Volunteer at Y2Y & Harvard Square Homeless Shelter

February 6, 2017


Y2Y ShelterHarvard Square Homeless Shelter

Y2Y Harvard Square and the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter need your help!

Sign up for Spring shifts with Y2Y and/or HSHS here! Applications are due by February 8th at midnight. 


Sign up to be a substitute Spring volunteer with Y2Y here and/or HSHS here

Dear friends,

Nearly 30-40% of the homeless population we house identifies as BGLTQ. Help us serve these individuals by applying to volunteer with the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and/or Y2Y Harvard Square. 


For over thirty years, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter has operated in the University Lutheran Church, providing a safe and welcoming haven for countless people experiencing homelessness. And in December of 2015, Y2Y Harvard Square officially opened its doors for the first time to become the nation's first student-run shelter specifically for homeless youth between the ages of 18-24. Though we are separate shelters, we are united in the fight against homelessness.

With Y2Y's and HSHS's Spring volunteering shifts starting February 15th, we need your help once again. Learn how you can get involved as a volunteer this upcoming Spring by heading to our websites (HSHS and Y2Y) and filling out our volunteer application today!

Again, you can sign up for Spring shifts with Y2Y and/or HSHS here! Applications are due by February 8th at midnight.

To apply to either one of our shelters, follow the link above to PBHA's website and common app, click on the organization that you would like to apply to volunteer at (Y2Y, HSHS, or both!), and then submit your application. If you are a returning volunteer (i.e. you volunteered with us last semester), please be sure to click "re-enrolled" instead of "apply."

Additionally, we have substitute volunteer lists for the Spring semester that we would love for you to sign up for. In the event that we have an emergency volunteer shortage, your help in subbing for a shift would be tremendously appreciated! The sign up for substitute volunteering at Y2Y is here. The sign up for substitute volunteer at HSHS is here

With much shelter love,
The Y2Y and HSHS Families



What's the difference between volunteering at Y2Y and HSHS?
While Y2Y and HSHS are similar and have a common mission, they are indeed two completely separate organizations. The primary difference is that each shelter serves a slightly different population -- Y2Y serves guests between the ages of 18 and 24, whereas HSHS serves guests of all ages (18 or older). HSHS also has a longer history in Harvard Square, whereas Y2Y is a comparatively newer shelter.

HSHS is located in the basement of the University Lutheran Church, on 66 Winthrop Street (next to Pinocchio's Pizza). Y2Y is located in the basement of First Parish Church, on 1 Church Street (next to Otto's Pizza). 

Can I volunteer at both shelters?
Yes! We'd love to have you volunteer with both shelters. However, please make sure that you do not sign up for the same shift at the same time at both shelters -- even though our volunteers are incredible, we have yet to meet someone who can be in two places at once.

Important Information

The HSHS Volunteer Handbook can be found here.
The Y2Y Volunteer Handbook can be found here.

There are 4 shifts:

Dinner: 6:45 PM - 9:15 PM
Evening: 9:00 PM - 11:15 PM
Overnight: 11 PM - 9​:​0​0 AM
Breakfast: 6:30 AM - ​9​:​0​0 AM
*But if it is SATURDAY ​or SUNDAY ​morning, then it is* 
[Friday or Saturday]​ Overnight: 11 PM - ​10​:​0​0 AM 
[Saturday or Sunday​] Breakfast: 7:30 AM - ​10:​​0​0 AM

BREAKFAST -- Come in bright and early to greet our guests as they begin to wake up!  You'll be making breakfast and helping to clean the shelter (an invaluable service!) after all the guests leave at 8am.

DINNER -- You'll be making and serving dinner, and perhaps be lucky enough to run on a food salvage trip or collect pastries from the many shops that donate to us.

EVENING -- This is a relaxed time to visit with guests as they prepare for bed.  It's usually very quiet and a great opportunity for some wonderful conversations.  Help is also often needed in the kitchen to clean-up after dinner and prepare plates of food to hand out at the door. 

OVERNIGHT -- You'll stay awake with other volunteers and night-owl guests, basically having more good conversations, watching movies, doing laundry, reading, baking cookies, etc!  This is a fantastic shift because it's a rare opportunity to have long conversations and get to know people well.  People often say it's the best shift!  And never fear, we do take turns sleeping -- the night is typically divided into three shifts and you will be awake for one of them (there is a staff room with bunk beds, so you will be able to sleep when it is not your turn to be awake).
*Y2Y is located at ​3 Church Street in the basement of ​First Parish in Harvard Square​. Map. Our shelter entrance is located at the second door on the left side entrance (1 Church St). When you arrive at your shift, please buzz the intercom system and identify yourself to be let in.

*HSHS is located at 66 Winthrop Street in the basement of University Lutheran Church in Harvard Square. Map.

Other thoughts or questions? Feel free to reach out to Y2Y Volunteer Director DannyPohl at volunteer.y2y@gmail.com, or HSHS Volunteer Director Karely Osorio at hshs.volunteer@gmail.com

We hope you'll join us this Spring, and we are looking forward to working with you in the shelter!