Despite weather forecast, Emergency Winter Shelter will not reopen for people experiencing homelessness

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 04-02-2024 6:00 PM

Despite a forecast for snow, heavy rain and high winds Wednesday night into Thursday, the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness will not reopen their emergency winter shelter for the night.

The shelter, which is open from December through March, to provide a nighttime reprieve throughout the winter closed on Sunday.

Instead, the nonprofit will coordinate with other partner agencies, like the Friendly Kitchen, to provide extended hours throughout the day Wednesday and Thursday for indoor shelter, after the Coalition’s Resource Center closes at 11:30 a.m.

These preparations are no different to their response during extreme weather incidents this winter, said Kait Gallagher, the director of development and communications for the Concord Coalition.

“Although the timing of this storm is unfortunate, our clients and guests are prepared for the inclement weather, just as they would be during the spring, summer, and fall months before the shelter opens again,” she wrote in an email.

Ahead of the winter shelter closing, the Community Action Program of Belknap and Merrimack Counties has distributed survival and camping gear to people experiencing homelessness, according to Gallagher.

Concord Coalition staff has also worked with their clients to find sleeping arrangements for when the shelter closed on April 1, she said.

The Emergency Winter Shelter has a capacity of 40 beds per night and was housed in the Resource Center at the Coalition’s headquarters on North Main Street. On average, 31 people stayed there each night.

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Previously, it was housed at the First Congregational Church across the street, however, the nonprofit sold the space last year. Now it will be converted into market-rate apartments.

In the last year, the Capital Area Street Outreach Collaborative has worked to identify every individual experiencing homelessness in the area with current estimates of nearly 450 people.