Harvard Independent

The Holiday Markets You Must Visit This Month

With the winter season comes everything festive, from music and food to decorations and lights. Ringing in the cold months ahead, holiday markets in Cambridge and Boston allow local businesses to sell their products and shoppers to come together in holiday spirit. Explore the festivities on display and the talented entrepreneurs behind them at some of the best local markets this season. 

Cambridge Arts’ Holiday Market

The Cambridge Arts’ Holiday Market, located right in the Smith Campus Center in Harvard Square, features a variety of art vendors selling hand crafted artwork, jewelry, clothing, and more. Featuring live music and a large selection of local vendors, the market will run from December 8 to December 10, from 11 AM to 6 PM each day.

The Market was home to all sorts of business owners selling their products, from artwork to accessories to calendars. Rakel Papke Seixes’s festive stand showcased various Christmas gifts, tote bags, and humorous drawstring backpacks from her business “By Papke.” 

Across the room, Laura Quincy Jones was selling greeting cards with watercolor and ink illustrations that she designs. Jones, whose business is named after herself, has participated with the Cambridge Arts Council in open studios for almost twenty years. One of her favorite parts of the Market is meeting people who are interested in art.  “Of course, it is important to support your work, but it is really nice to communicate with buyers,” she said. 

Daisy Hebb from Green Blossom Painting, who joined the Cambridge Arts’ Market last year, echoed that she also likes selling at fairs because of the interpersonal interactions. She sells calendars which celebrate nature, and she said she loves speaking to people about their relationships with nature at the market. But the engagement with people extends beyond the selling stage.  “These calendars are collaborations between myself, the artist, and scientists, like native bee specialists, a professor of entomology, and an herbalist specialist,” Hebb shared. 

Lloyd Williams of Boston Custom Cards sells acrylics on canvas, along with holiday notecards. He said conversations with shoppers at markets help guide him on what kind of products people are interested in. “I do a lot of landscapes and cityscapes of Boston, so I figured out that people in Boston like a lot of Boston-related artwork,” Williams explained. The Cambridge Arts’ Market was just one of a few holiday shows he attends every year. Find him on Instagram @varsudan999.


Nestled in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood, Snowport features over 120 local small businesses, food, a tree market, and other essentials. In its second year, this widely popular holiday market transforms Seaport into the perfect destination for holiday shopping or a photo-op.

Simply Placed, owned by Sydney Ortega and located in Beverley, Massachusetts, specializes in home decor, and sells Christmas decorations at the market. “This is our first time here in Boston,” Nancy Foster explained, an employee of Simply Placed.  Foster said the holiday market gives Simply Placed good exposure, considering they also sell online, allowing them to expand their customer base. “All of our business cards are gone. People are always asking about us.”

Katie Gogishvili, who sells handmade jewelry in her company MOTTIVE inc., also appreciated the opportunity to gain exposure for her business. She explained she wanted to sell at Snowport because it allows for small businesses such as hers to get attention and recognition. “This is a perfect place for people to find me. Everyday, there are new people who I get to know, and they get to know my brand.” Markets like this help businesses grow, Katie said. “It is important to keep my jewelry in the community.”

While some business owners only had one stand, others ran multiple. The Happy Cactus is just one of several businesses that owner Tucker Gaccione has at Snowport. Donald, an employee at The Happy Cactus, explained they specialize in gift items, such as 1000-piece vintage puzzle sets and butterflies that were sourced ethically from Peru and other South American countries. “The items are beautiful,” Donald said. He said the appeal of markets like this are the foot traffic, explaining he loves seeing customers reacting to the items on sale. “There’s nothing else that could put a smile on my face. We could do online sales, but we lose that people-aspect.”

Yamacu Gift Shop sells African-based products, such as spices, teas, shea butter, snacks, and more. Khalifa, who works for his aunt, explained that his aunt wanted to sell at Snowport due to its popularity. “There are a lot of people [who go to Snowport], so it is a great way to make money.” Khalifa explained that these markets help Yamacu grow, and though it is a lot of work, “being at this kind of market gives exposure, allowing more people to see and try your business. In the long run, it is good for the business.” 

