HUNDRED NIGHTS, INC.
Neighborhood Relation Plan
The mission of Hundred Nights, Inc. is to provide shelter and crisis related services to those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
Our goal is to collaborate with the community to see, hear and support those among us who are equally deserving of dignity but who currently lack the means to live independently.
Our vision is a community where all people are equally valued and supported; where every individual in Cheshire County will have access to appropriate, stable housing.
HUNDRED NIGHT’S COMMITMENT TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
A GOOD NEIGHBOR AGREEMENT
The Mission of Hundred Nights, Inc. is to provide shelter and crisis-related services to those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
Hundred Nights Inc. is committed to maintaining a Board of Directors and Staff with a diverse skill set needed to ensure that programs are consistent with the organization's mission, services are provided according to best practices and are regularly evaluated and monitored to ensure effectiveness.
Hundred Nights Inc. is committed to maintaining a positive and productive relationship with the neighbors surrounding our facility, local law enforcement, the local fire department, and the City of Keene.
Hundred Nights Inc. recognizes that our shelter can cause some local community members to be concerned about safety issues and the quiet enjoyment of their personal and public spaces.
Hundred Nights Inc. is committed to making the local community feel safe and welcome as we pursue our mission.
Hundred Nights Inc. is committed to having the protocols in place to address issues related to local community property owners’ right to the quiet enjoyment of their properties and public spaces.
Hundred Nights Inc. is committed to allowing community members to contact Hundred Nights Inc directly regarding questions or concerns about the shelter property.
Hundred Nights Inc. is committed to having protocols in place to respond in a timely manner to concerns brought to our attention by local community members. Hundred Nights Inc. will seek locally driven solutions that incorporate the views of our various stakeholders and audiences, building on diversity as a strength and working in partnership with others to achieve results.
Please review the attached document (RSO Statement) concerning Registered Sex Offenders and Hundred Nights.
Hundred Nights is a low barrier shelter. As such, Hundred Nights shelters guests who have been convicted of a sex offense. As the attached document indicates, there are various tiers of RSO based on the nature and level of the offense. As per Hundred Nights policy, RSO Tier 3 (most serious offenses) individuals will not be sheltered. RSO Tier 1 and Tier 2 will be sheltered.
To meet our commitment to the local community and the Hundred Nights mission, we present this plan.
Hundred Nights commits to maintain a positive and productive relationship with the neighbors surrounding our facility, local law enforcement, local fire department and the City of Keene. This is essential to fulfilling our mission and meeting our goals.
We commit to positive and transparent communication with our community, neighbors, the local police and fire and city government.
Hundred Nights has established a sub-committee to manage, monitor and enhance our commitment to being a ‘Good Neighbor’. Its responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Several initial open houses with walk-throughs of the new facility in Spring/Summer 2023
- Hold Neighborhood Meetings twice a year, in April and October, at our facility to engage with our neighbors. These meetings will be announced in our newsletters, on our website and in a letter to the editor.
- Establish contact points via phone or email to receive communications from the neighborhood which will be listed on our website (603-352-5197 and firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Establish a procedure to follow for any neighborhood or community contact; if someone calls in or sends an email their contact information and the reason for making contact shall be recorded in a log. The staff designated to engage with the community include the Executive Director, the Operations Manager and the Administrative Assistants. Hundred Nights commits to actively listening to comments and critique from the public, holding internal staff meetings to discuss situations and reply to the community member who reached out. The Hundred Nights response shall also be recorded in the log.
- Identify opportunities to positively engage with our neighbors and community, ie holding open houses, sharing food, inviting neighbors in to interact with guests as volunteers
Hundred Nights guests are required to sign and agree to follow a set of guidelines identifying their responsibilities while using our facility and services. These guidelines are designed to foster a positive and respectful environment whether inside or outside our facility. Promoting a ‘good neighbor’ experience.
