Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC) was created by the local community’s grassroots response to the social crisis of homelessness in 1985. Neighbors, community activists, university students, faith-based leaders, business supporters and city officials united to address the escalating problem of homelessness within Somerville. These collaborative efforts resulted in the opening of the city’s first emergency shelter and the establishment of SHC.
Today, SHC transforms lives by providing services, support, resources and housing to over 7,000 individuals and households. SHC’s emergency response programs include an Adult Shelter, Food Program and supportive services. Our housing programs involve Homeless Prevention and providing Affordable Housing with home-based Supportive Services to the most at-risk homeless individuals and families in our community.
Our Mission & Values
The mission of Somerville Homeless Coalition is to provide homeless and near-homeless individuals and families with individualized supportive services and tailored housing solutions to obtain and maintain affordable housing. In short, our mission is in ‘finding everyone a home‘.
We advance this mission each day through our emergency response initiatives that include Street Outreach to the unsheltered, a 16-bed Adult Homeless Shelter, and a Food Assistance Program – Project SOUP. Other programming focuses on the prevention of hunger and homelessness through a combination of services, such as comprehensive housing search and case management; homeless prevention assistance; and, the provision of affordable housing that is paired with regular wrap-around home-based support promoting the stability of clients for tenancy preservation.
A deeper understanding of our mission and vision to end homelessness can be felt through the voices of our clients and staff:
When asking staff – “Our mission is to end homelessness. If you think about the idea of home, sometimes, it can help out a lot if our clients can just feel welcomed somewhere.” – SHC Engagement Coordinator, Day Drop-In Center.
“We’re multifaceted where we have case managers, housing search navigators, outreach workers, and social workers, like myself. There are lots of different people that are constantly here and always willing to help no matter what is going on in the lives of our clients”. – SHC Licensed Social Worker, Day Drop-In Center, and Street Outreach.
When asking clients – “I would have come here a lot sooner if I had known how welcoming you are and how you help to get me on the positive track. And, hopefully, get my own place. I’ve never lived on my own before and I’m 52 years old.” – Stephen, whom we met in 2019, was street homeless. At 53, he now lives in his own home in Malden thanks to the meticulous care, patience, and steadfast nature of SHC staff who journeyed with him to build the trust and respect that all people deserve, regardless of their personal background, identity, or beliefs.
Help people gain access to permanent housing
Utilize SHC shelters as a short-term program to triage, assess and stabilize families and individuals in crisis.
Utilize our case management and expand our prevention programs to help people live as independently as possible.
Develop innovative programs to reduce the need for emergency systems of care in the community
Build alliances with affordable housing providers and other organizations that serve homeless individuals and families.