Boston Women’s Holiday Market, Brighton

The Boston Women’s Market, co-founded by owners Cara and Africa, is a market made to help support women-owned businesses. The Holiday Market, which runs at a variety of locations on various days, from The Speedway in Brighton and The Station on Boylston Street, features local women-owned businesses selling jewelry, pastries, art, clothing, and more.

Rachel Kashdan sells cupcakes, gingerbread kits, and hand-designed cards in her business “batter+bloom.” Kashdan spoke positively of the Boston Women’s Market. “The organizers, Cara and Africa, are great to work with,” Kashdan stated. “Everyone who sells at the markets are really creative and great people to be around, especially during the holidays.” Kashdan has a lot of fun getting to interact with the community through selling at the market, getting to know people she hasn’t met before, and seeing them enjoy her work, as she is “proud of what she makes.”

Willis & Bell sells handmade clothing and other handmade items. “It would be a great burge of different types of people getting to see all of my items,” Amy, the owner of Willis & Bell said, when asked why she wanted to sell at the market. 

Dani, the owner of Best Friend Supplies co., sells dog accessories, including bandanas, bows, and leash sleeves, an “advocacy tool that helps owners advocate for the space for their dog. Dani wanted to sell at the Boston Women’s Market because of the people. “We have a really nice community here. Sometimes as small-business owners, you feel isolated in the way you are alone and making everything,” Dani said. “When you come here, you are amongst a lot of other women who get it. You feel supported, and the markets themselves are very uplifting spaces where you can meet a lot of new people.”

Julia of Celia Jane Designs, named after her daughter, makes handmade jewelry. Julia agreed that the Boston Women’s Market offers a supportive environment for sellers. “This is my third one. [The owners] are great about creating a unique environment for shoppers,” she said. “I am in some stores around the area, but this is the best way to meet and see people.”


MIT Sloan professor’s new book chronicles the crazy, complicated love story of Harvard Square–and downtowns across America

Author Catherine J. Turco explores the attachments we form to the markets in our lives

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Why do so many of us feel like our local Main Streets and downtowns are not what they used to be? This question lies at the heart of a new book, Harvard Square: A Love Story (Columbia University Press)by Catherine J. Turco, an economic sociologist at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

New book, Harvard Square: A Love Story, explores why many believe local Main Street markets are not what they used to be

Using the case of Harvard Square, Turco explores the role of street-level markets in our daily lives, why we fall in love with them, and why we so often struggle with changes in them. Located in Cambridge, MA, directly adjacent to Harvard University, “the Square”—as it is affectionately called by locals—has for years served as a commercial center to residents and students in the area. Harvard Square: A Love Story dives deeply into the history of this one beloved marketplace, revealing, in the process, the complicated love affair Americans everywhere have long had with their own downtowns.

Turco’s initial impetus for the project was personal. She came to know and love the Harvard Square marketplace as a young girl, visiting her grandfather at his work as a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority bus driver whose route took him through the Square each day, and having breakfast there with her father every Sunday morning. She went on to attend Harvard University, from which she earned a BA in economics, an MBA, and PhD in sociology. Years later, having moved back to Harvard Square, she began to worry that the vibrant marketplace she recalled from her youth wasn’t what it used to be, and she set out to understand why. Turco’s historical research soon unearthed a surprising finding, however: For hundreds of years, it seemed, one generation after another had lamented that Harvard Square “wasn’t what it used to be.

“At that point, I realized I had an even bigger puzzle to tackle,” Turco says. “I had to understand why Harvard Square had always been not what it used to be—and what that meant, more generally, about our relationship with markets and market change.”

With an eye for forensic detail, Turco conducts “autopsies” of dearly departed Harvard Square businesses to reveal the variety of market forces constantly creating change at the street level. She also dives into the most heated moments in Harvard Square’s history to investigate why certain changes have provoked extreme public outrage and why others have not.

Turco continually invites readers to shift their vantage point so as to see things from the often-contrasting perspectives of residents, activists, business owners, and landlords, all of whom forge their own deep attachments to the marketplace. Readers meet compelling characters, past and present, such as the early 20th century businessmen who bonded over scotch and cigars to found the Harvard Square Business Association; a feisty, frugal landlady who became one of the Square’s most powerful property owners by the mid-1900s; a local neighborhood group calling itself the Harvard Square Defense Fund that fought real estate developers throughout the 1980s and ’90s; and a local businesswoman who in recent decades strove to keep her shop afloat through personal tragedy, the rise of Amazon, and a globalizing property market that sent her rent soaring.

