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Cambridge Multi-Service Center Staff Help Residents Overcome Barriers to Housing and Access Critical Resources

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Cambridge Multi-Service Center (MSC), located at 362 Green Street, provides direct services to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, facing eviction, and navigating challenging housing situations. The MSC, which serves about 500 households per year, also helps clients apply for public benefits, get legal aid and financial advice, and access mental health and substance abuse services.

“Stable housing is the key to people feeling safe and empowered to manage their day-to-day lives,” says Maria Melo, Director of the MSC. “We help individuals get housing vouchers, support them with their housing search, and connect them with resources that promote housing stabilization.”

MSC staff collaborate closely with the Housing Division of the City’s Community Development Department, the City’s Office of the Housing Liaison, the Cambridge Housing Authority, and other local housing providers to help people find housing. An in-person Housing Search Workshop is offered every Tuesday from 2:30-5 p.m. Participants learn about local housing options and apply to subsidized housing waiting lists. To register, call 617-349-6338.

MSC staff can help clients overcome barriers in their housing process. For example, if an individual experiencing homelessness does not have an ID to qualify for a housing voucher, the MSC can cover the $25 fee to get one. They can also refer individuals and families experiencing homelessness to shelters with available space.

A core aspect of the MSC’s work focuses on homelessness and eviction prevention, and staff evaluate every client’s personal situation to ensure they are taking advantage of all benefits available to them. “We offer walk-in hours every weekday. Whatever you are dealing with, there is a case manager available to talk to you about your particular situation,” says Melo. “We are a one-stop-shop for your concerns to be heard.”

As a division of the Department of Human Service Programs, the MSC is uniquely situated to quickly connect clients to helpful City and community services, including Fuel Assistance, the Cambridge Employment Program, and childcare resources.

The MSC gets referrals from other City programs and connects clients to service providers in the community. For example, if clients are behind in rent, the MSC may refer them to Just-A-Start’s free Financial Opportunities program for budgeting assistance. If clients are experiencing legal issues, MSC staff can refer them to partners like Cambridge/Somerville Legal Services and De Novo.
The MSC also houses the Haitian Services Coordinator who supports Cambridge’s Haitian community, to get free assistance with immigration paperwork, or a referral to other immigration services.
“We are constantly working with our community partners to help our clients,” says Melo. “This collaboration can range from major efforts, such as resolving a tenant-landlord dispute, to smaller solutions, such as securing a pair of shoes for a homeless client.”

Multi-Service Center Walk-In Hours

362 Green St., Cambridge

9 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

For more information, call 617-349-6340.

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