Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Homeless Shelter

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter

In February of 1983, Harvard Divinity School student Stewart Guernsey worked with University Lutheran Church leaders to open a student-run emergency homeless shelter in the basement of the church building. Each winter since then, the Shelter has provided dinner, breakfast, and a place to sleep for 23 homeless men and women each night. It has also provided thousands of Harvard students and others with opportunities to learn about and serve the community around them.

The Shelter, which is open from November 1 to April 15, is directed entirely by students from Phillips Brooks House Association, Harvard’s student-run public service organization. In addition to these volunteer directors, students from many Boston-area colleges and universities, members of the UniLu congregation, and others from the community help with meal preparation, cleanup, etc. each evening.

The Shelter is funded by government and private contributions as well as donations from individuals. In 1997, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter Corporation, an independent 501(c)3 organization, was formed to join University Lutheran in a campaign to improve the Shelter facilities.

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Harvard Square Summer Shelter

UniLu has hosted the Harvard Square Summer Shelter, a seven-week student-run transitional housing program, since 2010.

Originally known as the Saint James’s Summer Shelter and hosted by St. James’s Episcopal Church in Porter Square, the Harvard Square Summer Shelter seeks to improve the lives of homeless individuals by offering a comprehensive range of resources needed to transition into permanent housing and employment. HSSS is directed by Harvard students and is a member of the Phillips Brooks House Association of Harvard University.

To find out more about working or volunteering in, staying in, or supporting the Harvard Square Summer Shelter, sign up for the mailing list or write to summerHSHS@pbha.org.