The Dunedin Night Shelter Trust (the Trust) was formed on 1 April 2004 and is incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 (No. 1504117).  It is registered under the Charities Commission (No. CC29266) and has Charitable and Donee status with the Inland Revenue Department.  The Trust was formed to provide a Night Shelter in Dunedin where temporarily homeless people in need can stay the night in comfort, free of charge.

From November 2004 until April 2006 homeless men and women were placed overnight in backpackers and camping grounds because the Trust did not have a night shelter operating at that time.  In January 2005 a Coordinator was employed for 30 hours a week to help find suitable permanent accommodation for homeless men, women and families when they requested this assistance.  This placement service continued until June 2011 when the position was terminated in order to save costs, to cease carrying out activities also being done by other organisations and to focus on staffing, funding and running the Night Shelter. 

On 1 April 2006 a lease was signed for a property at 35 Maitland Street to open a night shelter for up to eight homeless persons.  A pilot study carried out in 1998 at the former House of Bethany had shown that the greatest need for overnight temporary accommodation in Dunedin was for homeless men, therefore the Shelter initially operated as a men only facility.  Overtime the demographic of those seeking assistance from the Shelter has shifted to include more women and occasional family groups.  The Trust has responded to the changing needs of its community and the Shelter now welcomes all those who require its services.

On 1 April 2008, following termination of the lease for 35 Maitland Street, the Trust signed a lease for a nearby property at 87 Manor Place with accommodation for up to eight persons and it operated from this property until May 2012. 

In May 2012 the Trust signed a lease for a two nearby properties at 18 Lees Street, with a view to fundraising to purchase these premises.  The Trust used the second building to broaden its services to include a transitional housing programme known as Phoenix Lodge.  This programme provides short-term stepping-stone accommodation for people, who for various reasons, are struggling to obtain mainstream accommodation.

In September 2015 the Trust completed its successful fundraising campaign, and on 5 October 2015 took ownership of the Lees Steet premises.