Harvard Square: A Love Story transcends existing economic and sociological theories to offer a powerful new lens for understanding markets—one that exposes the myriad (often hidden) ways in which our markets lend our lives stability and instability, security and insecurity. The book ultimately argues that our relationship with the markets in our lives is so complicated—and can provoke so much love and outrage—because, at its heart, it is about our relationship with ourselves and one another, how we come together and how we come apart.

Starting with the 17th century open-air market that sat atop the sloping hill off the banks of the Charles River and carrying readers up through the height of the pandemic, Turco reveals what a central, and centrally important, social institution street-level markets have always been in American life. The book concludes by raising a set of tough questions we must ask ourselves in our particular historical moment of streaming content, delivery on demand, and zoom meetings: What relationship do we want to have with our street-level markets going forward?

“Do we want to recommit to our dear old friend the marketplace?” Turco asks at the end. “Do we want to meet one another for coffee only in the Metaverse? Do we want the Amazon marketplace to be the only marketplace we visit? How much of our social and economic lives do we want to spend separated from one another by our screens instead of meeting in person in our town centers and neighborhood markets?”

Harvard Gazette

Abercrombie continues to flourish, with community support

FAbercrombie continues to flourish, with community support – Harvard Gazetteive years from his life-changing football injury, Ben Abercrombie continues his journey through Harvard, among a community which fiercely supports one of its most inspiring members.

Following his spinal cord injury, the Benson M. Abercrombie ’21 Fund was established by the Harvard Varsity Club (HVC) to assist the Abercrombie family with the significant medical and continuing care expenses they incur. Three annual community events are held to support the fund, including El Jefe’s Ben Abercrombie Day, Bowl for Ben, and 3.2 for Ben.

Though El Jefe’s has a new home at 14 Brattle St. in Harvard Square, owner John Schall’s annual Ben Abercrombie Day continues just the same when the fundraiser returns for a fifth year Dec. 6. All members of the Harvard community are invited to patronize the restaurant from 8 a.m. Dec. 6 to 4 a.m. Dec. 7, with all proceeds from the day (including gift card sales) donated to the Abercrombie Fund. To date, the El Jefe’s fundraiser has raised over $125,000.

Last month, the HVC hosted its third annual 3.2 for Ben, a fundraising event that began under the gathering restrictions of the pandemic. This year, nearly 500 participants independently ran or walked 3.2 miles, at their own time and pace. The distance was chosen to honor the jersey number 32 that Abercrombie wore for the Crimson. The HVC also hosted its third annual Bowl for Ben fundraiser on Nov. 18 in Boston’s Seaport District, on the eve of the 138th playing of The Game. More than 150 supporters turned out to celebrate the guest of honor.

In his first varsity football game in 2017, Abercrombie suffered a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed below the neck. The economics concentrator has continued his education while battling years of medical treatment and extensive rehabilitation.

The Crimson

Princess Kate of Wales Visits Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child

The Prince and Princess of Wales walk along the waterfront in Boston during their visit to the city last week. By Grace R. Bida

By Charlotte P. Ritz-Jack, Crimson Staff Writer

13 hours ago

Princess Catherine of Wales visited the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University on Friday as part of her tour of Boston alongside her husband, Prince William of Wales.

The visit comes as part of a partnership between the Center on the Developing Child and the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, an organization the princess launched in June 2021. Kate was greeted at Harvard by University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Bridget T. Long, and Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui.

Meanwhile, the Prince met with President Joe Biden at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The royal couple’s Boston tour culminated in a celebration of the Earthshot Prize, an award the Prince established to encourage innovation addressing climate change.

The Harvard Center on the Developing Child conducts research and development on issues of early childhood to foster effective policy-making. The Royal Foundation aims to produce research and campaigns improving children’s early years and to support underserved children around the world.

Jack P. Shonkoff, the director of the Center on the Developing Child, said in a Friday press conference that the organization aims to serve as “a resource for trusted, credible, cutting-edge science of early childhood” to inform the princess’ work.

“The reason for the visit was, first, to have a chance to meet face to face — we had not before,” he said. “It’s clear as her center, her new center, is poised to go out more publicly, she is really interested in a partnership with us and we are very interested in a partnership with her.”

