Concord homeless shelter opens from now through March with 40 beds 

  • Connor Spern, outreach services coordinator at the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, folds a blanket in one of the shelter rooms at the First Congregational Church. Spern was expecting around 25 people at the shelter. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Connor Spern, outreach services coordinator at the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, puts a handmade blanket in one of the shelter rooms at the First Congregational Church on Thursday. It was the first night the shelter was available. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/1/2022 6:08:46 PM

Concord’s emergency winter shelter for the homeless opened Thursday night. Even at full capacity, its 40 beds will offer relief to just a fraction of the people without a place to live in the area. 

Beds will be available at the First Congregational Church on North Main Street 7 days a week, from December through the end of March, for anyone experiencing homelessness. 

Guests can arrive at the shelter at 6:30 p.m. each night and must leave by 7 a.m. the next morning.

The shelter will accept any adult who is experiencing homelessness, regardless of active addictions or felony convictions. The purpose of the shelter is to provide a place to sleep during dangerously cold winter nights. 

Concord’s total homeless population is hard to calculate. Police are aware of 150 to 175 homeless individuals living in Concord on any given day, but say the actual population could be double that. 

Recently, an encampment off of Fort Eddy Rd. was swept by Concord police, displacing 20 people from the site.   

To better understand how many people are chronically homeless in the Concord area and their needs, the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness is working to build a “by-name list” that documents individual cases. 

Due to the limited number of beds, the shelter is intended for people who are already experiencing homelessness in the Concord area, according to the coalition. 

The shelter opening comes at a time when rentals are sparse, rents are high and home heating costs are adding an extra burden on New Hampshire residents this winter. 

Merrimack County is currently facing a rental vacancy rate of 0.3%, creating a high demand for apartments in the area.

Background checks, credit scores and inflated rent prices all pose a challenge to those experiencing homelessness who are trying to find a place to live. 

“It’s really like survival of the fittest,” Lauren Berman-Lefebvre, the housing director for Families in Transition, said at the Concord Chamber of Commerce’s November forum which sought to address the question – “What does housing instability mean for individuals, youth, and families in the Capital Region?”

To help with the winter shelter, the coalition is looking for volunteers for two-hour shifts each night. Responsibilities during the shifts, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., include checking guests in, helping store belongings, monitoring hallways and chatting with guests as they arrive. Coalition staff will be onsite to help as well. 

Volunteers can sign up at the coalition’s website.

Volunteers are needed each night from Dec. 1 until March 31, 2023. 


MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Michaela Towfighi is a Report for America corps member covering the Two New Hampshires for the Monitor. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in public policy and journalism and media studies in 2022. At Duke she covered education, COVID-19, the 2020 election and helped edit stories about the Durham County Courthouse for The 9th Street Journal and the triangle area's alt-weekly Indy Week. Her story about a family grappling with a delayed trial for a fatal car accident in Concord won first place in Duke’s Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism. Towfighi is an American expat who calls London, England, home despite being born in Boston.



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