Families in Transition – New Horizons (FIT-NH), with financial support from the City of Manchester, made significant improvements at its New Horizons shelter in Manchester, increasing the number of shelter beds from 76 to 108, upgrading the bathrooms and an increasing case management staff.
A year ago, the shelter averaged 86 people per night, but is well beyond its capacity of 108 beds and is sheltering more than 130 people every night, even in the summer. One night in August, there were 163 shelter guests, an 89% increase from a year ago. Program changes will be made to maximize safety for all who access the New Horizons Shelter. They will be effective October 1, 2019:
- New Horizons Day Resource Program (access to lunch, restrooms, laundry, and supportive services) will only be offered to individuals who are engaged in the organization’s supportive services.
- Overnight shelter services at New Horizons will be for 108 people. However, through short-term funding for this winter only, 30 overflow mattresses on the dining room floor will be offered.
“Safety of our staff, participants, volunteers and vendors who utilize our facility is our number one priority,” says Stephanie Savard, COO. “The dramatic increase in demand for shelter services, topped by increases in substance misuse that is causing unpredictable, aggressive behaviors across the city, has become a public health crisis. Setting a cap on the number of people we can serve is extremely difficult, however, we are only one organization and even with the expansion of beds and programming, we are way overcapacity.”
With the increased number of people accessing the shelter and the need to have a lower staff-to-participant ratio to ensure safety, the organization’s costs have increased significantly. The community can help with these costs by donating at support.fitnh.org/donate. In addition, if anyone is interested in second and third shift work, they can apply at www.fitnh.org/employment. For more information about FIT-NH visit www.fitnh.org, www.newhorizonsnh.org, or call 603-641-9441.