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Judge rules Manchester can move forward with eviction of downtown encampment

Tents and tarps blanketed with snow in December. in Manchester, NH Photo/Jeffrey Hastings
Manchester Ink Link
Jeffrey Hastings
Tents and tarps blanketed with snow in December.

A judge on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit against New Hampshire's largest city to prevent the planned eviction of homeless people at an encampment.

The encampment, which may contain up to 50 people, received notice earlier this month from the city of Manchester that it must be fully vacated by midnight on Tuesday.

Read the judge's full ruling here.

The ACLU of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Legal Assistance filed the lawsuit Friday, and a hearing was held. The city agreed to hold off until the end of business on Tuesday, but it wasn't immediately clear when it would proceed.

“We do not believe that it is humane to evict these unhoused individuals with no plan to immediately house and relocate them in a sustainable way during the coldest month of year,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the ACLU of New Hampshire.

City officials said they had public health and safety concerns about the encampment.

The judge said if there were no safe alternatives available, he'd agree that forced removal of the encampment would likely violate state and federal constitutional rights of people living there. He mentioned that the city needs to keep working on 24-hour shelter options.

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