Stay With Us

There are people who don’t feel safe in other shelters, but feel safe here.

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter (HSHS) is a dry shelter open from November 1 until April 15. The shelter is located at the corner of Winthrop Street and Dunster Street in the basement of the University Lutheran Church right next door to Pinocchio’s Pizza.

Our Shelter

Season: Evening of November 1st – Morning of April 15th

Hours: 7 PM to 8 AM, except on Saturday mornings when shelter remains open until 9 AM

Phone617-547-2841; Toll Free 1-888-285-4038

Reserving A Bed

Two-Week Beds

We lottery all 14-night beds. Callers may call in between 7:30 AM and 8 AM to put their name in the lottery at which point the caller will receive a lottery number. The lottery will be run between 8 AM and 8:05 AM. People may call back between 8:05 AM and 8:30 AM as well as between 7 PM and 9 PM to find out if their lottery number was picked. Lottery numbers that have been selected (but not names) will also be posted on the shelter door during the day.

One-Night Beds

When a guest with a reserved two-week bed is not able to make it to the shelter that night, their bed is open for others to use as an emergency one night bed. Call in the evening between 9 PM and 9:30 PM to enter the lottery for a one-night bed. The lottery will be run between 9:30 PM and 9:40 PM. People may call back after 9:40 PM to find out if their lottery number was picked. Lottery numbers that have been selected (but not names) will also be posted on the shelter door at this time. Occasionally, beds will remain unfilled by 11:00 PM, in which case a second one-night bed lottery is held between 11:00 PM and 11:10 PM. People may call during this period to enter this lottery and call back after 11:15 PM to find out the selected lottery numbers.

Nightly Schedule 

Time
Event
7:00pm Shelter opens.
8:00pm approx. Dinner served.
9:00pm Call by this time to say you are “Not-In-Tonight” (NIT) or “In Late” if you won’t be in by 9pm. If notice of an NIT is not received by 9pm, your bed will be lotteried off for the evening. If you do not call to reclaim it by 7:30am, you will lose your bed. You can take up to 6 NITs during a 14-night stay.
9:00-9:30pm Call to lottery for a 1-night emergency bed.
10:30pm Lights out. Quiet time begins.
11:00pm If you have given notice that you will be in late, you must be in by this

time. If you have not arrived by 11:00pm, your bed for the night will be lotteried off. If you do not call to reclaim it by 7:30am, you will lose your bed. A lottery is held from 11:00-11:10pm for beds unclaimed by 11:00pm. You may call during this time to lottery for one of these beds. Call back at 11:15pm for the winning lottery numbers.

12:00am Guard leaves. Door closes for the night with no exceptions.
4:00am Earliest time to leave shelter in the morning without warning.
7:00am approx.

Sat: ~8:00am

Lights on. Breakfast served. On Saturdays, breakfast is served at 8:00am.
7:30-8:00am Call to lottery for a 14-night bed.
8:00am

Sat: 9:00am

All guests must leave the shelter by 8:00am on Sunday-Friday and 9:00am on Saturday. If you leave at 8:01am (9:01am on Sat.) you will receive a warning.
When does my stay end?

Unless you have an emergency 1-night bed, your stay ends after 14 nights. Let us know prior to 9:00pm on any nights that you are unable to come in. Please note that nights spent outside of the shelter (NITs) do not extend your 14-night stay unless you took an NIT for a documented overnight hospitalization. If you do not come in on a night of your stay and have not notified us by 7:30am the following morning, you lose the remainder of your 14-night stay.

When can I reenter the 14-night lottery?

Following the end of your 14-night stay, you begin a “7-out,” in which you are unable to lottery for a 14-night bed for 7 days. For example, if you leave the shelter on a Thursday morning, you can enter the 14-night lottery the following Thursday morning. You may still enter the 9:00–9:30pm and 11:00–11:10pm lotteries for a 1-night emergency bed in that time.