Stay With Us

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

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter (HSHS) is an emergency dry shelter that provides a drug-free, alcohol-free, and smoke-free environment. 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 11:30 PM, in which case a second one-night bed lottery is held between 11:30 PM and 11:40 PM. People may call during this period to enter this lottery and call back after 11:40 PM to find out the selected lottery numbers.

Things To Know

Enter the Shelter by 9 PM

Guests with reserved beds must arrive at the shelter by 9 PM unless they have informed shelter staff otherwise, or risk losing their bed. If a guest calls in to inform the shelter that they will be late, the latest time in which they can come is 11:30 PM.

Not-In-Tonight (NIT)

If you are unable to come in on one night of your two-week bed stay, please let us know prior to 9 PM. If you do not come in on a night of your stay and have not notified us by 7:30 AM the following morning, you forfeit your bed. You can take six (6) NITs during your two-week bed stay.

7-Out After Two-Week Bed

Following the end of your two-week bed, you begin a “7-out” in which you are unable to lottery for a two-week bed for seven (7) days. Though you must wait for seven (7) days to enter the two-week bed lottery, you may still evening one-night bed lotteries in that time.

Lottery Numbers

Lottery numbers are given out in the order of calls. The shelter does not give away more than one lottery number per phone call.

Shelter Clocks

Shelter clocks are synchronized with national time. To check correct time, call (617) 637-8687.

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” (NITs) 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 on 14 days.
9:00-9:30pm Call to lottery for a 1-night emergency bed.
10:30pm Lights out. Quiet time begins.
11:30pm If you have given notice that you will be in late, you must be in by this time. If you have not arrived by 11:30pm, your bed will be lotteried off by the evening. If you do not call to reclaim it by 7:30am, you will lose your bed. A lottery is held from 11:30-11:40pm for beds unclaimed by 11:30pm. You may call during this time to lottery for one of these beds. Call back at 11:45pm 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. 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 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.

*Note – this occurs an hour later on Saturday mornings.