Ruais announces new weekly events at Beech Street shelter

Ruais engagement announcement
Jay Ruais on May 7, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday morning, Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais announced the beginning of a new weekly resource fair and at the Engagement Center inside the city’s Homeless Shelter on Beech Street.

On Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m., 26 various community partners, non-profit agencies and other groups will be on hand to assist individuals with essential services like healthcare, job counseling, substance abuse treatment and other services.

“None of our community partners will be able to resolve these problems by themselves,” said Andrew Warner, the city’s director of overdose prevention. “But together, we can make it happen and that’s the beauty of having an engagement center getting all of these resources in one place.”

Ruais stated that this new initiative is working in tandem with other initiatives from the city government such as a new partnership regarding identification card assistance, ordinance changes designed to bring about more housing, discussion with the Manchester Continuum of Care and the sale of several surplus city properties with proceeds going into the affordable housing trust.

“Homelessness should be rare, brief and one-time. In order to do break this cycle, we need to have a comprehensive response,” said Ruais.

Beyond the two-hour event, it was also indicated that a resource database will also be provided for those in need well as other on-site tools such as a whiteboard that will provide contact information for city resources. Those who are not homeless but are just in need of assistance are also welcome to attend both the fairs and use the other resources.

“We didn’t get into this challenge overnight and we aren’t going to get out of it overnight but we can make a different on this for our city, our residents, our businesses, our visitors, and most importantly for the people who are in need of the help,” said Ruais.

The announcement comes as the city seeks a Director of Homeless Initiatives following the end of Adrienne Beloin’s tenure. The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen are set to vote on a proposal by the mayor to dissolve the Department of Housing Stability created during Beloin’s term, with the new Director of Homeless Initiatives now operating out of the Mayor’s Office rather than the Health Department or Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the non-homelessness housing elements of Beloin’s role will be overseen by the various community partners and the Continuum of Care.