MANCHESTER, NH – On Feb. 21 Families in Transition’s celebrated the expansion of its substance use treatment center and new recovery housing for women with a ceremonial groundbreaking at is future home on Wilson Street.
The $4 million Manchester Recovery and Treatment Center, at 293 Wilson St., will occupy the second and third floors of the former Hoitt Furniture building. Construction is expected to begin in March.
HOPE for NH Recovery moved from Central Street to the Wilson Street location back in November of 2016 and occupies the first floor, providing peer support and programs aimed at people in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse.
The expansion will allow the Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center to double in size, providing treatment to 400 women per year as well as providing 22 units of recovery housing for an estimated 40 women, transportation to and from treatment to an estimated 160 women, and childcare to an estimated 160 children.
Several key people involved in making the project a reality – from elected officials to volunteers – were in attendance and a handful of them spoke briefly, including Dick Anagnost, of Anagnost Companies; Mayor Ted Gatsas; U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan; Governor Chris Sununu; NH State Senator Chuck Morse; NH State Sen. Dan Feltes; Dean Christon, of NH Housing; Arthur Sullivan, of Brady Sullivan Properties; and Maureen Beauregard, president and founder of of Families in Transition. A representative from U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s read a letter prepared by the Senator, who was unable to attend.
Gov. Chris Sununu made the trip down from Concord to reinforce the need for continued bi-partisan efforts to keep the resources growing.
“There’s virtually no one who isn’t affected in New Hampshire, unfortunately,” Sununu said.
He went on to say how the expansion project for Families In Transition was a shining example of putting “dollars behind ideas” toward a tangible solution to the substance misuse and abuse crisis the state is experiencing.
“I was just saying to Holly [Cekala] when I came in, just think of where we were as a state just three years ago. The amazing progress we’ve made in just a few years, it’s unbelievable,” Sununu said. “And Governor Hassan deserves a lot of credit for that, and the folks on the Governor’s Commission, Senator Morse – really everyone in the Legislature and the Senate, who’ve put a lot of effort into making sure we turn this around.”
Sununu also spoke of the barriers that remain, especially for women with children, who are seeking a safe bed, a fresh start, and a pathway to a better life.
“It’s just one piece of the puzzle – and it’s a big puzzle, and it’s a messy puzzle at times, but it’s an important piece. We’re taking about recovery and treatment; we need to get aggressive about prevention, and making sure we’re doing what we have to – and what we can – on the law enforcement side,” Sununu said.
Cekala said her organization is more than ready for the chance to be a good partner for their new upstairs neighbor.
“I’m just so happy for them. Maureen is a big part of why HOPE is growing. She’s fabulous, they take good care of their people,” Cekala said. “I just hope they grow even bigger.”
The final speaker was Beauregard, described by Dick Anagnost as “our fearless leader.”
Beauregard made sure to thank all her financial benefactors, and those who donated their time. She also gave a shout-out to Melissa Fortin-Crews, who for the past three years has been a spark plug in the city’s recovery engine.
“You have really rocked this town in a very good way. When I met you I didn’t quite understand what you were saying, but I get it today,” Beauregard said of Crews.
She also spoke about how the new project, once completed, will bring hope to families who are broken by the dysfunction and despair of addiction.
“This building is going to have multiple organizations in it. On Lake Avenue we had all these organiations partner with us and we said we didn’t want your rent, we just want your mission. Here, we’re getting married. We’re owning our space, the mental health center is owning theirs – we have a contract, we have a purchase and sale agreement, and you know what? We have to make it work for the kids. We have to,” Beauregard said.
“We’re going to demonstrate that the recovery and treatment world can work together, each doing their own thing, and at the end of the day the person who will be helped the most is the person walking through the door,” she said.
After the formalities, Beauregard and all the invited dignitaries took turns swinging ceremonial sledgehammers [see video above] to break down an existing wall inside the old furniture repository – a wall that, once gone, will represent the beginning of a clearer, more collaborative pathway to wellness for families who would otherwise be lost.
About Families in Transition (FIT)
Families in Transition is a nonprofit organization that provides safe, affordable housing and social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, enabling them to gain self-sufficiency and respect. FIT also owns and operates two thrift stores in Manchester and Concord, NH which serve as economic engines to help pay for services that FIT provides. For more information about FIT, the shelter, the stores, and the event, visit www.fitnh.org or call 603-641-9441.