the community in Toledo, and he'll be back within three months, ... probably very psychotic, and hopefully not having hurt somebody." Once released, Williams will be responsible for taking his own medication. Asked how he'll know when to take his pills, Williams tells FRONTLINE: "I would know when to take them because ... if I feel like kaboo-ka-kaboojaning, ... I mean groovy or foamy or something, ... that's when I know I already took them."

Four days after being discharged from Northcoast, Williams assaults a police officer. He is facing 10 years in prison. "We release people with two weeks' worth of medication. Yet it appears it's taking three months for people to actually get an appointment in the community to continue their services," warns Debbie Nixon-Hughes, former mental health bureau chief of the Ohio Department of Corrections. "And if they don't have the energy and/or the insight to do that, they're going to fall through the cracks and end up back in some kind of criminal activity."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Its a good day

Last fall I found a woman in the park, my peer, called herself "Lost one".
The relationship developed as they do, meeting material needs, basic food, warm socks, advocacy.

dont know that I have permission to tell her whole story, but today its Easter, a day of new beginings.

she sits here with a son that she hasnt seen in 20 years, came up to visit from down south.
she calls her daughter in nearby state as they are waiting for grandaughter to be born.

she talks to a son on computer. he in the Marines serving overseas.

she now has her disability benefits that she paid in through her years of work.

she is looking for her own apartment.

she is no longer lost, and uses her real name.

Homelessness is just a snapshot of a life:in that snap,

She was kicked out of the shelter on a rumor.

she was pushed around by the police.

she was in a tent lacking all other resources.

she was "anti-social" -labeling is so dangerous to people.

she was sarcastic and cynical-she had good reason.

today she is grateful, inside, full of hope and welcomed into our community family

She is found.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

flashback-Anneli Dyer

I just started getting email from a gentleman who googled Anneli's name.
It is important that we keep track of our homeless deaths because there are people who have cared about them and have lost touch.

He said" I live in San Diego, CA, and I've been trying to find old friends. I was interested in finding out more about Anneli Dyer, and your project, if I could. I knew an Anneli Dyer here in California, in the sixties, and I am saddened to hear that she may be the person on your website...I was watching a Finnish ice skater on TV and I thought of her, so I Googled her name and her name came up on your site.
My first landlady was Anneli's adoptive Mom. I lived right behind her and
her two brothers, she was voted Miss Cookie for the Girl Scouts. I was
like a big brother to her. When I was in Vietnam ( 1966-1968) we exchanged
letters( I may still have) and she was having some troubles with her Mom and
boys....when I came home I saw her a few times at Ocean Beach..., but I gradually lost touch....I've thought about her often since and I am very sad that she is gone, especially like that. I only wanted to be sure it was her, for sure, and to fill in a few more details. I've just missed her.

So there you have it. people have told me that the list is morbid. I believe that it is important, as important of keeping any persons memory alive. There may be family looking for the lost and today I am responsible.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Carl's garden

Carl's Garden

Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could
really say they knew him very well. Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened. He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members
approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, 'Would you like a drink from the hose?'

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, 'Yeah, sure,' with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and
his wallet, and then fled.

Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it. 'Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?' the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.

Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. 'Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday.'
His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, 'Carl, what are you doing?' 'I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately,' came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall. Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.

'Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time.'

The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.
'What's this?' Carl asked. 'It's your stuff,' the man explained. 'It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet.' 'I don't understand,' Carl said. 'Why would you help me now?'

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. 'I learned something from you,' he said. 'I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.' He stopped for a moment. 'I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so
here it is back.' He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. 'That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.' And with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know
sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church.

The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life.
In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, 'Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.'

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: 'Person needed to care for Carl's garden.' The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door.

Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. 'I believe this is my job, if you'll have me,' the young man said. The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the
stolen watch and wallet to Carl.
He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, 'Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him.'

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done.
During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, 'My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday.'

'Well, congratulations!' said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. 'That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?'
'Carl,' he replied.

wanted- experienced blogger help

we need some help like
how do we get links to open up to new windows instead of the scroll hunt method
any suggestions?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

the weather outside is frightful-lights are out for many

for all your complaining that you have no electricity, all one really has to do to become grateful is to drive down the highway and look towards the river, in many cities and towns, there you'll see a tent peaking out through the trees. I am sure these folks arent complaining because they dont have elcetricity. They are lucky to have a tent, a few blankets and maybe a fire.

outreach crew

the current UTB crew

Ben, newly sober, newly housed and highly spiritual, he believes that all people are children of God and deserving of shelter, safety, security, medical and food.
It is amazing to watch him interact with his peers and watch him grow in the process.

