Resources For Those in Need

In February of 2023, the Harvard Square Business Association met with faith based leaders and social services agencies to compile a list of resources for the unhoused and those who are in need.  Please visit the links provided for the most up to date information.

First Parish in Cambridge

1446 Massachusetts Avenue

Tuesday Meal Program

What started in 1987 as a group of First Parish members making a meal to serve 15 men and women on Tuesday evenings has evolved into a program serving 80 to 150 people each week with a number of professional staff and drawing on volunteers from all over the Greater Boston Area.

The mission of the Tuesday Meals Program is to offer warm hospitality and an evening meal in a safe, dignified environment to anyone in need of nourishment.

Tuesdays from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Fridge in the Square

Temporarily Closed

The community fridge is operated by neighbors for neighbors as part of a national network of community fridges. Take what you need, leave what you can. All are welcome to contribute to and use the community fridge.

Y2Y Shelter

At Y2Y Harvard Square, the nation’s first youth-led youth homeless shelter, guests collaborate with service providers, other youth experiencing homelessness, and student volunteers to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness and develop skills for long-term success. The shelter has 22 beds, which make up about 1/2 of the youth-specific shelter beds in the Greater Boston Area. Y2Y Harvard Square provides opportunities for both guests and student volunteers to become the next generation’s leading advocates for youth-driven solutions to homelessness.

Youth On Fire:

The Youth On Fire drop-in center was established in the fall of 2000 to provide a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for homeless and street-involved youth. YOF is open five days a week and serves young people between the ages of 14 and 24. Often the behaviors necessary to survive on the streets put these youth at a higher risk for contracting HIV. YOF serves the physical and mental needs of these youth.

The center offers basic necessities, as well as prevention information on HIV, STDs, Hepatitis C and other diseases associated with high-risk behavior. YOF has onsite hot meals, clothing, showers, and laundry facilities, as well as weekly medical care, mental health counseling, and referrals to community resources. The ultimate goal of YOF is to help as many youths as possible to have a healthy lifestyle, remain HIV-negative, and seek greater stability through permanent housing, employment, or school.

Youth in Fire is part of the Cambridge Cares About Aids program.

Christ Church

0 Garden Street, Cambridge

Thursday Meal Program:

The Harvard Square Churches Meals Program has been serving a hot meal every Thursday to anyone in need for over 40 years. Its mission is to provide a nutritious meal in a hospitable environment to anyone who needs it. The Thursday meal is currently being served at 5:30 (opens at 5:00 PM) in Christ Church’s parish hall for a sit-down. “To go” meals are no longer being served regularly, but the market place is open beginning at 4:30 PM.

On the Rise:

On the Rise is a day program that works with homeless and formerly homeless women who do not fit the requirements of other programs. On The Rise helps women meet basic nutritional, hygiene, and safety needs while also giving them flexible support to address issues related to trauma, addiction, mental and physical health, domestic and sexual violence, disabilities, immigration, legal problems, and poverty.

Christ Church Thrift Shop

Christ Church operates a thrift shop at 17 Farwell Place, behind the church, three days a week. The thrift shop is entirely run and staffed by volunteers. It offers inexpensive clothing and household items to students and anyone who is looking for a bargain. The Thrift Shop also coordinates with the Thursday Meals program and other church programs to provide clothing and shoes for those in need. Donations to the thrift shop can be left at the church. The Thrift Shop is currently on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 AM – 3:45 PM and Saturday from 11 AM – 2 PM.

Support Groups

  • AA (Hair of the Dog) every Monday through Thursday at 7:30am
  • Al Anon (Cambridge Courageous) Mondays at 7:00pm
  • Al Anon (Cambridge Intimacy AFG) Wednesdays at 7:00pm
  • ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) Thursdays at 7:00pm

First Church

11 Garden Street

The First Church Shelter

Since 1987, the mission of First Church Shelter has been to serve 14 men experiencing homelessness. It offers a safe space, home-cooked meals, and coaching. While in Shelter care, our guests strive to find housing, work, health services, and any other qualities of a good life they may need to get back on their feet. The Shelter aims to provide guests with a safe, dignified, and home-like space, along with hospitality and support, as they make steps to rebuild their lives. Guests are admitted via referrals from qualified professionals, and must not be dependent upon alcohol or drugs at the time of admission.

