As Granite Staters deal with life-threateningly cold temperatures, homeless shelters are offering floor space as they run out of beds.
The Families in Transition – New Horizons shelter in Manchester has 76 beds, but with 120 people in need of a warm place to sleep Monday night, more than 40 people were planning to sleep on the shelter’s dining room floor.
Those individuals will be given a mat and a blanket.
“It’s a full house. It’s an exceedingly full house. But I am absolutely happy about that,” said Maureen Beauregard, president of Families in Transition – New Horizons NH. “The survival skills of folks is pretty amazing, but you can only go so far when the wind chill is minus 20.”
The shelter is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shelter staff said they are hoping the homeless population will come for food and warmth, but perhaps find friendships and a fresh start.
“I’m a homeless person who had lost his job, and that’s why I’m here,” said William, a guest at New Horizons.
William said he got others to come to the shelter Sunday night and that those people were going to stay again Monday night.
“They’re helping them come off the streets out of the cold, that way you’re not out there freezing,” William said.
“If you start having any kind of confusion or feeling nauseated or tired, then it’s time to head inside. Or if your extremities, your hands or feet get cold or the tip of your nose gets cold, then it’s time to head for warmth,” said Dr. Sandy King, of Elliot at River’s Edge Urgent Care.
New Horizons is planning a renovation, including the addition of more beds, that will be complete in a few months.