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Author Topic: Tent City to Shack City: Keene homeless try to keep their unapproved shelter  (Read 2244 times)

KBCraig

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http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?articleId=6e8989ce-6bf2-4a12-bbb2-bead3458fa6a

Keene residents aim to save shack for homeless
By MELANIE PLENDA
Sunday News Correspondent
 
KEENE – Area residents, businesses and churches are scrambling to improve a shack used as shelter by six homeless men after the city cited the men for code violations.

Keene Mayor Dale Pregent said city code enforcement officers and the Keene fire chief on Thursday inspected the shack --located on private property off Route 12 -- and made recommendations for repairs. He said the men weren't given a deadline to complete the work, but were cited for not having a building permit.

The city has not decided on a further course of action, the mayor said.

"We knew when (officials) went out there that we weren't going to find a model of a building being built the proper way, but we have not made a final recommendation on what we are going to do," he said.

Pregent said city officials will meet tomorrow morning to discuss the issue.

In the meantime, he said, the city was looking to see what it could do to help the men find other accommodations, but, he added some of the men preferred to live in the woods, rather than abide by the strict rules imposed by shelters. He said the city's chief concern is for the men's safety.

If Don Primrose, a resident of nearby Sullivan, has his way, the men will get to remain in the shack.

Sullivan said he has been organizing residents and business to help the men make the necessary fixes to the building and vowed that the volunteers would form a human chain around the shack if the city tried to evict its inhabitants, who, he said, have been in contact with New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

"They've been out there for years, not hurting anybody," Primrose said. "They are just out there doing their own thing and doing pretty well."

Pregent said a series of articles in a local newspaper that reported on the men's shack and living conditions had brought the homeless camp to the city's attention. He said city officials were not surprised to discover the men did not have a permit for the building.

"Homeless men generally aren't going to come in and ask for a building permit," he said. "We're not trying to criticize; we are just trying to do what's best for the men."

In addition, Pregent said, he and other officials also are considering what liability the city would have if the men are allowed to remain in the structure.

The shack --a 20-by-20-foot timber frame building with plywood walls, a roof and window --is located in the woods on land owned by Timothy Robertson. Inside, the men sleep on mattresses and keep warm with a wood stove.

Robertson could not be reached for comment, but two city councilors, Pamela Russell Slack and Charles Redfern, said he has allowed the homeless men to live on his property.

According to Primrose, a portable restroom will be delivered to the site tomorrow, and, he said, the shack's inhabitants are working on fixing violations, using building materials donated by area churches.

Primrose also said he gave the men a cell phone, to enable them to call him if the city arrives to condemn their building. He said he had set up an e-mail and phone tree to mobilize as many as 50 volunteers.

Two local coffee houses have offered to provide coffee to the volunteers and a nearby Hannaford Supermarket has offered to donate food to the cause, he said.

The shacks inhabitants and countless others have lived behind Hannaford's for years, said Keene City Councilor Pamela Russell Slack. But usually they live in tents, she said.

It was only recently, she said, that city officials were made aware there was a structure there. She said the issue has not been brought before the city council, nor had the council officially been informed of last week's actions by code enforcement officers.
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KBCraig

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Re: Tent City to Shack City: Keene homeless try to keep their unapproved shelter
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2009, 02:49 AM NHFT »

My first thought: what is the difference between a tent and a shack? The answer: the shack provides better protection from the elements, and is far safer in case of a fire. (It's much faster and safer to egress by jumping up off a mattress and running out the door, versus struggling out of a sleeping bag and trying to unzip a tent door. Not to mention, a tent can be gone in a flash (dripping nasty molten synthetics everywhere), while a wood structure at least takes some time to catch fire, then burns relatively slowly.)
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CJS

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Re: Tent City to Shack City: Keene homeless try to keep their unapproved shelter
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2009, 05:39 AM NHFT »

  This kind of crap is exactly the thing that drives me freaking crazy . I personally would rather see these people in shelters , privately funded places with out the stupid asinine rules that come with government intervention ... but  what right does the GOV have to tell them what is best FOR THEM ??

 Why can't our elected officials get a grip on the concept that our bodies belong to us ?? Oh I forget .. they can't give jobs to their relatives if they are not taking care of the children .

 Just today I won the heart and mind of a true blue socialist , it was concerning smoking weed .. I asked what was the difference between the " privacy" to get an abortion and the same concept as far as personal choices of consumption ? The look on her face as she woke up was priceless ... she is already on Dave's youtube site and NHFREE  .

 I believe the article stated that countless people have lived there for years ... why do the elected officials think they need to but in ?  It sounds like they are getting by just fine on their own . The winter gets damn cold .. I lived in a van one winter .. but survived without a bunch of people getting paid from tax dollars for feeding me.
 
 Again ... I personally would rather see them in shelters ... but I am certain I would rather be in that shack if  found myself homeless than a shelter that acted like I was 5 years old and needed to be protected from myself  ( I have some experience as a volunteer ) ... these homeless people  sound like they are living free .. AHHH ... now I see why the state needs to get involved ...we just can not have people living free... what would this world come to if people had freedom ? I hope they put up a huge fight if push comes to shove .. I wish I was ina position to offer some real help to them .
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Tent City to Shack City: Keene homeless try to keep their unapproved shelter
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2009, 06:29 AM NHFT »

The Keene Idiotcrats should have stayed out of it completely but, on the whole it is a positive article.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 06:55 AM NHFT by Lloyd Danforth »
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AntonLee

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Re: Tent City to Shack City: Keene homeless try to keep their unapproved shelter
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 06:41 AM NHFT »

nothing better to do than go pick on some homeless people.  I have a friend who called me last Friday, he moved back up to Berlin to live with his parents after his girlfriend cheated on him, he got laid off from the same job as me, and couldn't find work or a place to live down here.  After about a month he definitely couldn't find work there either and his parents (adopted, and scumbag) kicked him out on the street.  He lived outside for a week and called me for a ride after he caught a bus to Salem.  I went and picked him up instead to save him the money.

we just moved in, and weren't looking for roommates, he wanted to go to a shelter.  I brought him to one.  After one night he had half his clothing stolen by other people there while he slept.  He found out that it was the person he had befriended there.  Then they kicked him out for causing a scene (he saw someone wearing one of his shirts).


so now, a homeless guy is living in my second room with all the boxes I've not unpacked.  He has been out job searching for a week and still nothing.  I suppose Keene would rather he spend his time worrying about his property inside a homeless shelter. 
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thinkliberty

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Re: Tent City to Shack City: Keene homeless try to keep their unapproved shelter
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2009, 12:19 PM NHFT »

If the people that work for the city of keene don't like how the homeless people are living, maybe they should build them a better shack. (using their OWN money, not money that they have extorted from the people living around them.)

Of course they don't really care about those homeless people, they just want to make life harder on them, by kicking them out of their shelter in the middle of winter.
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Russell Kanning

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my fellow inmates tried to strain to see the tent city as we were transported from one jail to the other
many of them had not been out of the jail while this has been happening
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