First Church Shelter

Since 1987, First Church Shelter has provides a basic act of mercy to the poor and homeless of Cambridge and surrounding communities. Each evening 14 men are provided with a safe, comfortable place to stay. Our guests have access to two meals, showers and personal storage facilities for their belongings.

First Church Shelter also offers guests assistance with identifying and securing resources they need to move out of homelessness. A significant portion of that assistantance comes from a partnership between the Shelter and Homestart.

Shelter staff are available to help guests negotiate the frequently difficult and intimidating process of applying for public benefits or subsidized housing.

The Shelter is accessed on a referral only basis and is not able to accept walk-ins. Primary funding for the Shelter comes from a contract between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and First Church Cambridge. The work of the Shelter would not be possible without additional assistance from other sources including the membership of First Church. Donations to support the Shelter are tax deductible.

On February 10, 2002, First Church celebrated the successful completion of a half-million dollar capital campaign and renovation of the Shelter through a rededication ceremony that took place within both the church sanctuary and the Shelter.

The First Church Shelter and First Church community recognize the critical role played in the opening of the shelter by the late Doris Beauvais through an annual lecture. The lecture helps promote the idea of dedicated, loving service embodied by the life and witness of Doris.

Both the Shelter and the larger church community have consistently engaged in public action to help address those factors that help precipitate and perpetuate homelessness and persistent poverty. The Shelter sponsors an annual lecture and award in honor of the late Mitch Snyder. Snyder's singular commitment to the poor and homeless, while originating in Washington, D.C., helped spur nationwide action around the scandal of homelessness and poverty in the world's richest, most powerful nation. The Mitch Snyder Lectures help focus the attention of people within and outside First Church community, on critical issues related to addressing homelessness and poverty.

Want to get involved?

Do you have time to prepare a meal at the Shelter? Would you like to help collect personal hygiene items for use by shelter guests? Have you some other interest or gift to offer in support of the work being done at First Church Shelter? If so, feel free to contact Jim Stewart.

Click here to see the First Church Shelter photo gallery.

Additional resources for homeless people can be found here.

R&B artist Nancia interviews Jim Stewart, First Church Shelter Program Director.

Jim Stewart, Shelter Director

Upcoming First Church Shelter Events

Latest First Church Shelter News

First Church Shelter's 2015 Doris Beauvais Lecture and Luncheon
Posted: Sep 14 2015 - 12:00pm

The First Church Shelter Committee and staff invite the First Church community to the 2015 Doris Beauvais Lecture and Luncheon, Sunday, October 11, in Margaret Jewett Hall, following Morning Worship. The 2015 Beauvais Lecturer is Rev. Tina Rathbone, Cathedral Missioner at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Boston. She is the author of "A World Apart" and "On the Outside Looking In: A Year in an Inner City High School." This year's Beauvais Lecture will also recognize the efforts of Boston Warm and those at Old South responsible for making Boston Warm happen, Emmanuel Church, American Friends Service Committee's Material Assistance Program, Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee and Brittany Gravely of Harvard Film Archive.They will be presented with Mitch Snyder awards for their leadership roles in responding to the needs of those displaced and dispersed following the loss of access to shelter and services on Boston Harbor’s Long Island.

The lecture also invites us all to remember and celebrate the example of the late Doris Beauvais, a longtime member of First Church, who played a critical role in helping to establish First Church Shelter in 1986. Doris was profoundly concerned to encourage and enable each member of our community to fulfill effectively his or her obligation to engage in a life of loving service.

As is customary, there is no charge for the luncheon, but donations to support the work of First Church Shelter will be gratefully received.

Share sandwiches and fruit drinks with persons experiencing homelessness on the first Saturday of each month. Gather at First Church at 4 PM and join a group heading out to Harvard and Central Squares. To join, please contact David Kidder at...

Please consider signing the Jobs Not Jails perition found here.   Our Commonwealth should make funding jobs, not $2 billion more for jails. First Church joins Old South Church, the 10 Point Coalition, and Roxbury Presbyterian in collecting...

An Act Providing Housing and Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. The Mass Conference of the UCC supports the bill. Call Alice Kidder at (617) 276-6227 for information.