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Latino Drop-in Center Opens in Manchester Church

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Latino immigrants in Manchester now have a place to go for free referral services. 

The Centro Latino de Hospitalidad, located at the Catholic parish St. Anne-St. Augustin, aims to become the central place for Latinos to get help figuring out where to go for things like housing and legal services.

The center will be open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and be staffed by volunteers from Sisters of Mercy and local colleges, with help from the Granite State Organizing Project.

St. Anne-St. Augustin used to serve mostly Irish and French Canadian immigrants. It now has the largest Spanish-speaking congregation in the state, with an estimated 2,000 Latino members. 

At a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Father Samuel Fuller called the center an "act of faith."

"We were aware that the needs of the Hispanic community were becoming increasingly complex, given our current immigration policies," he said. "So after several gatherings it just became clear: why not have a location here?"

New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees Director Eva Castillo started a similar center over a decade ago in Manchester, but she says it closed because funding dried up as helping Latinos "went out of fashion."

"I'm glad we have a place again where we can gather together and help each other," she said. "Aqui estamos and no nos vamos."

Here we are, she said, and we’re not going to leave.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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