The Friday Café

The Friday Café, a weekly daytime drop-in program, offers a welcoming space where homeless and housed adults can gather and get to know each other. Serving an average of 100 guests a week, it offers food and coffee, rest and resources to people living on the margins—but most importantly, community. At the Friday Café, people experiencing a wide variety of life circumstances can relax, share a meal, and talk together as friends.

The Friday Café takes place every Friday from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. at 11 Garden Street.

University Lutheran Church

66 Winthrop Street

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.

Harvard Square Summer Shelter

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

St. Paul’s Parish

29 Mt. Auburn Street

Food Pantry

The food pantry is open every Saturday from 10:00 to 1:00 in the lower church. All are welcome. They distribute bags of fresh produce, bread, and desserts. They also offer a selection of meat, dairy, frozen meals, and prepared foods provided by Food Link and Food for Free. In addition, everyone can select two items from the pantry each week. The entrance is under the bridge in the courtyard that connects the church to the parish office.

Community Advent and Lenten Lunches

Every Wednesday during Advent and Lent after the 12:10 Mass, they prepare and serve home-cooked meals for our homeless and others in the community, including parishioners who are welcome to join their guests.

Harvard-Epworth Church

1555 Massachusetts Ave

The primary social service our building houses is 12-step groups.  This is our current schedule:

  • Gratitude Noontime AA (library) Mon – Fri 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
  • Men’s Twelve Step AA (library) Mon 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Boston Area Trans Support group (vestry) Tues 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Cambridge Young People’s Group of AA (vestry) Wed 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • Book Book 5000 AA (library) Thurs 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Express Yourself NA (library, vestry when large group) Thurs 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Cambridge Outdoor Church

On the 3rd Sunday of each month, volunteers from Harvard-Epworth prepare and distribute sandwiches to persons in Cambridge who are homeless. Volunteers (individuals or groups) from the church are invited to provide sandwiches as well as to distribute them. There is also an opportunity to provide and/or distribute sandwiches every 3rd Saturday of the month. A sign-up sheet can be found in the entrance hall of the church building for those interested in being a part of this vital ministry. For more information go to

Capuchin Mobile Ministries

A ministry of accompaniment; a ministry of presence. Together we will discover Christ already present among us. 

  • We will conduct outreach trips several days a week to the places where the homeless congregate.
  • We will share food and drink
  • We will offer them spiritual resources and direct them to social services
  • We will listen to their stories
  • We will pray together
  • We will remember everyone we meet in a prayer ledger, and our Capuchin friars everywhere will be praying for them.

Paine Senior Services

3 Church Street

The goal of the services provided is to guide clients regarding the choices they have, given the personal and community resources available to them.  Services may be short-term or long-term, depending on the client’s needs and wishes.  PSS works collaboratively with clients, caregivers, and service providers to provide clients with consultation, access to benefits and services, caregiver support, counseling, and other support services. 

Furnishing Hope

131 Mount Auburn Street, Level B Furnishing Hope of Massachusetts, Inc. is a Cambridge-based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping Boston area families create a home for themselves as they transition from homeless and domestic violence shelters into stable housing. They provide families with the furniture, household goods, moving and set up services necessary to create a comfortable and nurturing environment from which to make a new start.

Solutions at Work

Solutions at Work is a not-for-profit organization that helps homeless people get back on their feet permanently. Their mission is to empower themselves, as people who have experienced homelessness, to work together to define the problems of homelessness, and to develop and implement real solutions.

Services include:

  • Transitional Employment
  • Children’s Clothing Exchange (a used clothing exchange)
  • Cambridge Furniture Bank (used furniture given out for free)
  • Moving Up (a moving service for elderly and those in need)
  • Wheels (donated cars for transportation to new jobs)
  • Speak Up (advocacy for issues affecting the homeless)