Heading Home (formerly Shelter Inc.) was founded in 1974 in Cambridge as a shelter for individuals. Over the past nearly 50 years, we’ve become one of the area’s go-to solutions providers for families and individuals experiencing homelessness.

In 1981, Shelter Inc. opened the state’s first shelter for homeless families.

In the early 2000s, Shelter Inc. pioneered the Housing First model, recognizing that when people experiencing homelessness get and stay housed – as opposed to cycling in and out of shelters – their lives improve.

In 2008, our agency shifted our work from emphasizing 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.”

In 2015, Heading Home expanded our family congregate shelter footprint, in partnership with the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (formerly DHCD).

In 2019, Heading Home updated our brand – updating our logo, brand colors, website, and more.

In 2022, former Casa Nueva Vida programs, families, and staff became a division of Heading Home, preserving the CNV mission, cultural identity, staff, and families. With this new division, Heading Home is the largest provider of family shelter in the state of Massachusetts.


Learn about working for Heading Home.