History

The History of Heading Home Inc.

1974

Our Cambridge Shelter established as our first program. To this day the Cambridge Shelter remains our longest-running program, serving 21 adults.

1981

Our Boston Family Shelter opens as the first family shelter in Massachusetts.

1994

Putnam Place opens as our first program involving permanent housing, in collaboration with Cambridge Housing Authority and Just-A-Start CDC.

1993-2003

Programs such as Shelter Plus Care and McKay House are established as some of the area’s earliest “Housing First” models.

2009

The milestone-based Heading Home Partnership to End Family Homelessness is developed to provide local families with a meaningful pathway toward self-sufficiency.

Heading Home was founded in 1974 and has been working to end homelessness in Greater Boston every day since. As a local pioneer of the Housing First model, we recognized years ago that when homeless people get and stay housed – as opposed to cycling in and out of shelters – their lives will improve. In 2004 our agency moved away from an emphasis on emergency responses to a focus on permanent housing as our strategy for ending homelessness, resulting in a name change from “Shelter Inc.” to “Heading Home.”

As our name and outcomes now reflect, a home provides the optimal foundation to succeed and thrive. We have successfully created more than 350 units of housing since 2006, and our emergency shelter and transitional programs are now focused on moving residents to permanent housing as quickly as possible.

Over the past 39 years, Heading Home has become the area’s go-to solution provider for homeless families in response to recent trends: Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.

Throughout our history, Heading Home has sought innovative solutions to homelessness, and we have consistently stood out as a leader in the field.