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  • Writer's pictureCaity Koz

Collaboration With YWCA and State To Provide Emergency Shelter

On Tuesday, January 3rd, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen outlined short-term and long-term steps to increase available emergency shelter beds in the City of Manchester and address public health and safety concerns in the area of Pine and Manchester Street. The work of the Board resulted in the opening of the City of Manchester Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to serve as a consolidation point for the first responders and departments to facilitate decision-making.

Today, the EOC announced that the State of New Hampshire has agreed to grant the City use of the vacant former Tirrell House at 15 Brook Street for use as a women’s shelter. The City will partner with YWCA New Hampshire to provide staffing and wrap-around services at the facility.

“I want to thank the YWCA for stepping up to help the City of Manchester address this critical need, as well as the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services for responding to our request for use of the former Tirrell House,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “We are encouraged by this collaboration, and we hope this is a first step toward a more cooperative approach to addressing homelessness across the state.”

YWCA New Hampshire currently operates Emily’s Place, a confidential emergency shelter program for individuals rebuilding their lives after experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence.

“YWCA NH is pleased to partner with Mayor Joyce Craig and the City of Manchester to support the development and implementation of a women-focused shelter in our city,” said Jessica Cantin, CEO, YWCA New Hampshire. “We have provided trauma-informed shelter services in the community for over 30 years. Innovation during a time of crisis can be challenging, this type of collaboration is how we continue to address the acute needs of the unhoused community here in Manchester. This is a step in the right direction, and we applaud Mayor Joyce Craig and the City for taking bold action in the face of an increasingly growing crisis.”

Use of the Tirrell House was requested by eight of New Hampshire’s Mayors in a letter sent on January 3rd to Governor Sununu, Acting Commissioner of Health and Human Services Lori Weaver, and Associate Commissioner Christine Santaniello to address a statewide shortage of emergency shelter beds for women experiencing homelessness.

The Tirrell House was used by Families in Transition as a Men’s Transitional Living Program until November of 2022, when the program ceased operations and returned to the State of New Hampshire.

Approval by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of a Use of Premises Agreement with the State will be sought via phone poll today, January 11th, and will then come before the Executive Council on Wednesday, January 18th.

Additional EOC Updates: The first action taken by the EOC was to open a temporary warming station with cots at the William B. Cashin Senior Activity Center for individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness. The Cashin Center is open from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am daily, and storage of belongings and transportation is provided.

Last night, January 10th, the Cashin Center served 15 individuals. Since the Cashin Center was opened, a total of 31 individuals have been served, with many staying multiple nights. There have been reports of an overdose at the Cashin Center last night, however, this is inaccurate. There was no overdose and the ambulance requested for this concern was canceled.

The Cashin Center was opened, in addition to the warming station provided by 1269 Cafe and HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery at 456 Union Street, to address the lack of capacity at state-funded shelters across New Hampshire.

The EOC is working daily with New Hampshire 2-1-1 to understand shelter capacity throughout the state and connect individuals in need with available shelter beds, including connecting non-Manchester residents with any resources available in their home communities.

Daily outreach efforts from Manchester Fire, Manchester Police, and partner organizations are ongoing around the Pine St and Manchester St encampment, and Manchester Police continues 24/7 police patrols in the area.


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