Shonkoff said he was impressed by the Princess’s work to “connect the science to the lived experiences of people.”

“I was just very taken and really inspired by how serious she is about wanting to lean into an early childhood agenda,” he said.

Shonkoff also described the royals’ visit as key for drawing public attention to the center’s work.

“For me, the real home run here is giving attention to the issue,” he said.

Tobechukwu O. Nwafor ’25, one of the many Harvard students who gathered to meet the Princess on Friday, said her presence drew new attention to the work being done at the center.

“I didn’t even know that there was a Center on the Developing Child at Harvard,” he said in an interview. “So I think that even if she could even get people to look up the center, that’s an important thing.”

Crowds gathered in Harvard Square Friday to greet the Princess. Nawfor estimated more than 500 people flanked Church Street in anticipation for her arrival.

“I think it’s a once in a life-time opportunity to see a Princess — the Princess,” he said. “It was surreal.”

—Staff writer Charlotte P. Ritz-Jack can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Charritzjack.

CBS News

Prince and Princess of Wales finish 3-day Boston trip with Earthshot awards

Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales visited the United States for the first time in eight years with a three-day trip to Boston.

The royal couple focused their attention on their Earthshot Prize for environmental innovators Friday night. Prince William said he was inspired by JFK’s “Moonshot” speech to create a decade of action and collaboration to combat climate change. 


Kate Middleton Takes Harvard! Princess of Wales Steps Out for Solo Outing in the U.S.


  • Charles, Prince of Wales
  • Catherine, Princess of Wales
  • William, Prince of Wales



Kate Middleton Takes Harvard! Princess of Wales Steps Out for Solo Outing in the U.S.

 development and providing 
 children with the best 

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Kate Middleton Takes Harvard! Princess of Wales Steps Out for Solo Outing in the U.S.

Kate Middleton is learning new things at Harvard!

The Princess of Wales made a solo outing on Friday morning as part of her three-day visit to the United States alongside her husband Prince William. The royal visited Harvard University outside Boston, heading to the prestigious school’s Center on the Developing Child.

Kate, 40, spoke with researchers about the advances in science that can be harnessed to achieve a promising future for every child. During her conversation with the experts, she was diligently taking notes.

During the outing, Kate echoed her father-in-law King Charles‘ own visit to Harvard University in 1986 when she signed the guest book — 36 years after the future King signed his name.

Harvard Gazette

Princess makes most of Harvard visit

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, stopped at Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child on Friday as part of a visit to the Boston area with her husband William, now Prince of Wales and second in line to the throne behind his father, King Charles III.

The couple arrived in Boston on Wednesday. They traveled to the city to award the second annual Earthshot Prize — founded by the prince and given by the Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales to innovators working on climate change solutions — in a ceremony Friday night.

Presented in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy Foundation, the Earthshot Prize awards ₤1 million to five winners, each working in a unique field — nature protection and restoration, air quality improvement, ocean revival, waste reduction, and emissions control.

The prince noted during the trip that he was inspired by President Kennedy’s 1962 “moonshot” speech and subsequent space exploration efforts. Kennedy’s example was one of the key inspirations in bringing the prize to Boston, according to the prince.

“Boston was also the obvious choice because your universities, research centers, and vibrant start-up scene make you a global leader in science, innovation, and boundless ambition,” he said at a City Hall kickoff event.


Harvard building project would move A.R.T. to Allston

The American Repertory Theater is slated to get a new home as Harvard University moves forward with its plans to build a performing arts center — and a 14-story residential building — in Allston. 

Harvard filed plans with the City of Boston this week for a mixed-use development to be built at 175 North Harvard St., near its athletic complex. The university previously announced its intention to relocate the A.R.T. to Allston in 2019, following a $100 million donation from David E. and Stacey L. Goel.


The award-winning theater has called Cambridge’s Brattle Street home since its founding in 1980, operating out of the Loeb Drama Center. 

However, “though [Loeb] was a state-of-the-art building when it was designed, it currently lacks access for patrons and artists and no longer meets the standards of excellence for theater practice, and by extension, the overall vision for the future of the A.R.T.,” Harvard wrote in its Nov. 30 filing. 

