Case and Materials

Tackling Homelessness and Addiction: Coalition-Building in Manchester, New Hampshire

  • Authors Brady Roberts, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian S. Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, Guhan Subramanian

Last Updated

Collaboration, Strategic Leadership and Management

North America, Northeast Region, United States


Mayor Joyce Craig had an ambitious agenda: to fight homelessness and end the opioid epidemic ravaging Manchester, New Hampshire. Her solution? To increase social services. However, instead of reducing the afflicted population, it exacerbated the issue by drawing more of the state’s needy to Manchester. Explore how Mayor Craig built a coalition of state and local partners through a complex two-level negotiation and consider the levers municipal leaders can pull to enact change.

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Elected at the height of the opioid epidemic, Mayor Joyce Craig came to represent the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, as it grappled with the dual tragedies of substance abuse and chronic homelessness. An idealist in a state that valued personal responsibility and financial restraint, Craig had successfully expanded her city’s services to those seeking treatment for opioid use disorder and shelter. But these were hard-fought victories at every stage, and there was still work to be done. With just a few months remaining in her first two-year term, the mayor found herself on the eve of another difficult negotiation. She had recently established a diverse Task Force on Homelessness and set her sights on permanently solving Manchester’s homelessness and opioid crises. Next, Craig had to convince her counterparts at the state and local level to dedicate equitable funding to solving these intractable, moral challenges. (See Teaching Case Appendix 1 for a timeline of events in the case.)

By examining Craig’s leadership style, her policy agenda, and the stakeholders she needed to engage,  participants can (i) discuss the varying sources of power a city leader can leverage, (ii) analyze the team’s approach and methodology in pursuing additional resources in New Hampshire, and (iii) apply these concepts to the conditions under which similar policy agendas become achievable or unachievable.


Learning Objectives

Analyze the complexity of a two-level negotiation between state and local stakeholders with different sources of power.

Evaluate barriers and opportunities in a two-level negotiation and understand how negotiators can leverage formal and informal sources of power to build coalitions and momentum.

Recognize the principles of “teaming to innovate.”

Define conditions for diverse teams to make progress on complex problems.

Explore the concepts of “execution as learning” and “finding entry points.”


This case can be used on its own or as part of a set. As an alternative to using this case to teach two-level negotiations, instructors may wish to use is it to support a class discussion on the early stages of forming multi-party collaborations. For more information on the rest of the materials in the set, click here

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