Homeless and Near-Homeless Programs

Human Service Programs

The Cambridge Multi-Service Center (MSC), a division of the Department of Human Service Programs, addresses the needs of homeless and near-homeless individuals and families living in our community. We provide direct services, planning and coordination of efforts for persons who are living on the street, in emergency shelters or at risk of losing their housing.

We work to prevent evictions and resolve landlord-tenant problems through case management, advocacy and budget counseling. We also have a transitional living program for homeless men.

Additionally, we provide assistance in applying for public benefits, financial counseling, legal services, and accessing mental health and substance abuse services.

The MSC's Cambridge Haitian Services offers a variety of social services to Cambridge’s Haitian population, including: case management, information and referral, Haitian Creole interpretation, as well as, immigration and citizenship assistance.

 For more information about how clients can access the Multi-Service Center, please call 617-349-6340. 

Tips and FAQs

What are the City programs that are offered?

Case Managers

DHSP Case Managers assist homeless persons, those at risk of becoming homeless, or other Cambridge individuals or families in need of short-term counseling, assistance with housing concerns or referrals to a variety of services, including shelters, food pantries, job training and benefits programs.

Transitional Housing Program

The Carey Transitional Housing Program offers case management and rooms for homeless men for a transitional period in partnership with the YMCA.

Support for Tenants at Risk (STAR)

STAR is a program for low-income Cambridge tenants facing eviction who have been issued a Summary Process Summons and Complaint. In addition to the case management, stabilization, and rental assistance services currently provided at the Multi-Service Center, STAR’s targeted legal and clinical services will ensure that individuals/families at the highest risk for eviction will have access to comprehensive resources, with the goal being retention of stable housing and the prevention of homelessness. This program works in concert with MSC staff, HomeStart, Eliot Community Human Services, Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services and Shelter Legal Services.

What community based programs are offered?

Heading Home

The Heading Home social worker at the Multi Service Center (MSC) provides counseling, casework and referrals for current and former shelter guests.

Eliot Community Human Services

The Eliot Community Human Services mental health shelter specialist is a clinical social worker who works closely with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and offers services to homeless persons from an office at the MSC.


HomeStart provides housing search and follow-up services to homeless individuals.


The local chapter of the national non-profit LIFT, provides job readiness, housing assistance, and a wide variety of additional social services to Cambridge residents, as well as residents of the Greater Boston area.

Legal Services

Legal service organizations are scheduled at the MSC on a regular basis. Please call for schedules.

Additional services are offered at the MSC by staff from the CASCAP and CAPIC Representative Payee Programs and North Charles Addiction Services. Also, very limited housing-related financial assistance may be available for Cambridge residents who qualify for various programs.

Cambridge Haitian Services

Located at the MSC, Cambridge Haitian Services (617-349-6351) addresses the social services needs of the Haitian community living in Cambridge, with an emphasis on Haitians serving Haitians. People using these services do not need to be homeless or at risk.

Classes in English as a Second Language

For information on classes in English as a Second Language, Kreyol literacy, math and computer skills, please contact the Haitian American Education and Development Association (HAEDA, 617-349-6257).

Page was last modified on 9/15/2021 10:25 AM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement

Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.