Harvard Square Summer Shelter (HSSS) is a completely student-run overnight shelter that provides unhoused guests with food, resources, and a stable, supportive place to stay throughout the summer. We also offer case management to every guest, meeting with guests one-on-one and supporting them as they work towards goals like obtaining housing or employment. All the while, our student volunteers and directors learn about grassroots organizing and non-profit management—skills that they will carry with them throughout their futures in public service.
In addition to serving about 12 guests in the shelter space, HSSS operates a street outreach team that goes out four times a week throughout Cambridge and Boston, distributing hot meals and supplies to people living outside. We have served over 750 people experiencing homelessness on our street outreach runs this past year, and we want nothing more than to continue showing up for the community this summer.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many other service providers are closed or operating at a reduced capacity, making the shelter and services HSSS offers more necessary than ever. Because we are a non-profit organization that operates on a fairly tight budget, which has been stretched even further by new public health measures, we are raising funds to cover for supplies like PPE and HEPA air filters that will allow us to keep our guests and staff safe and healthy. To help us bridge our funding gap, we ask anyone who is willing and able to help us fund these operating costs. Any size donation would go a long way in helping us run and be there for our guests in an extremely challenging time. We value your support in this initiative — it is vital to making this work happen.
$15 might provide people experiencing homelessness with face masks and personal hand sanitizer bottles.
$30 might provide nutritious V8 drinks to everyone in our shelter and to people we meet on the street team.
$60 might help the shelter purchase one plastic divider (many needed) to enable guests to sleep comfortably and safely without masks, especially guests with chronic conditions like sleep apnea or asthma.
$120 might provide everyone we see sleeping outside with a cooling bandana and Pedialyte to mitigate the risk of heat stroke.
$240 might help the shelter purchase one of several HEPA air filters to create a space with sufficient ventilation and without stagnant pockets of air.