On the Edge… At the Center: “But I Really Am Homeless!”

Stories from the Manchester Homeless Services Center
by Christopher Emerson, Manager

Would anyone who is housed want to say they’re homeless?  Yes, if it means they are allowed into the Center.

Recently we changed our rules, restricting our services to just the homeless. Previously we also served the precariously housed, which comprised 15% of our population. But now only the homeless can use the Center.

My job was to deliver the news to the housed, that showers, lunch, coffee, access to providers, etc., would no longer be available.  In several cases, they exclaimed, “But I’m homeless.  I just got evicted this morning.”  Right. 

Why would someone lie and say they’re homeless?  I guess they like the Center’s free lunch and low stress environment.  But that won’t be happening for them anymore.  Our job is to help truly homeless people access the providers who help them get housed and/or employed.  We do pretty well with that, but I’m on a mission to do it better.