Manchester’s pursuit of a plan to help the homeless and also help downtown businesses is proceeding apace. The devil, as we have noted in previous pieces on the subject, is in the details.
It was good to see people turning out and speaking frankly on the issues involved during a City Hall meeting last week. Many of the homeless have serious issues that put them where they are; others are freeloaders who would rather panhandle and hustle than get one of the many jobs that are going begging in the city these days.
Figuring out just how many there are in each category will be key.
Mayor Joyce Craig noted that no policy will serve all the homeless. Some just refuse to get help.
“We are not going to be able to help everyone. That’s the reality,” Craig said. “But through our intervention we can help some people.”
A co-owner of the former police headquarters warned of the problems some homeless are causing, including the “increasing aggressive(ness) and entitlement of this population.”
“We need,’’ said Frank Rich, “to take our streets back so that our citizens can walk freely along Elm Street and, eventually, in the Millyard.”
The issues are going to take time, and money, to work through. But the money isn’t endless.
The mayor and aldermen need to heed the warning from Police Chief Carlo Capano as to the potential cost of an around-the-clock addition of two more officers in the downtown.
If a beefed-up presence is needed, though, we would think it a wiser use of police funds than the proposal being floated for a new hire dedicated strictly to press and public information.