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Manchester officials working to find solutions for evicted man

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 12. 2013 10:50PM
Gerald Pilotte speaks to Manchester police Officer Fred Gillis during the eviction Wednesday from the Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority apartment where he has lived for decades. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — An elderly man evicted this week from his subsidized apartment made a brief appearance in Manchester District Court yesterday, shouting in a courtroom filled with people waiting for a judge to appear.

Gerald Pilotte swore at times and said he could not hear. Court bailiffs eventually communicated with him and he left the second-floor courtroom with them.

Pilotte, who is about 80, was evicted Wednesday from the apartment he has lived in since the 1980s at 14 Falls Ave. Eviction paperwork said he violated an earlier agreement not to smoke in the apartment.

Meanwhile, his new landlord said he spent Wednesday night at Washington Manor assisted living, a 16-bed operation on Prospect Street. Pilotte was initially taken there after his eviction, but he walked back to his apartment before police returned him early evening Wednesday.

"It's a transition," said Susan Vantresca, owner of Washington Manor. "We're going to work with him on it, but it's hard for him."

She said Washington Manor is not a locked facility, and tenants are free to come and go, as long as they sign themselves out and let staff know when they can be expected back. She said Pilotte knows his whereabouts and knows where he is going.

The Bureau of Elderly Affairs and the Veterans Administration Medical Center are working with Pilotte, Ventresca said. He also has a guardian.

The Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority have been mum about Pilotte and would not discuss the eviction. But court papers said he violated an agreement not to smoke in his apartment. Last year, the housing authority was ready to evict Pilotte over concerns about burned food and numerous fire calls.

But on Wednesday neighbors said the fire calls stopped after he started using a microwave.

Ventresca said she's just met Pilotte, and she will have to determine whether assisted living is the appropriate level of care for him. She ackowledged some behavioral problems.

"You have to help him keep his dignity," she said.

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