Letter: Welcome new residents to town

February 23, 2023

At this point, most in Concord have learned of the conversion of the Best Western Hotel into state emergency housing. Perhaps opposition to the incoming shelter might come from feelings of general anxiety and uncertainty, after recent years of political tumult and health risks. If so, consider the peace that the community of Concord enjoys with a local hospital, parks and conservation lands, funded schools and libraries.

The notion that people who have found themselves without homes cannot be served in Concord — where people put out Unite the Light lanterns, hold countless charity soccer, road race, lacrosse and football events, take part in book clubs and art clubs and music ensembles, stroll Concord Center’s block parties every April and July and December, spend summer evenings at private country clubs, ask their children to sell fundraiser cards for CCHS sports and to collect food for Open Table (!) several times a year, where there are seven private schools and 24 preschools along with countless real estate offices, restaurants and independent shops — is simply selfish. Homelessness in 2023 should be unacceptable to Concordians. 

This opportunity — this obligation — to welcome the shelter at the Best Western on Elm Street, must be the example for our kids, because they will, and they do, watch for messages of our community values. We should agree to stay out of the way of elected leadership and social organizations of Concord, as they put heads together to problem-solve on how to help the current Best Western residents and the arriving shelter’s MOC staff and residents. Those with homes in Concord already should take part in offering aid, or simply be patient and choose kindness. As the saying goes, it’s the least we can do.

Sarah Jennings

Main Street