First Church Shelter

Since 1987, First Church Shelter has provided 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.

Contact: 
Jim Stewart, Shelter Director
617-661-1873

Latest First Church Shelter News

DORIS BEAUVAIS LUNCHEON AND MITCH SNYDER LECTURE
Posted: Oct 22 2019 - 11:59am

Sunday, October 27, 12:30 p.m., Margaret Jewett Hall

Celebration of Doris Beauvais, Mitch Snyder, and the First Church Homeless Ministries

 On the last Sunday in October the Shelter Oversight Committee and Friday Café Leadership invited the community and the First Church congregation to celebrate this evolving ministry and some of its leaders. Organized by Jim Stewart, Executive Director of the First Church Shelter, and served by members of the Shelter Oversight Committee, this luncheon featured great food, a lecture, and recognitions of our partners in reducing Cambridge/Greater Boston homelessness.

As the 2019 Holidays approach, the Shelter Oversight Committee welcomes support for any and all meals for its guests. For more information or to become involved, please contact Jim Stewart, Shelter Director, 617-661-1873 or jstewart@firstchurchcambridge.org.

The First Church Shelter, located in the  basement of our church building, co-funded by First Church in Cambridge and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has served dinner to fourteen guests every night for the last thirty years. The vast majority...

Volunteer signups are underway for the Friday Café! The Friday Café is a weekly community gathering space, where neighbors experiencing homelessness and food insecurity can relax and eat. It’s also a place of encounter, where people can get to...