Hundred Nights offers new and current staff members training opportunities. These include Ryan Dowd’s online series on working with individuals experiencing homelessness, CSH Supportive Housing Training Center sessions and one on one training for each position filled.
Hundred Nights has had positive and productive discussions with two of our new neighbors so far: Monadnock Food Co Op and Southwest Community Services. Hundred Nights will continue to work with and engage our neighbors to establish and maintain a safe, healthy and kind neighborhood. The involvement of our volunteers and volunteering organizations demonstrate commitment from all parties to build and maintain quality community and neighborhood connections. These include:
- KHS Interact Club
- Greater Keene Rotaract
- Friends of Hundred Nights
- Several local and regional religious organizations
- Several local businesses
- Several individual community members
The Neighborhood Relation Plan document outlines how Hundred Nights will approach our community and neighborhood relationships. We are committed to maintaining the health and safety of our guests, volunteers and the staff of Hundred Nights, as well as our immediate neighbors and the larger community. The Neighborhood Relation Plan will provide ongoing opportunities for individuals to access staff and resources in a timely manner, as well as provide periodic gatherings of all stakeholders in the efforts to address homelessness and housing insecurity in our community and the recognition of positive and open relationships with our neighbors is the foundation for that.
Presented at a City Council/Budget Hearing in 2019, after the issue of certain guests/staff being registered sex offenders was brought up as a reason to block funding.
The mission of Hundred Nights has always been to take in anyone who needs shelter. We address a unique need in the community, though it does not always make us popular. We recently heard a ‘rumor’ that there might be some folks that are alarmed about HN accepting Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) for shelter. To the extent that this might impact funding decisions, we wanted to briefly speak to this and share some information that we think will be helpful:While we can’t be sure of the exact nature of any concerns relative to RSO’s we would surmise that the concern is that this policy somehow creates a risk or poses a safety issue for the community. . . .Perhaps the thought is that these persons would leave the City or County if they were not offered shelter? I wanted to share some information, from within my professional role at the jail and within the Criminal Justice system that I think will allay these concerns:
First, RSOs are placed onto “Tiers” based on the nature and level of their offense or offenses. Those that would pose the greatest danger are very likely in prison serving extended time; or if having completed a lengthy prison sentence before returning to a community, they would have gone through a parole approval process. This parole process includes approving their housing in advance of their release. Hundred Nights is not, and would never be part of an approved Prison release/Parole plan.
2nd, lower level RSOs would almost certainly be on probation. An RSO on probation out of Cheshire County would be required to report to probation and also to the local police department. If they are homeless within Cheshire County, but have family outside the county, they would certainly opt to go through the probation transfer process and live with family. . . However, those RSOs that are homeless and do not have family options are very much ‘stuck’ in Cheshire County. They cannot get approval from probation to transfer to any housing environment other than immediate family. They cannot leave the State, or even the County, to go to some other shelter. So…this also works in reverse... meaning that those on probation outside Cheshire County will not get approval to come reside in Keene at Hundred Nights. In other words, the RSO’s in Cheshire County are very much ‘stuck’ here . . . they cannot just ‘go somewhere else’
This brings me to the main point. Given all of this, I think it can easily be argued that, by providing a place where RSOs can have shelter, we not only keep them safe and alive (which they are entitled to as human beings), but HN also helps keep the community safer. Being allowed at HN provides them with an identified place, known to and approved by probation, to have shelter and where they can be in compliance with registration requirements. And, they are in a place with rules and overnight staff to help keep other guests safe. The alternative to allowing shelter at HN is to likely have RSOs ‘at large’ in the community . . . possibly sleeping outside, in tents, at overnight businesses, like McDonalds and not in a designated location known by probation and law enforcement. I’ve worked on enough release plans of RSO’s with Keene Probation to know that probation would prefer they are at a designated location rather than completely ‘unhoused.’
Thank you to all who help Hundred Nights fulfill the mission to provide shelter and resources so all citizens have the opportunity to be contributing citizens.