Emergency Winter Shelter - 160 Mechanic Street

Project Updates

Delay in opening date:
Due to construction delays, the anticipated opening is January 6, 2024
The closing date is still anticipated to be April 14, 2024

Private funding secured to date:

  • $25,000 Dartmouth Health for renovations
  • $20,000 Mascoma Bank for renovations
  • $50,000 Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation for operations

On July 19, 2023, the City Council authorized the purchase of 160 Mechanic Street, Lebanon. The authorized purchase of this location was primarily to ensure the State of New Hampshire acquires the required right-of-way area for a planned 2029 transportation project (roundabout intersection) that is part of the improvements to the Mechanic Street corridor. The City closed on the property on August 31, 2023, and now officially owns the property. As the building is currently vacant and will remain so until it is demolished for construction of the intersection, the City of Lebanon has been working with the Upper Valley Haven to assess the feasibility of renovating and operating the building as an emergency winter shelter.

As was revealed by a Point-In-Time Count conducted in January of this year, sixteen individuals were found to be unsheltered in the Lebanon area. It is the goal of the City, in conjunction with the Haven, to assist as many of those individuals as possible with finding refuge from the cold this winter. As such an emergency winter shelter will be established to provide beds for up to fifteen individuals during the overnight hours from approximately December 15, 2023, to April 14, 2024. 

Private funding has been obtained to help offset the capital and operational costs for the shelter. We are grateful to Dartmouth-Health and the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation for their generosity and support of this effort. Additional requests are being made for funding and we are hopeful that we will receive additional dollars. 

The City of Lebanon is committed to enhancing the lives of its residents. By providing a refuge from the cold and offering a chance for individuals to regain stability, the city strives to make a positive impact and demonstrate compassion for those experiencing homelessness.

160 Mechanic Street


Human Services Department

Contact the Human Services Department

Is the plan to have the emergency winter shelter plan open for more than 1 year?
The State Fire Marshall currently allows for temporary/emergency shelters to operate with approval from the local authority having jurisdiction (Fire Chief or designee) for no more than 120 days total. Therefore, the operational plan is for this coming winter only. The Upper Valley Haven is in the early stages of developing a year-round, 20-bed shelter in Hartford with an unknown outcome at this time. We will revisit the need for an emergency winter shelter in Lebanon for the 2024-2025 winter season if it is still needed and the experience in 2023-2024 was positive.

 What dates would the shelter be open? 
The goal is to have the shelter open 7 days a week, 5:00pm - 8:00am, from approximately December 15, 2023, through April 14, 2024.

How many people will be allowed to shelter each night?
The goal is to provide shelter for up to 15 people per night. Once architectural plans have been finalized, we will know how many beds will be available.

How will this “temporary shelter” not create a more permanent and growing problem? Once the winter dates are past, what happens to the temporarily housed? Will they be transitioned back to their families, or will they be back to living unsheltered?
The goal of this shelter is to save lives. Shelters also provide an opportunity to work with people who are unhoused and help them consider their futures and connect to essential community services. Shelter guests will be referred to service coordinators who can assist with housing plans. Some guests may be able to secure housing by the time the shelter closes for the season. Other guests may return to the outdoors, either camping or living in their vehicles. Housing ends homelessness, so the goal is to help shelter guests obtain housing.