Manchester:  People sheltered has risen 15.9 percent from 1,084 to 1,257 so far in the year 2006. While Portsmouth figures for the same time period have decreased 11.8 percent from 709 to 625. This is a swing of 27.7 percent between the two communities, according to official figures from the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).”

“If you examine total bednights (number of nights homeless individuals spent in licensed shelters because they had no home to go to) increased 1834 in the past year in Manchester, while decreasing 1339 in the city of Nashua. This came about primarily because Martineau truly does not understand that under the provisions of RSA 165:A, his main job is, ‘to assist any person in the City who is poor and unable to support himself.’ His job is to provide temporary assistance,especially housing in these cases. He has utterly failed that duty,“ Cobleigh declared.

At the scene of last night’s debate outside the St. Anselm’s Institute of Politics, a group of Manchester’s homeless demonstrated with signs proclaiming ‘Martineau chased me out of his office’ and ‘Martineau told me he would not give me city assistance because I could sleep in my pickup truck.’

“Martineau’s only claim to credibility in his not-ready-for-prime-time bid for the Executive Council has been his alleged savings as Welfare Director. Heignores the fact that welfare caseloads have dropped precipitously nationwide and in New Hampshire, the number of people receiving welfare benefits has decreased 42 percent from 10,500 to 6,100. The national and New Hampshire decrease in the past decade have nothing to do with what Paul Martineau did or did not do as local welfare dispenser. Martineau tries to falsely claim credit for, and would have unsuspecting voters believe, that he was solely responsible for that cut in Manchester city welfare caseloads. It was Congress that changed the goals of the programand the city decrease was not because of anything Paul Martineau did. What Martineau did do was turn away hundreds of needy, eligible, poor individuals seeking a helping hand and subjected these applicants to bureaucratic, time-delaying struggles rather than doing what the law requires and provide assistance to people at time of need. The DHHS figures show that what Martineau should get credit for is the dramatic rise in homeless cases in the Queen City,” Cobleigh concluded.