The 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 15 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.

The Shelter is funded by government and private contributions as well as donations from individuals. In 1997, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter Corporation, an independent 501(c)3 organization, was formed to join University Lutheran in a campaign to improve the Shelter facilities.

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