Hassan tells homeless advocates to bring her ideas

The Associated Press

Gov. Maggie Hassan urged advocates for New Hampshire’s homeless yesterday to bring her ideas on how to make their lives better.

Hassan spoke at a conference sponsored by the state Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services. About 200 people attended.

The Democratic governor praised the advocates for bringing people who are on the margins of society back into the mainstream.

“Your work to support full inclusion in our society strengthens our communities and our state,” she said. “When we care for each other, we all get stronger.”

Hassan said the two-year state budget she signed in June contained more than $7 million for shelters, but the best way to address homelessness is to prevent it with a strong economy that helps businesses grow and add jobs.

“All of New Hampshire’s citizens should be able to live healthy and productive lives,” she said.

Hassan said New Hampshire has a history of helping its most vulnerable citizens. She urged the audience to bring ideas to her on how to address the issue. She cautioned that it won’t be easy making a difference.

“It takes really hard work and every time you think you’ve made a gain, you’ve got to double down,” she said.

The conference also featured workshops on such topics as how to control bed bugs, being an effective advocate, avoiding burnout and how to move homeless people into permanent housing.

The New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness’s 2012 report estimated about 1,725 people were homeless in the state.

The estimate is based on a point-in-time survey done in one 24-hour period the last week in January. Most homeless people were in shelters, but one-fifth were living in cars, abandoned buildings, tents or other places, according to the coalition.