Manchester homeless shelter population surging
August 31, 2019
New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER — The number of people staying at the city’s only emergency homeless shelter is spiking this month.
More people sought shelter at the Families in Transition-New Horizons shelter on Wednesday night than during the busiest nights of last winter.
Stephanie Savard, chief operating officer of the organization, said 163 people stayed at the shelter on Wednesday. There were more people at the shelter than there were beds, she said.
On a typical night, Savard said, the shelter houses between 100 and 120 people. It gets busier as the weather gets colder, and fewer people sleep in tents outside. Last winter, Savard said, some 150 people stayed at the shelter on the coldest nights — which was an unusually high number of people.
The past few weeks have been unusually busy for the summer, she said.
“We’ve had a significant spike in numbers,” she said. Since early August, Savard said there have been more than 140 people staying at the shelter every night. On Wednesday night, when there was heavy rain, 163 people sought shelter at Families in Transition-New Horizons.
To see so many people seeking shelter in the summer is worrying, Savard said — will there be enough room for everyone who needs shelter when the temperature drops?
But Savard said she is not yet sure why so many people have been staying at the shelter this month.
“There are a lot of factors everyone is wondering about,” Savard said.
She said she did not want to speculate about why there are so many people.
Savard said the organization’s staff is interviewing people at the shelter to figure out what brought them there, how they were referred, and how long they have been in Manchester.