The proposed three-story, 68,000-square-foot performance center would include two theaters — one seating 700 people, the other 300 — as well as rehearsal, support, and office space. 

Harvard also plans to construct a residential building with approximately 264 units of housing for graduate students, faculty, staff, and their families. The university’s housing portfolio is consistently at or near 100% occupancy, and there are typically four times as many applicants as there are available units during the annual spring housing lottery, per Harvard’s filing. 

Building amenities would include a 75-space underground parking garage; wellness and fitness rooms; meeting spaces; and lounges for study, recreation, and socializing, according to the plans. 

The bike pavilion off Ivy Lane at Harvard’s proposed new home for the American Repertory Theater and a 14-story apartment building in Allston.

The 2.7-acre site is currently home to a one-story office building that dates back to 1957. Harvard previously proposed building a 3,000-seat basketball venue there in its 2013 institutional master plan, but decided to update and modernize the existing Lavietes Basketball Pavilion instead. 

“The needed improvements to and expansion of the A.R.T.’s theater facilities, and the construction of Harvard-affiliate housing, represent one of … Harvard’s strategic building blocks focused on implementing changes and growth for Harvard to ensure its vitality and its future,” the university wrote in its filing.

A.R.T. sees the new performance arts center as a chance to expand the definition of theater, community programming, and live performance, Executive Director Kelvin Dinkins Jr. explained in an interview with The Boston Globe

“What a new center means — it’s a gift. It really is a gift, in the best sense of the word,” he told the newspaper.

Harvard Crimson

Dying Without Identification in Harvard Square

What exactly happens to an unhoused person if they die, unidentified, in the state of Massachusetts?

About a year ago, on Nov. 19, 2021, Kody Christiansen found an unhoused man dead in front of the Bank of America in Harvard Square.

“I’ll never forget his face. It was blue — it was frozen in time — he was gone,” Christiansen, a Harvard Extension School student and special student to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, wrote in an article for the Harvard Political Review.

The man was known around the Square by the name of “Michael” — no last name, no further identifying familial information. He had been living around the neighborhood for years. Some residents knew to leave peanut butter and crackers, one of his favorite snacks, for him in the community fridge.

But without a confirmed full name, state ID, wallet on his person, or fingerprint in the government system, the state of Massachusetts considered Michael to be “unknown” at the time of his death.

By the time the winter snow melted and spring began, no one had laid claim to Michael’s body. Thus began a series of communications between local residents, who wanted to memorialize Michael after his death, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, whose decisions were governed by the state’s right of disposition laws.

For many locals, the incident raised a critical question that few had asked before. What exactly happens to an unhoused person if they die, unidentified, in the state of Massachusetts?

‘Waiting and Waiting’

At the time of his death, the only identifying object that Michael had on his body was a yellow silicone wristband with a phone number to the Capuchin Mobile Ministries.

The group, which defines itself as a “ministry of spiritual caregiving” for unhoused people, runs outreach trips throughout the Greater Boston Area, offering religious resources as well as meals to those in need.

According to Father Sam Fuller, Michael had approached the Ministries at their Harvard Square stop.

“We didn’t quite know his name — he didn’t say much — but he certainly had a benevolent presence about him,” Fuller says. “We didn’t really get involved until we all of a sudden got a call from the city morgue.”

Unfortunately, the Capuchin Fathers had no identifying information about Michael to provide the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. “It was heartbreaking,” Fuller says. Months later, members of the Capuchin Mobile Ministries noticed a short poem — which Christiansen wrote — pinned to a tree outside the Bank of America. Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, had helped organize the small act of tribute.

The poem, which addresses Michael as a “neighbor” and “friend,” reminisces about the days he would sleep outside storefronts in the Square and wishes him peace throughout his permanent rest. “Your soul, your light — not forgotten by us here,” it reads. “Forever in our hearts your memory shall stay dear.”

The lines moved Fuller to reach out to Jillson and lead the Capuchin Fathers in planning a brief memorial service for Michael near the Bank of America tree. But both Jillson and Fuller recognized that a proper funeral could not be held without the state handing over Michael’s body.

“We were all waiting for the body to be released, and waiting, and waiting,” Fuller says.

Released as ‘Unknown’

According to Massachusetts general law, after a proper investigation or examination by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, bodies may be released to the descendant’s “surviving spouse, the next of kin, or any friend of the deceased.” In the case that a body cannot be identified, it becomes the responsibility of the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance.