Paul, has been clean and sober almost a decade. He states that he is alcoholic and heroin addict. While he was never homeless in his life, he has had his share of challenges. He says he is looking for his sense of prupose.
He once owned an apartment building, though he lost it as a result of his addictions. He now lives in a small over-priced apartment and works daily to maintain his housing and his serenity.
When he first went out to the homeless camps he remarked " its like when I was a kid and I needed to isolate from my crazy family, the difference is when I got sick of being out there, I went back home"


Terry, has been clean and sober for over two years and believes that by working at a grassroots level, great things will and do happen. He feels a connection to our homeless brothers and sisters and hopes to be able to make a difference in their lives and grow even more spiritually.

Samatha is a college student from UNH she joined us in spring 2008 because she needed 15 hours of community service, she is long done her hours. She stated that working with the people is like caring for her granparents and and other relatives, and she was wholehearted saddened when a man she had developed a friendly relationship died that summer.
she says, ignorance was never really bliss, but now there is no going back.
We love her youthful enthusiasim.

Joe started out in the street right where he is serving now. He has a year and more of sobriety. He said he could easily romantize that it was like on the street, hot days and hard times in apartment, could make him think of the coolness by the river, but by attending to peers he not only keeps himself sober but he is a role model for others who knew him before.

Others come and join us on a drop by basis

and then there's me learning that consistency is essential to building trust.

death on the street

Our friend Joe was a diabetic Christian man who lived outside for the past 10 years. He found that he wasnt comfortable at the shelter because people used profanity. When I first met him he told me if I wanted to know who he was I would have to read the book of Job from the bible. He read the New Testament everyday and at Homeless Memorial Day vigils he sang "Amazing Grace"like an angel.

I wish that his story ended the way of Job when God returned him to renewal and prosperity. "And Job died being old and full of days" I do not know the ways of God, perhaps Joe lived to teach us compassion.

Joe was found in his camp, passed away on May 24th, 2008.
This picture was taken the year he went with us to "Gimme Shelter" a sleepout on the NH Statehouse.

The figures behind him are a visual representation of the persons who had already passed away in NH while homeless.

'Word was he died on the street'
Homeless to honor their friend 'Razor'
October 21, 2008
Monitor file Raymond “Razor” Luoma, who was homeless, died last week. He was well-known to other homeless people in Concord.

The homeless community will remember one of their own, Raymond "Razor" Luoma, at an event Friday night.
Luoma, 50, died last week. "The word was he died on the street," said the Rev. David Keller, pastor of First Congregational Church in Concord, which houses a winter shelter where Luoma had stayed.
The Monitor profiled Luoma last year. He had been homeless for most of his life. Keller said Luoma was a survivor of Eastern equine encephalitis and had been interviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "He wore that like a badge," Keller said. "He thought he was some kind of stuff for having CDC researchers talk to him."
He is survived by two daughters, a brother and a sister. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Maple Grove Cemetery in Concord.
The American Friends Service Committee will include a memorial to Razor in its annual program Give Me Shelter, which will be held Friday night. The program will include a group of mostly high school and college students sleeping outside to dramatize the plight of the state's homeless population, said Arnie Alpert, the state's program coordinator for the AFSC. The group will set up about 4 p.m. in front of the State House, then will go to the Friendly Kitchen for dinner and return to the State House Plaza for a discussion that will include people


Photo By Preston Heller

Structural Causes of Homelessness

Structural Causes of Homelessness

Betty Reid Mandell
ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN some homeless people, their numbers increased dramatically during the Reagan Administration. The federal government cut back on building houses and subsidizing housing for low-income people as well as social assistance programs. Urban renewal and gentrification forced people out of low-rent housing, and wages declined with deindustrialization and outsourcing. Cities used land use policies to help corporations and real estate interests squeeze out the poor.

Even with low wages, many poor people could afford housing if they had access to government-subsidized public housing. However, the federal government has been cutting back on building housing and providing subsidies for housing since the early 1980s. There is a 5-year waiting list for Section 8 vouchers even in special circumstances such as disability or veterans, and no more are being given out. The federal government chose to subsidize private housing for poor people through Section 8 vouchers rather than build housing because it did not want to interfere with private real estate interests. Real estate interests have decimated rent control in most cities, as rents continue to rise beyond the ability of low-income people, and even middle-income people, to pay them.

