Heroic Man Opens Homeless Shelter Without City’s Permission Slip

From the Union Leader’s Melanie Plenda:

KEENE – Don Primrose is opening a temporary cold-weather shelter for the homeless on Tuesday — whether the city approves or not.

The 50-year-old Sullivan man recently became an advocate for six men living in a shack behind a local shopping plaza when the city cited the men for building, health and fire code violations.

Primrose, a farmer and retired contractor, said he has rented space in a commercial building off Main Street to serve as a temporary shelter for the homeless.

The Hundred Nights Shelter will be open until March, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, he said. There will be 16 beds, mostly in one room, with some beds in two or three smaller rooms. There will be a toilet and sink, but no shower facilities or other amenities.

“It will just be a safe, warm place to sleep for the night,” Primrose said.

He said when he approached city officials with his plans yesterday morning, he was told he would have to go through the planning and zoning process. But, by the end of the day, he was told he may not have to go through those steps, depending on how the planning department interprets what he is doing.

“The need is now,” Primrose said. “I understand there may be penalties, there may be hard feelings or confusion on the part of the city, but I believe there is a need right now . . . we are going forward.”

Assistant City Manager Medard K. Kopczynski, head of code enforcement, did not return a call for comment.

?Keene shack passes fire inspection (23)
?Keene residents aim to save shack for homeless (60)

Primrose is recruiting volunteers to staff the shelter in shifts from 5 to 9 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. He is also looking for cots and bunk beds.

He said the temporary shelter will not have the same rules as other area shelters, such as a curfew.

Primrose is fronting the $800 a month rent and electricity costs, but donations will be needed, he said. He’s spending the next few days making sure the space complies with building codes, he said.

Keene currently has three homeless shelters, run by Southwest Community Services. The emergency shelter Primrose is opening is not affiliated with the agency. No one was available from Southwest to comment on the emergency shelter.

Matt Primrose, Don Primrose’s son, is the homeless outreach coordinator for Monadnock Family Services and often places area homeless in shelters. MFS is not affiliated with Hundred Nights and Matt Primrose declined comment on the project.

But he said Keene’s shelters, along with shelters in outlying areas, are at capacity and are expected to stay that way through the winter. When there is space available out of town, Matt Primrose said, outreach workers have to find a way to get the person to the shelter, which could be as far away as Manchester or Concord. Many decline to go, since getting back to Keene where their lives and services are located is difficult. So some resort to living in their cars; a few may even camp in all-weather tents, he said. Both options are dangerous, Matt Primrose said.

Don Primrose refused to give the exact address of the shelter, but said as of Jan. 5, he will have a sign out in front of the building. He also said Hundred Nights will be listed among shelter options starting next week at the state homeless emergency hotline, 1-800-852-3388.

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For more information, to make donations or volunteer call 313-3229, e-mail hundrednights@gmail.com or write to Hundred Nights Shelter, 39 Central Square #310, Keene, NH.

Discussion thread is here on the Free Keene Forum.

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16 Comments

  1. Again to put them in common law jurisdiction don't talk to them, they have jurisdiction over you!!!

    Send them the proper paperwork…..affidavit of truth, notice of understanding and intent, claim of right (if they don't respond to your letters and summons you to court) (a summons is only an invitation!) the an estopple by aquience. You can even put a fee schedule to charge them if you get arrested, detained or jailed. notorise and send everything registered mail

    If they continue to harass, lein the judges, policemans property for the amount you told them you would charge in your notice of understanding! This all can be done with a notary!

    Best of luck!!!

  2. Neil,

    As you admitted on your other post, you've never actually tried any of the stuff you are advocating. I'd love to see proof of your claims. I'm afraid they won't care about what you send them.

  3. &I'm sure the accommodations will suit the KING of KEENE just fine…I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep there, Don…You know, this will likely make "Southwest" & "MFS" look worse than they already do…Anybody else notice how *KEENE HOUSING AUTHORITY* has been so absent from all the "HOMELESS" coverage in the Sentinel the past few weeks???…WHY???…If local "human service agencies" *COULD* better address the homeless problem, it wouldn't be as bad as it is, in the first place…DUH!…(Let's also both try to stay on-topic, Neil…

  4. Here we have a guy trying to help out with the homeless situation ,trying to get all the things he needs,and we get 4 [now 5] posts,none of them of any help to him.Just up we have someone trying to get out of a parking ticket,and we get 22 posts,most ardueing with each other.Do we want some sort of system that actually helps people,or is it just about getting them pissed off.It would be good to know,as I can be good at either. —bil

  5. Agreed, Ian…I’d like to see Neil post a longer, more detailed explanation, *AND*, Neil’s *PERSONAL RESULTS* from trying this tactic…&Neil, how does your idea square with just invoking NH Const. Article X???…

  6. Bil, posts on a blog aren't helping anyone. The people who are helping have called, and are going to volunteer training.

  7. I stand corrected,pleasantly so.Thanks,Ian. —bil

  8. No, Thank-you, Bil…Like I said elsewhere, we need to keep reminding ourselves what's really important. Everybody has to deal with parking tickets sometimes, but fortunately, we are not mostly homeless…& I say, let them argue…it helps identify them. That's DOD Office of Dis-, & Misinformation policy…oops!…"I support the imminent military coup"…There. Done.

  9. I still don't understand your signature-is the military in on it,or will they be the new bad guys?

    Either way,I am ready,but would like to know which way to face! —bil

  10. COMPASSION

    The homeless here in Keene

    Had increased all unseen.

    A group of the poorest

    Camped out in the forest

    To wait for springtime's green.

    Their fortunes tempest-tossed,

    For shelter from the frost,

    They built a small lean-to.

    Their needs were all seen to

    At very little cost.

    A suitable place to stay,

    The elements kept at bay,

    They were in off the street

    And had quite enough heat

    To survive another day.

    Some angel must have sent

    The city government

    To make an inspection

    And cite a collection

    Of mishaps to prevent.

    "Will people never learn?

    You'd bump your head–or burn.

    What matter the cold?

    You'll do as you're told.

    Your safety's our concern."

    By bureaucrats' direction,

    The outcome was ejection

    At twenty below

    With nowhere to go.

    That's government protection!

  11. Look at the local Brattleboro news right now:…A local homeless guy is now in Mass-hole-chew-shits General Hospital in Boston. He has 1st, 2nd, & 3rd degree burns from his feet to waist. He was camping in the woods, and drunk. And fell, or whatever, into the campfire/cookstove, whatever…A near identical, but much less serious, incident occurred here in Jumanjiville a few short years ago. So, in this case, yes, the concerns of the "city" bureaucraps *DO* have some merit. Let's be fair. That's all…

  12. I have to laugh at the "king of keene" claim that Don Primrose will make Southwestern look worse than they are. Southwest has been doing this for 20 years, and they are a PRIVATE non-profit. You keep drinking that kool-aid being served at the drop in center! When the truth hits, it hurts and the truth is a overwhelming majority of 100 nights shelter residents are not Keene citizens.

  13. You would have to prove the government's obligation to protect before you could call anyone a citizen, thruther.

  14. Not sure what that means, but Mr. Primrose preface on this matter is based a homeless problem in Keene. If the majority of sheltered people camefrom other communities than that problem is reduced exponentially …

  15. I am sorry to say the homeless men in Kenne! Want to be ! I have been homeless! It called work your way out of it !These lazy drunks and drugies exspect a free ride! Jail them and keep our streets safe from these bumbs that exspect others to pay for their booze and drugs!

  16. If hes renting the space why cant his “friends” have sleepovers 😉

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