St. Francis House is the largest day shelter in Massachusetts.
Located in the heart of downtown Boston, we serve hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness every single day, 365 days a year. Our basic, rehabilitative, and housing services overlap and build on one another to provide our guests with continuous and comprehensive support.
St. Francis House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and our tax ID number is 22-2519129.
St. Francis House rebuilds lives by providing refuge and pathways to stability for adults experiencing homelessness and poverty.
St. Francis House is a welcoming and inclusive community. Every day of the year, we enable individuals to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. We transform lives using a holistic approach to understanding and addressing behavioral health, housing, and employment needs. We commit ourselves to helping those we serve achieve renewed lives of dignity and self-determination.
On the first three floors of the day shelter, our guests are provided a safe, respectful, and dignified refuge that offers the basic services of food, shelter, clothing, showers, and access to medical care. In addition, individuals can use our mail services, telephones, and computers. The unique needs of women are met in our Women’s Center. All guests have access to mental health support, substance use support, and housing navigation resources, and more through case management.
Annually, we provide:
- More than 180,000 hot and nutritious meals to guests in need
- 8,200 changes of clean clothing, including jackets, shoes, and backpacks
- Over 10,000 medical appointments
We recognize that everyone’s path to employment is unique, and so are our employment services.
Our holistic suite of employment services for individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty prepare and support our guests to find and maintain employment.
- Mass Hire Access Point Boston
- Moving Ahead Program (MAP)
- Two-week Accelerated Program
- Individualized Support
- Drop-In Workshops
The workforce development programs can be found on the 4th Floor of the day shelter. For more information visit our Workforce Development page.
St. Francis House’s new Recovery Support Center, which resides on the 5th Floor, is dedicated to helping guests strengthen their sobriety by providing community, activities, support, meals, and access to all of the regular services offered to anyone who walks through St. Francis House’s doors. Established in October 2019, the Recovery Support Center is a member-run community, operated by and for people in recovery.
Located on floors 7-10 is our Next Step Housing, our affordable, supportive leased-housing community providing 56 permanent housing units for adults with a history of homelessness. Professional case managers provide individual support, foster sobriety, and aid the development of life skills required for community reintegration and independence.
Across the street from St. Francis House is The Union at 48 Boylston. Formerly the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union, this historic building has been completely redeveloped through a partnership between St. Francis House and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese of Boston to provide much-needed affordable housing in the community. Read more about this project here.
With 46 affordable housing units in The Union, this project brings the total number of affordable housing units maintained by St. Francis House to 102.
In 1984, St. Francis House was founded to meet the needs of the poor and homeless. The organization grew quickly from a simple bread line into a multi-service shelter.
In 1988, St. Francis House was named a National Model Program by the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Committee on Hunger and Homelessness.
In 1990, St. Francis House was named a National Model Program by the Social Security Administration for our representative payee program that enables guests to receive their benefits.
In 1994, St. Francis House was chosen as a National Model Program by the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker’s Task Force on Homelessness – one of four agencies selected in the nation and the only shelter offering daytime services for the poor and homeless.
In 1995, St. Francis House began the Moving Ahead Program (MAP), a comprehensive, 14-week job and life skills training program now serving 200 students a year. Since its establishment, MAP boasts more than 1,500 alumni.
In 1997, St. Francis House opened the Next Step Housing Program, now providing 56 units of supported permanent housing to those who have struggled with homelessness, unemployment, and substance abuse with affordable, independent living.
In 2000, MAP was named a National Model Program by the Congressional Black Caucus.
In 2004, St. Francis House celebrated its 20th anniversary and concluded major building renovations. The kitchen and dining room were expanded, and a new Atrium provided space for 80 additional guests who once had to wait on the street for meals. We also dedicated the Carolyn Connors Women’s Center to serve the unique needs of our female guests.
In 2007, St. Francis House embarked on a $15.1 million capital campaign, Under One Roof, to build out our 5th floor and enroll an additional 100 students a year in MAP; add 14 new units of permanent housing on our 7th floor; sustain and enrich key core services; strengthen our infrastructure; repair the exterior of our 100 year-old building; and help secure our financial future.
In 2008, St. Francis House was selected by the Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative as one of two Neighborhood Builder award recipients in Massachusetts. This prestigious award included $200,000 to support core services as well as leadership training.
In 2010, the 100th class graduated from the Moving Ahead Program. We implemented the LEAD instrument, a collaboration between the Harvard Medical School Division on Addictions, the Cambridge Health Alliance, and St. Francis House to assess the effectiveness of all our programs to improve guest outcomes.
In 2019, St. Francis House celebrated its 35th anniversary.
Our Programs and Services are located at:
39 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
Our Administrative offices are located at:
7 Boylston Square, Boston, MA 02116