Many homeless individuals will not go to a homeless shelter because they are crowded and dangerous. If there is no place to store belongings, they often are stolen. Some of the residents have emotional problems which are exacerbated, or caused by, their homelessness. To avoid these dangerous conditions, some people sleep in the streets, in parks, in their cars, RVs, or in train or bus stations. Some live in tents in the woods or build temporary shelters in out-of-the-way spaces in the city, which are often torn down by the city. Some homeless people prefer the freedom and privacy they have in their own encampments to rigidly controlled shelters.

Shelter programs are shaped by prevailing views of the poor, who are considered to be generally inadequate and incompetent and in need of reform.

In "A Roof Over my Head," Jean Calterone Williams expresses this well:
"By making many aspects of their programs mandatory . . . shelters give the impression that homeless people will not take the initiative on their own to look for work or housing, enroll their children in school, or keep their living spaces clean. They must be forced to do so. By mandating budgeting classes, shelters suggest that people become homeless in part because they are irresponsible with their money. It is in a sense a symbiotic relationship: shelter programs influence the ways housed people think about homelessness, the views of the housed public -- whether ordinary citizens or policymakers -- affect the formation of shelter programs and how such programs treat homeless people."

I AM BEMUSED by announcements that come over the radio from time to time by foundations or institutes saying they are studying the causes of homelessness and seeking cures.

In fact, the causes are quite simple and have been studied quite enough. Homelessness is caused by poverty, insufficient affordable housing and insufficient money to pay for housing, and a weak or nonexistent safety net of income maintenance and support services.

It is true that many of the homeless are alcoholics or drug addicts, but they need a home while they are coping with their problem, and they need treatment programs, and both are in short supply.

It is also true that many of the homeless have emotional problems. Who wouldn't have emotional problems if they were homeless? But they need a home while they are coping with their problems and they need support services. Both are in short supply.

A disproportionate number of foster children who have "aged out" of the foster care system are homeless.

A disproportionate number of veterans are homeless. It is the fault of the government that they are in this condition, but the government has deserted them.

A large percentage of homeless women have been abused. While they may need a temporary refuge to escape the abuser and counseling to help them heal, they also need permanent housing, childcare, a job that pays a living wage, and social supports.

The focus on individual problems shifts attention away from structural problems and obscures the real causes of homelessness. It leads to stereotyping of homeless people as deviant and degenerate, drunk or drugged, or crazy. When these stereotypes are embedded in people's minds, they view every beggar as a scammer.

Stereotyping leads to criminalizing the homeless, allowing cities to sweep them from the streets. It gives implicit permission to delinquent thugs to beat them up.

Stereotyping leads to ever-changing policies geared to fixing different target sub-populations of homeless people. There are "periodic calls for local homeless plans based upon the newest policy flavor (and) temporary and local responses to homelessness that fail to address its systemic causes."

"New words on the horizon, Shelter plus Care. Transitional Housing, Permanent supportive housing, work force housing. These words devalue people though they may get grant monies for them. They imply that the people need to be fixed and that the latter workforce housing, is the better deal for a community." Cindy Carlson

The public stereotypes become internalized by the homeless, causing them to try to distance themselves from the "undeserving Other," however they visualize the "Other."

I met many people in the welfare office who told me that they were "not like those others" who are lazy and don't want to work. I told one woman that what might look like laziness is actually depression, and she admitted that she was depressed.

Homeless men resist being categorized as "homeless" because that conjures up the image of a drunken bum.

Homeless women resist being categorized as "homeless" because that conjures up the image of a crazy disheveled "bag lady."

Battered women resist being described as "battered," preferring to see themselves as "survivors."

There is a hierarchy of deserving vs. undeserving in the public's mind. Battered women are seen as deserving because they are victims. Parents and children are more deserving than single men because children are innocent victims.

Homeless men are the least deserving, because they should be working. These images of the homeless help to shape the way shelters treat their residents and the way the residents view themselves.

Even though many women who have been victims of domestic violence are not in battered women's shelters, the women in battered women's shelters often see themselves as superior to homeless women in family shelters.

