MANCHESTER, N.H. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Manchester, New Hampshire has a new women's homeless shelter, and it was made possible by a lot of hard work in a short period of time.
The shelter was born out of necessity—the city planned to clear out a homeless encampment in the downtown area by the end of January and needed a place for people to go. That's when the city reached out to the YWCA in the city about setting up a new shelter in a vacant state-owned property on Brooks Street. That was on Jan.10.
"When we were telling people our timeline, people kind of looked at us in shock like 'you can't be serious about that' but we were very serious," Emerald Anderson-Ford, the chief diversity officer for YWCA NH, said.
However, by Feb.6, just three weeks after the city reached out to the YWCA, the shelter was ready. Anderson-Ford said she was surprised but happy they were able to complete the shelter in "record time".
"I think I'm still baffled at how quickly we made this happen," she said. "We got in here, we cleaned, we painted, we spackled," she said. "We pulled up carpet, we outfitted, and figured out [ways to ensure] everybody has [not just] at least two hot meals a day but three meals a day. It's been a lot but we made it happen."
The shelter is able to house 16 women, and will eventually be able to hold as many as 22.
"We're showing that we can do things that feel really impossible," she said. "We just have work to do, we have work to care for one another."
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShairSmallNews) reports.