The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness is repurposing a historic church on Main Street into an emergency winter shelter and resource center.
The expansion comes as shelters across the state struggle to balance demand with strict social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols.
“Our existing shelter was built with the idea of efficiently serving as many people as possible: one big room with wall to wall beds,” says Ellen Groh, the director of the coalition. “It was the opposite of social distancing.”
The coalition says the new space, at the former First Congregational Church on 177 N. Main Street, will allow them to resume offering shelter to 40 people starting this weekend.
The coalition bought and upgraded the property with an $830,000 grant from the federal CARES Act, which came via the New Hampshire Finance Authority.
“This funding was an absolutely tremendous gift that was so needed to help people serve people who are homeless, and stay safe,” says Groh.
Reverend Emilia Halstead, pastor of First Congregational Church in Concord, said the congregation was “deeply moved” to sell the building to the coalition.
After the pandemic, Groh said the organization hopes to convert part of the church to affordable housing units for formerly homeless residents.