Drop In Centers and Education

Drop In Centers

CASPAR’s Emergency Service Center (617-661-0600; 240 Albany St.) operates a Day Program for High Risk Individuals, weekdays from 8am to 4pm, serving unsheltered homeless persons whose medical or mental health status places them at higher risk while on the street. Referrals from one of the following are required: CASPAR’s First Step Street Outreach Program, Health Care for the Homeless, or the Cambridge Health Alliance. Other persons seeking daytime support for sobriety should access CASPAR’s Phoenix Center in Somerville.

The Salvation Army (617-547-3400; 402 Mass Ave) operates a drop-in weekdays 8:30-3:30 pm, Saturdays 11:30-1pm, and Sundays 1-3pm. Daily lunch and weekdays supplemental food, showers, laundry facilities, clothing. Staff social workers available to help with referrals. Optional structured activities. (Note: Women’s bathrooms are not handicap accessible)

Shelter Inc. Women’s Drop-In (109 School St; call Charleen Tierney, 617-547-1885; weekdays 9:30am-2:30pm) Lunch, access to a nap room, showers, clothing, help with referrals, the option to participate in structured activities, and counseling. Partnering organizations include HomeStart (case management and housing search on Weds 11:30-12:30pm), and mental health counseling, stress reduction groups on Tues 9:30-11am.

CASPAR’s Phoenix Center (617-666-9947; 160 Highland St. (rear); Somerville) is open weekdays 8 -4pm for persons in substance abuse recovery. The Center offers guests individual and group counseling support for their recovery, including a noontime AA meeting for registered participants; help with referrals to other programs and services; coffee and snacks offered.

Youth on Fire (617-661-2508; 1 Church St, Cambridge, MA 02138) Drop-in for homeless and at-risk youth (age 14-24) open Mon/Weds/Fri 11:30-6pm and Thurs 1:30-6pm. Showers, lockers, food (hot meals from 2:30-530pm), counseling, case management, health care, clothes, laundry, computers, books, games. HomeStart staff on-site for housing search assistance on Weds 3:30-4:30pm

Boston GLASS Community Center (93 Mass Ave., 3rd fl., Boston – take the #1 Bus just across Charles River; 617-266-3349) Drop in for gay/lesbian/bi//trans, and questioning young people (age 13-25). Open M-TH 3-8pm,F3-5pm (earlier by appt). Board games, TV, computers, library, kitchen. Counseling, testing, referrals, housing/job search, GED, college/financial aid.

Ruby Rogers Advocacy and Drop In Center (617-625-9933; 64 Union Sq. in Somerville; Mon-Sun 11am-5pm) for former/current patients at psych hospitals, and persons at-risk of psych hospitalization. Member-governed center. Self-help/advocacy, socializing.

Cambridge Senior Center (617-249-6060) for Persons 60 and Older – 806 Mass Ave. (opposite City Hall) M-F 8:30am-5pm. Sa, Su, Holidays: 8:30am-1pm. Social and recreational activities, ESL, computer, and fitness classes. Daily breakfast and lunch.

Cambridge Somerville Social Club (617-576-6570; 54 Essex St.; weekdays 3-7:45pm, Sat 1-7pm, and Sun 1-6pm for persons who receive mental health services. A place to socialize, cook/dine, read, play music, paint, etc. Staff offer vocational counseling, run a career support group, and supervise a small number of stipended positions (snack bar, performing arts program: Tunefoolery)

The Women’s Center (617-354-8807; 46 Pleasant St. near Central Sq. www.cambridgewomenscenter.org) is a place where any woman can obtain information, referrals, and emotional support from staff and volunteers; access printed info about programs, services, events jobs, health issues, et.; and/or participate in issue-specific or general support groups. (M-Fri: 10am-8pm, Sat: 10am-3pm).

The Women’s Lunch Place (617-267-1722; Church of the Covenant, 61 Newbury St). For women and children only. Open Mon-Sat 8am-2pm. Call about Sunday. Breakfast 8am-11am. Lunch 12noon-2pm.

St. Francis House (617-542-4211; 39 Boylston St.) Open 7am-4pm Daily. Breakfast 7:30am-9am; Lunch 11:30am-1pm. Sandwiches served 1-2pm.

Cardinal Madieros Center (617-451-9331; 140 Shawmut Avenue in Boston). For men and women 45 and over. Mon-Thurs 9am-4pm; Friday 9am-3pm. Lunch 11:45am-1pm.

Continuing Education

Project LIFT at the Community Learning Center (CLC) (19 Brookline St; contact: Nellie Dedmon 617-349-6363) Offers individualized tutoring and classes on a drop-in basis: English literacy (for native and non-native speakers), GED, math, and computers. Committed students may also enroll in regular CLC classes. Tutoring at shelter/program sites may be possible.

Mass. Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) (617-776-2662; One Davis Square, Somerville) helps pay for education and job training for persons with documented disabilities. (At present, MRC has a waiting list for services.) Navigating the disability determination process to gain eligibility for services is challenging, and applicants should seek assistance, for example, from a HomeStart Field-Based Case Manager (678 Mass Ave. #502 in Central Sq.; 617-234-5340), from the Cambridge Employment Program (617-349-6166; 51 Inman St.), from Health Care for the Homeless (617-591-6765), r from Community Work Services (contact Eugene Gloss at 617-720-2233 x 223; 174 Portland St, near North Station).

– Help finding scholarships and other financial aid for higher education is available from the Cambridge Employment Program and Impact (617-542-3388; 105 Chauncy St. Boston), as well as from the Higher Education Information Center (HEIC) at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library (700 Boylston St., 1-877-332-4348). Check out their excellent website www.tericollegeaccess.org

The Cambridge Employment Program (617-542-3388; 105 Chauncy St. Boston) and Career Source (186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Fresh Pond Mall, Suite 310 in Cambridge, 617-661-7867) offer free access to computers for job search at their respective program offices. Access is restricted to actively enrolled clients only. Career Source offers enrolled clients free workshops in Internet use for job search and classes in Microsoft Office software.

Solutions at Work (617-492-0300) operates “Get Connected”- the computer center in the basement of Old Cambridge Baptist Church (1151 Mass Ave) in Harvard Sq. Drop-in Hours: weekdays 12:30-4:30pm. Computers for Internet, email, basic applications. Call to arrange special hours for tutoring. Distributes reconditions computers to presently and formerly homeless persons, depending on availability. To apply for a computer, email [email protected] explaining the need for a computer, and the type of internet connection planned (modem, DSL, cable). There is a $30 setup fee.

MIT’s FACT Program provides free-student-taught Saturday classes in basic computing to low income and homeless heads of household and individuals who have been accepted into their short term program (Fall and Spring Sessions). Participants who complete the program receive a free reconditioned computer. Contact [email protected] for information.

The Cambridge Department of Veterans Services (DVS) (617-349-4761; 51 Inman St. 2nd Fl.) helps eligible Cambridge veterans access state or federal benefits. Vets enrolled in a degree program in a public college or university can get free tuition. More extensive benefits are available to veterans with a service-related disability, pre-90s veterans within 15 years of their discharge, and post 1990s veterans who paid into an education fund while in the military.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education: 42 Brattle Streeet. Some scholarships are available; contact the Registration Office (617)-547-6789 ext 1 for information.

Boston Public Library: (617) 536-5400; 700 Boylston Street, Copley Square.Free conversation groups for ESL

The Community Learning Center: (617) 349-6363. 19 Brookline Street, Cambridge. ESL classes for Cambridge Residents. Classes are FREE