Concord’s emergency winter shelter to open through March 

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 12-03-2023 9:15 AM

The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness winter shelter will open Monday, providing a nighttime reprieve for people experiencing homelessness through March.

The shelter will return to the coalition’s site at 238 N. Main Street in the small building behind the resource center. With 20 bunk beds, there will be room for 40 individuals each night.

The shelter is open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. The nightly hours coincide with meals at the Friendly Kitchen, where dinner is served until 5:45 p.m. and breakfast begins at 8 a.m.

Often during winter months the combination of the coalition’s Resource Center, the Friendly Kitchen’s meal times and the emergency winter shelter hours provide a patchwork of warm indoor spaces.

For the last two years, the coalition operated the shelter out of the First Congregational Church across the street, which they purchased in 2020 to provide more room for social distancing during the pandemic.

When the nonprofit initially purchased the church, they hoped to eventually convert it into apartments to provide permanent supportive housing for clients. However, the cost of doing so proved too high, and the building was sold to developers earlier this year for a $5 million renovation that will create 33 market-rate apartments.

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Now it will be close quarters in the low-barrier shelter.

Earlier this fall, Concord Coalition to End Homelessness director Karen Jantzen asked the city’s Committee on Homelessness if there was an alternative space to house the shelter.

In the First Congregational Church site, on nights with extreme weather, the space could accommodate closer to 50 individuals if needed. On average, the shelter housed 33 people.

There was also adequate room to separate folks.

Now, the return to 238 N. Main Street means that the 40 beds will provide a stricter capacity limit. With bunk beds as well, Jantzen worries about elderly individuals who may need a bottom bunk.

The winter shelter depends on volunteers for both night and morning shifts to check in guests upon arrival and help wake up and check out individuals the following morning.

Night shifts are from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and mornings are from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., with volunteers needed from Dec. 4 until March 31.

To sign-up to volunteer, visit signupgenius.com/go/10C0F45AEA92DA4FEC43-44756351-cceh#/

For more information about staying at the winter shelter, call the Coalition’s Resource Center at (603) 219-0287.