The DTA specifically provides for the disposition of deceased individuals who are recipients of government assistance, who would have been eligible for assistance at their time of death, or who died anonymously. In such situations, the DTA has a budget for organizing a funeral and final disposition for the person.

Michael’s body would supposedly be released to the DTA, and it seemed that it would stay there. Even as far out as late April, residents who hoped to organize a funeral for Michael still faced resistance from the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office.

“It’s been six months. We have all of these people in the community who are willing to take the body and embalm it, have a service, and bury him appropriately. Will you release the body?” Jillson remembers asking the Examiner’s Office at the time. “They absolutely [would] not.”

At the end of May, an official from the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office reached out to Jillson to say the state had “exhausted all efforts in trying to make a positive identification for the Unknown Male that was pronounced at Mt. Auburn Hospital.”

“He will be released from our office as Unknown,” the email said.

Jillson reached out to those in the neighborhood who had offered to help with Michael’s case, expressing relief and gratitude.

Tim Keefe, whose family owns the Keefe Funeral Home in Cambridge, volunteered to embalm Michael’s body. He calls the situation a “very rare case.”

“Typically, a body that’s not identified is not released,” he says. He adds, “There were no fingerprints on record; he had no police record. And then, the medical examiners weren’t even sure if Michael was indeed his real first name.”

But Keefe believes that it was Jillson’s persistence and willingness to take responsibility that likely made the medical examiners amenable to the request. The Keefe Funeral Home became the official claimant of the body.

“They were comfortable releasing him into our care knowing that cremation was not going to take place and that he would be buried in a grave that would be marked — and ultimately, space would be given for him,” Keefe says. (Cremation would prevent potential family members or friends from being able to come forward and claim Michael’s body in the future.)

On June 30, Keefe brought the hearse in front of the First Parish Church in the Square. The long wait for Michael’s remembrance ceremony had come to an end. Michael was given a burial plot at the Cambridge Cemetery, finally laid to rest.

I Deserve ID

It has been a year since Christiansen found Michael in front of the Bank of America, and that cold morning in November, that image of Michael’s face, remains on his mind.

“The community coming together for Michael was beautiful,” Christiansen recalls. “I wish it had been easier.

Christiansen had, of course, hoped that the coroner would succeed in identifying Michael’s body and reaching out to his family members. “Somebody somewhere is missing their brother, their son, their cousin,” he says.

But given that this wasn’t the case, Christiansen says he feels “blessed” that he was the one to find Michael and could make the effort to ensure he did not “just disappear into the ether.”

To help prevent cases like Michael’s from occurring again, Christiansen has launched a program at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter called “I Deserve ID.” Funded by grants from the Harvard College Social Fund and Harvard Radcliffe Institute, I Deserve ID assists HSHS clients with acquiring identification, a process that Christiansen knows to be both difficult and expensive from personal experience.

“As a formerly homeless person myself, I lost my ID on multiple occasions. Things were stolen from shelters; things were lost in the evenings,” Christiansen says.

He adds, “When you’re in a homeless shelter or when you’re on the streets, it’s really hard to motivate yourself to go get the help that you need. I personally was depressed. I didn’t think there was a lot of light at the end of the tunnel when I was at my lowest point of homelessness. So thinking about going to the Social Security office and standing in line for hours and trying to prove who I am without any documents — in order to get a document — just felt like a Herculean task.”

HSHS, which hosts up to 24 people every night from October to April — now provides its clients with a document of comprehensive information about how to apply for an ID, pays for their application, and allows them to set the shelter as the return address for the ID. This return address is a key part of the process — the unhoused population faces a particular barrier to procuring identification because they do not have a home address to send it to.

Christiansen says that several people have already utilized the program. He hopes HSHS will continue offering the service in years to come.

As Christiansen prepares to leave campus upon graduation in May, he imagines that Michael’s story will encourage Harvard students to reflect on how they treat Harvard Square’s unhoused residents.

Michael’s loss is just one of many within Cambridge’s unhoused population, although it received more attention than most others. But beyond the issue of identification, his death has prompted many residents to seriously consider what it would take to keep unhoused people safe — to see them as neighbors, to show care and concern for their lives and not just their deaths.