I end with this

In the book Poor peoples movements Piven and Cloward conclude:
One can never predict with certainty when the "heavings and rumblings of the social foundations" will force up large-scale defiance, although changes of great magnitude were at work. Who, after all, could have predicted the extraordinary mobilization of black people beginning in 1955? Nor can one calculate with certainty the responses of elites to mass disruption. There are no blueprints to guide movements of the poor. But if organizers and leaders want to help those movements emerge, they must always proceed as if protest were possible. They may fail. The time may not the right. But then, they may sometimes succeed.

lost and found

lost and found
joe and Razor dearly missed

Illegal to be homeless-we made the list
Meanest Cities

1. Little Rock, Arkansas
11. Sarasota, Florida
2. Atlanta, Georgia
12. Key West, Florida
3. Cincinnati, Ohio
13. Nashville, Tennessee
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
14. Berkeley, California
5. Gainesville, Florida
15. Dallas, Texas
6. New York City, New York
16. Fresno, California
7. Los Angeles, California
17. San Antonio, Texas
8. San Francisco, California
18. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
9. Honolulu, Hawaii
19. St. Paul, Minnesota
10. Austin, Texas
20. Manchester, New Hampshire

The Criminalization of the Homeless-Homes Not Jails

The civil rights of people experiencing homelessness are continually violated, whether it be by endangering their right to vote, by hate crimes committed against them, by denying children in homeless situations an equal right to education, and even by unjust laws making it illegal to be homeless. NCH is concerned about this illegal disenfranchisement of people experiencing homelessness, and the Civil Rights Project exists to protect the civil rights of people in homeless situations.

July 6, 2004 Union Leader Newspaper
Ex-homeless Mom named to state post

A local advocate for the homeless has been selected to serve as the state field coordintor for the National Coalition for the Homeless Civil Rights Organizing Project...The organizing Project seeks to stop policies and practices that discriminate against the homeless."

And so the work continues.

Manchester's City Ordinances Arbitrarily Used against Person’s Experiencing Homelessness

(B) Exemption: This section shall not apply to the area of a sidewalk encumbered by resturants

Public Urination

NH RSA 645:1, III
Indecent Exposure and Lewdness
Charged as a sex offender

CHAPTER 47 POWERS OF CITY COUNCILS Bylaws and Ordinances Section 47:17
47:17 Bylaws and Ordinances. – The city councils shall have power to make all such salutary and needful bylaws as towns and the police officers of towns and engineers or firewards by law have power to make and to annex penalties, not exceeding $1,000, for the breach thereof; and may make, establish, publish, alter, modify, amend and repeal ordinances, rules, regulations, and bylaws for the following purposes: I. IN GENERAL. To carry into effect all the powers by law vested in the city….XIII. VAGRANTS, OBSCENE CONDUCT. To restrain and punish vagrants, mendicants, street beggars, strolling musicians, and common prostitutes, and all kinds of immoral and obscene conduct, and to regulate the times and places of bathing and swimming in the canals, rivers and other waters of the city, and the clothing to be worn by bathers and swimmers…

Everyday people experienceing homelessness are ticketed for doing things outside that they would not have to do if they lived in their own homes.


Lawmaker wants to outlaw public peeing
Published: October 01, 2007
By The Associated PressCONCORD – A New Hampshire lawmaker says peeing in public exposes a flaw in the law.
Strange as it sounds, Democratic Rep. Stephen Shurtleff says making public urination a separate crime could really help people out.
Currently, there is no state law specifically addressing public urination; it's prosecuted under a patchwork of local and state laws, indecent exposure among them.
Shurtleff says because indecent exposure is a sex offense, multiple convictions could land habitual public urinators on a sex offender registry, a penalty he feels is too severe for the crime.
"I think some of the stigma attached to that is greater than the offense," he said. "It's public urination, and they should be charged with it."
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Shurtleff, of Concord, is working to rewrite New Hampshire's sex offender laws to comply with a new federal law. Under federal law, those convicted of indecent exposure twice in three years would be forced to register as sex offenders.
Shurtleff said he will push for a law making public urination a misdemeanor.

NH has acute shortage of housing stock 2009
NH has an acute shortage of housing stock, especially of housing (both for home ownership and for rental) affordable to households earning less than area median income. In the past decade we have built fewer than 900 new multifamily units, and some of those have been luxury apartments.
Rents in the southern half of the state have increased as much as 37% over the last 5 years. The state median rent is $978/month, and over $1000 per month in Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth.
Based on projections from the NH Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau, 65% of new jobs will pay less than the state level "housing wage" of $18.81, the amount needed to afford a typical apartment.
6553 people were sheltered in NH's emergency shelters in FY03, but 13,529 were turned away because there were no available beds. That doesn't count the number of people doubled up with friends or family.

Because of HUD cuts in funding, the NH Housing Finance Authority, among others, have closed their waiting lists for Section 8 Housing Vouchers and will not be able to issue any new vouchers for the foreseeable future. This means that low income families do not have access to subsidies for their rent. where do they go now?
Because land cost and construction costs are so high in most of the state, new construction of affordable housing can generally only be done using various federally funded housing production programs (Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOPE VI, Rural Housing, project based Section 8, etc.)