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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.

Jim Stewart, Shelter Director

Upcoming First Church Shelter Events

November 12, 2020 - 2:00pm (Homeless Ministires Gala Planning)
November 26, 2020 - 2:00pm (Homeless Ministires Gala Planning)
December 3, 2020 - 2:00pm (Homeless Ministires Gala Planning)
December 10, 2020 - 2:00pm (Homeless Ministires Gala Planning)
December 17, 2020 - 2:00pm (Homeless Ministires Gala Planning)

Looking for ways to support our community during this unprecedented time of need? The Missions and Social Justice Committee has compiled and vetted a short list of organizations looking for assistance to aid in their work in the COVID-19 response...

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Shelter has expanded into Sage Hall to allow for greater social distancing, and is now open to guests around the clock, thanks to additional funding from the Commonwealth. They would very much welcome...