YWCA forced to close Brook Street Women’s Shelter for lack of funding

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Brook Street Women's Shelter
Lack of securing funding means the women’s shelter on Brook Street will close at the end of June. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER NH – Faced with a $550,000 funding shortfall, YWCA New Hampshire will close the Brook Street Women’s Shelter at the end of June. The shelter houses up to 16 women at a time and provides safety, food, and programming to assist women to break the cycle of homelessness.

“I want to thank YWCA NH for opening and operating the Brook Street Women’s Shelter —YWCA NH did this during the winter when other shelters were at capacity, and their prompt attention to addressing this critical need of sheltering women saved lives,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “The city was hopeful this would be a sustainable solution and allocated $100,000 toward the Brook Street Women’s Shelter in the FY24 budget. It’s unfortunate others didn’t follow our lead. I appreciate YWCA NH’s partnership in the city’s effort to address homelessness, and know their programs and services will continue to be an important resource for our community members.”

As part of the city’s effort to address homelessness, YWCA NH quickly opened the shelter in February as a wintertime fatality prevention effort. Its hope then was that with continued support and funding from the community they would be able to operate it on an ongoing basis. The City of Manchester provided $247,000 to YWCA NH to operate the Brook Street Women’s Shelter from its beginning in January through June 30th of this year.

“We’ve tried everything and looked everywhere, but have not been able to raise the money needed to keep the shelter open. Everyone that might help appears to be out of funds,” said YWCA NH CEO Jessica Cantin.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision,” said YWCA NH Director of Programs and Community Outreach Katie Parent. “Shelter staff and residents have been informed of the planned closure and are being provided services and counseling to assist them to transition to new jobs or housing.”

YWCA NH leaders emphasized that the Brook Street Women’s Shelter closure does not affect the YW’s other programs and services. Operations of its Emily’s Place shelter for survivors of domestic violence, its crisis services center, youth programs, and racial justice work continue.

“We’re grateful to all the volunteers and donors who helped us renovate and furnish the shelter and fund it for the last four months,” said Parent. “The program model we developed was successful. But the lesson learned is that addressing homelessness takes sustained financial support. It’s not a simple fix.”

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