MANCHESTER — The city’s main homeless shelter — New Horizons — is temporarily relocating its sleeping quarters to allow for work to commence on interior renovations.
As of Thursday night, nearly all men at the shelter were sleeping in the basement of the former St. Casimir School, which is leasing the space to New Horizons, said Stephanie Savard, the chief operating officer of Families in Transition, which operates the shelter.
All women will be overnighting at Angie’s Place, a separate New Horizons property on Union Street.
Savard said the renovations will make the shelter more inviting to those who live on the street and should be completed by mid-July. The renovations will increase the total beds at the shelter from 76 to 102.
The renovations will create open space areas for secure men and women dormitories. A separate, 26-bed wing will be devoted to people in recovery. Bathrooms on both floors will be renovated.
“We have to make it comfortable here for people to come in, get the services and then move on,” Savard said.
The total project costs are $200,000. Federal grant funds of $130,000, which are provided through City Hall, are helping to pay for the renovations.
Savard stressed that the soup kitchen and pantry, which are located on the first floor of 199 Manchester St., will remain in operation throughout the construction.
Intake, services and daytime shelter activities will also continue at Manchester Street without interruption. No one will be admitted to the temporary shelters without first going through intake at Manchester Street.
Savard said 20 temporary employees have been hired to help with the move. At 7:30 p.m. each night, workers will walk the shelter clients to the temporary shelters, where they will sleep on mats. They will return to New Horizons for breakfast.
Men with disabilities and emergency intakes will sleep at the first floor of Manchester Street.
Meanwhile, New Horizons will hold its 29th annual walk on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park. Registration opens at 11 a.m.