The city of Manchester is scrambling to find a stop-gap measure after learning the Doorway, the local hub for people in addiction crisis, is significantly cutting back its hours.
The organization Granite Pathways, which runs the Doorway, announced the changes Tuesday night, hours after the state said it was cancelling its contract with the group because of reporting and quality issues.
Now, rather than keep the center open until 11 pm on weekdays, Granite Pathways state director Patricia Reed said they would close at 5 pm, in keeping with the schedule of New Hampshire's other Doorways.
The Doorway is part of state-wide program the state health department built last year with millions in federal funds.
Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan, who runs the Safe Station program, which sends many people seeking help with substance use disorder directly to the Manchester Doorway, said the city fought hard to make sure it would have robust services in the evening.
Last year, Safe Stations in Manchester worked with over 600 people from 5 pm to 11 pm. Many of them were referred to the Doorways.
Goonan said the new hours could have big consequences for the state’s opioid crisis.
“Our heavy use hours are noon to 11 at night, so it was critical that we stay open,’ he said. “Often what we see is people coming in after business hours with their families [to get them help.]”
In a statement to NHPR today, Reed said it was “not a decision made easily or lightly,” but that the state’s move to cancel the contract had made it impossible to hire and retain staff needed for the additional hours.
She said the state was aware of their decision. Goonan said he was hopeful that state health officials would find a way to restore the Doorway’s hours.
Granite Pathways is expected to continue operating the Doorway until Catholic Medical Center takes it over this spring.