MANCHESTER, NH – A old familiar space that has long been vacant at Wilson and Valley streets will find new life as a community hub for addiction and recovery wrap-around services.
It’s a giant step forward for Hope for NH Recovery, which will be the first occupant of the historic Hoitt’s Furniture building once renovations are completed — Feb. 1, 2016, or sooner, says Hope for NH board chairman Melissa Fortin Crews.
“Anagnost Companies and Autofair have bought the building and will be renting it back to us and some of our collaborating partners. We are looking to fill some of the gaps that we have identified as we work to help find services for people, and help them after they have initiated their recovery here in the city,” said Crews. “We have worked hard to create a sustainable model that is not dependent on government funding, and one that can be duplicated to scale in other cities and towns that are fighting this terrible disease.”
Those on site Thursday for the announcement included developer Dick Anagnost, President of Anagnost Companies, Andy Crews, President and CEO of Autofair, who is married to Melissa Fortin Crews, Brian Longo, former president of Hoitt Furniture, and his family, Mayor Ted Gatsas and Chief Nick Willard.
Holly Cekala, director of Hope for NH Recovery has no trouble seeing the future — she came to New Hampshire from Rhode Island where she helped build the current system of community recovery centers there, a network of services which continue to evolve and expand.
“This is a new opportunity for Hope for NH to make an impact in the efforts to solve the addiction crisis in Manchester. This larger space will allow for us to open more lines of communication and collaboration in the work of saving lives,” Cekala said.
Recovery centers are not residential treatment centers. Rather they provide assistance for anyone looking for help in finding addiction recovery services, or their families. They can be a safe haven, a counseling center, a meeting place, a refuge, and a bridge back to life. They can also bring together an array of services, including intensive out-patient services, under one roof.
Manchester Recovery Center, which opened in July, quickly outgrew the space on Market Street, says Cekala. They hold meetings five days a week — from Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous groups, to Smart Recovery, recovery maintenance, family support, youth support groups and volunteer “coffee talk” hours. However, they have been limited due to lack of space and enough qualified professionals to keep the doors over 24/7, which is the goal.
It is run primarily by volunteers who have walked the walk and now are able to provide peer-to-peer counseling, and give back to others.
Crews said Hope for NH plans to fit up the first floor and bring in other non-profits to handle assessments and intensive out-patient programs, with room on the upper levels for affordable recovery housing.
It’s a work in progress, said Crews, but the possibilities are exciting, and will go a long way to filling the huge gap that currently exists for those in need of support and assistance before, during and after treatment for addiction.