A true hub

The building at 24 Railroad St., at left, in downtown Keene will house The Doorway, as well as behavioral health emergency and substance-use services through Monadnock Family Services.

Renovations began this week on The Doorway’s new location in downtown Keene, which will be shared with Monadnock Family Services.

Run through Cheshire Medical Center, The Doorway opened in January at 640 Marlboro Road (Route 101) and is part of a statewide effort to create a “hub and spoke” system to screen, assess and refer people to substance-use disorder treatment and support services in the community.

Funded by a two-year, multimillion dollar federal grant announced in October of 2018, the hubs aim to link people to resources and follow up with them as they advance through recovery services provided by the spokes — rehabilitation centers, sober homes, peer support agencies and other organizations.

The effort comes in the midst of a national opioid crisis that has hit New Hampshire particularly hard, with 471 fatal drug overdoses confirmed last year.

As of this past October, The Doorway had served 599 people, with 245 completing clinical evaluations — the first step in finding substance-use treatment.

But its current location has proven less than ideal.

“Being on Route 101, it’s not convenient to walk, there’s no bus, no transportation. We don’t do a lot of walk-in traffic like other New Hampshire Doorway locations do,” said Nelson Hayden, executive director of The Doorway in Keene.

By moving downtown, he said, The Doorway aims to improve client access.

The new center — at 24 Railroad St., across the street from the former Scores Sports Bar & Grille — will house all The Doorway offers, as well as behavioral health emergency and substance-use services through Monadnock Family Services.

MFS is a nonprofit community mental-health center serving 35 municipalities and 110,000 residents in southwestern New Hampshire, according to its website. The organization provides counseling, support groups and various activity programs for children, seniors and other adults.

Both The Doorway and MFS were aware the other was searching for additional space, Hayden said, and decided to look for a joint location.

“... It’s really convenient for Monadnock Family Services because it’s right between their other two locations, and convenient for us because with the hub and spoke model, part of our job is to connect people to community resources,” Hayden said. “Being attached to one of those resources is a huge benefit for us.”

Phil Wyzik, executive director of Monadnock Family Services, echoed Hayden, saying the collaboration will be helpful for clients.

“These two services are meant to be together because it’s addressing the need,” he said.

MFS has two Keene locations — at 17 93rd St., for most of its adult services, and at 64 Main St., for child and family services and administrative offices. The organization also has an office on Vose Farm Road in Peterborough.

Wyzik said though Monadnock Family Services’ substance-use and emergency services will now be offered at the new Railroad Street office, the organization’s other offices will remain open.

Originally planning to move in this fall, the two organizations faced several small hiccups in obtaining a city building permit, which delayed the start of construction, Hayden noted.

For renovations, the Railroad Street location — currently a large, open space — needs some interior walls put up, soundproofing and a joint reception area put in for The Doorway and Monadnock Family Services.

Services through both organizations will remain up and running until the move, aimed at March, Hayden noted.

“Now we just have to be patient,” he said.

The Doorway at Cheshire Medical Center is currently at 640 Marlboro Road in Keene (the Curran Building on Route 101) and is open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Support through the state’s 24/7 hotline is available at 211.

Monadnock Family Services is at 64 Main St. in Keene and is open MondayFriday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. People can schedule an appointment or access the emergency service line at 357-4400.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.