Manchester shelter will gain more beds after renovation

Officials say higher capacity won’t be enough to meet need.

May 31, 2019
Ray Brewer


A Manchester shelter is undergoing major renovations to help more people sleep with a roof over their heads.

The Families in Transition New Horizons shelter is undergoing a $200,000 renovation. Officials said that by the end of next week, all the framing for the interior walls should be up.

The project is scheduled to be completed by the middle of July, but as with any renovation, there have been some unexpected finds.

“Some electrical was wired all together instead of separately with switches,” project manager Darren Finch said. “We pulled up the existing floor, and we had rotten subfloors. So right now, we’re replacing those.”

The project will increase the number of beds in the shelter from 76 to 102. Officials said that’s still not enough to meet the need, as the shelter averages about 150 people in the winter and 125 in the summer, but it is an improvement.

“Folks will be able to be up off the dining room floor and sleeping in beds upstairs,” said Stephanie Savard, COO of Families in Transition New Horizons.

The renovations will allow the shelter to increase services for clients, such as adding a safe recovery shelter.

“Where if someone says, ‘I really want to work on my recovery, and it’s hard to be in a shelter with people who may be under the influence,’ it’s a safe place for people to sleep to work on their recovery,” Savard said.

Those services come with additional staffing and allow for more individual attention.

“Maybe working on physical health, mental health, substance abuse, employment, education, you name it — anything that’s going to get it so they can be stable in their housing,” Savard said.

The project is the first phase of what will be a complete renovation of the building, officials said. Savard said the shelter plans to look at better ways to integrate in the neighborhood, with the goal of supporting the surrounding community.Follow this story to get instant e-mail alerts from WMUR on the latest developments and related topics.

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