Cambridge Shelter Corporation (CSC) grew out of the Out of the Cold program in Cambridge. Beginning in 1998, Out of the Cold operated out of seven local churches for 7 winters. The program was entirely volunteer-driven, and ran from November 1 to March 31. Out of the Cold provided an evening meal, overnight shelter (on mats with pillows and blankets) and breakfast.
After the second winter, it became apparent to the Out of the Cold Coordinating Committee that although we were providing shelter during the coldest part of the year, that our guests literally were turned out April 1 to go back to a life of living under bridges, in parks and in abandoned buildings until the program opened again the next November. Also, clients who seemed to be making some improvement in their lives during the winter, oft en suffered significant setbacks when they lost the support of the volunteers.
In partnership with Cambridge Kiwanis Village Non-Profit Housing, Cambridge Shelter Corporation began the planning and development of a facility that would include a year round emergency shelter, a drop-in centre, and 20 affordable, transitional, bachelor apartments. It was designed to offer a continuum of housing services, and to offer a wide variety of supporting programs to help clients address the issues facing them and move forward.
The Bridges is the result. Cambridge Shelter Corporation operates a daily drop-in centre, Welcome Aboard, where most of our programs and services are delivered. As well, we have forty emergency shelter beds for men and women sixteen years of age and older, and three family shelter units for families who find themselves homeless.