• We approach each family’s individual situation as unique and understand that every family has strengths upon which to build a brighter future.

    We approach each family’s individual situation as unique and understand that every family has strengths upon which to build a brighter future.

Our Approach 

Hildebrand values partnering with families and seeks to build a relationship set on a foundation of clear expectations, mutual respect, and accountability. We approach each family’s individual situation as unique and understand that every family has strengths upon which to build a brighter future. Throughout the period of services, families will set and measure personal goals that will help build skills that lead to increase self-sufficiency and permanent housing. We recognize that this is hard work that requires sustained commitment and focus. We are here to help with that journey.

  • Shelter Placement and Orientation

    Families are referred to Hildebrand from The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). On the day of arrival, each family is greeted by members of our program team. Families are welcomed and provided a full orientation, including but not limited to:

    • Hildebrand’s shelter resident expectations and responsibilities
    • Available support
    • Introduction to case management expectations
    • Information regarding upcoming trainings, workshops, and opportunities
    • Orientation on the neighborhood and community in which they will live (local grocery stores, churches, recreational centers, laundromats, public transportation, etc.).

    In addition to the information provided at the point of entry, families are expected to attend a Welcome Session which provides more detailed information on how Hildebrand plans to partner with families. Welcome Sessions are held each month at the Hildebrand main office.

    Hildebrand offers both Congregate Living Programs and Community-Based Shelter. Families placed in Congregate Living Programs will have a bedroom specific to their family and share communal space such as bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens, with other families. Families are expected to complete chores twice per day and will receive on-site support from residential staff members. Hildebrand operates five (5) Congregate Houses: 2 in Cambridge and 3 in Boston with a capacity of housing 53 families at one time that are fully staffed 24/7.

    Community-Based Shelter or, scattered sites, are individual apartments with one family placed in an apartment. Currently, Hildebrand houses a total of 73 families in scattered site apartments throughout Greater Boston, including: Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Quincy, Hyde Park, Revere, Chelsea, and East Boston.
  • Intensive Case Management

    All families typically meet with their case manager within one week of arriving to shelter. During the initial meeting, families complete an assessment to help identify needs that will inform the creation of the family’s first re-housing and family service plan. Case managers assess the impact of social, economic, health, education, life skill and other factors that influences self-sufficiency. Families work with their case manager in an effort to:

    • Obtain an accurate record of the family’s housing history
    • Ensure school-aged children are in school and help other children get into a child care program
    • Understand the family support system, including extended family or other community based resources
    • Address financial barriers, set realistic budget, and develop a savings plan
    • Review employment history and status as well as level of education
    • Address any housing barriers or challenges the family is facing and jointly determine the options for meeting individual family needs

    Families are expected to save 30% of their income and complete 30 hours of self-sufficiency work each week. Self-sufficiency work could include the following:
    • Housing search
    • Employment
    • Education & Training Programs
    • HI-SET Preparation
    • Workshops hosted by Hildebrand
  • Ongoing Housing & Family Support

    We know that the sooner a family establishes a mutually respectful relationship with us the faster and more successful re-housing occurs. Families initially meet in person with their case managers on a weekly basis. Once the relationship and needs of the families have been established, the frequency of the meetings will be bi-weekly or based on level of support needed to meet identified housing and other goals.
    We understand that homelessness is the result of other personal or life circumstances and our focus also includes helping families address these challenges, so that they are not permanent barriers to their success. We offer an array trainings, referrals, and support services for all members of the family, on a range of topics, such as:
    • Financial literacy
    • Parenting
    • Women’s health
    • Heart health & diabetes prevention
    • Domestic violence training
    • Healthy eating
    • Stress management

    Hildebrand also partners with other nonprofit organizations or provides referrals to programs that provide additional support for clients who need:
    • ESL
    • vocational training
    • children’s programming
    • counseling services
    • legal services
    • camp and summer program referrals, and more.
  • Stabilization Support Services & Community Integration

    Once families transition into permanent housing or short-term subsidies, when applicable, we continue to work with families for 12 months in order to ensure their success and continued stabilization. Clients work with case managers to help with tenancy issues, learn how to negotiate relationships with landlords or neighbors and learn how to build a support network and integrate into their new communities. Case managers continue to work with families on managing bills, budgeting, daycare or school challenges, and continuing education or employment.
  • Permanent Housing

    Families residing within Hildebrand’s permanent housing have access to many resources (link to events/resources page) and continued access to supports on an as needed basis. Families in permanent housing are considered well on their pathway to self-sufficiency.

Some of our common FAQs below...

What is Hildebrand?

Hildebrand is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides Emergency Assistance shelter and Stabilization services, and permanent housing to families experiencing homelessness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

How are families referred to Hildebrand?

Families are referred to Hildebrand through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the state agency that manages the Emergency Assistance shelter program. If you or someone you know is currently experiencing homelessness, visit your local DTA office. To find the closes location, visit this link.

What types of families are eligible for Emergency Assistance shelter

Generally, families are screened based on income verification, domestic violence, and/or other emergencies such as facing a housing crisis. For more information, please visit this link.

Does Hildebrand only focus on housing?

While finding permanent housing is certainly a large part of the case management services, families also participate in 30 hours of self-sufficiency work a week, which includes: employment, training programs, program workshops, school, etc. We work with clients on housing search and barriers that have prevented them in the past.

What can families expect from case management?

Families can expect to work with their case manager to set goals for individual family needs. Case managers help families stay on track to achieve their goals. The case manager’s goal is to ensure all needs of the family are met while empowering families to become self-sufficient.

What do case managers expect from families?

Case Managers expect that families are engaged in all aspects of services. Our client is the whole family, not merely the head of household. We support the needs of all members of the family.

Do families get to choose between scattered-sites and congregate?

Units are assigned based upon family size and availability. Case managers may recommend families for congregate living or scattered site programs based on the needs of the individual family.

Where are the different programs located?

Hildebrand has apartments and congregate living programs throughout Metro Boston, including: Cambridge, Dorchester, East Boston, Chelsea, Mattapan, Roxbury, and Hyde Park. The majority of Hildebrand units are located in Dorchester.

What is the difference between scattered-site and congregate?

Congregate programs are shared living spaces in which families have their own bedroom and a shared living room, kitchen, and bathroom with 2-3 other families. However, these locations house from 7 to 20 families at a time. In addition, these programs are staffed 24/7 and case management happens on site.

Where can I find a food pantry?

Project Bread Food Source Hotline
Monday-Friday from 8am-7pm
Saturday 10am-2pm

Or you can visit this link to find the local food pantry nearest you.

Does Hildebrand support families with holidays?

Historically Hildebrand has been able to support family with holiday gifts for their children and, at times, turkeys and the fixings for Thanksgiving. This support is contingent upon donations.

What is the average length of stay for families?

The overall length of stay for families is 16.5 months.

How is Hildebrand different from other agencies?

We provide a family centered approach to all of our case management services. We offer intensive case management services that helps families set short, medium and long term goals in addition to finding permanent housing. We believe that it is important to address the reasons people became homeless and all barriers that a family may have in gaining self-sufficiency. We believe in a level of mutual accountability from both the case managers and clients. Finally, we believe that all members of the family are our clients and not just the heads of households.

Where can I get access to the Uniform Shelter Rules as outlined by the Department of Housing and Community Development?

A copy of both Hildebrand Shelter Rules and the Uniform Shelter Rules will be given to you upon intake. If you need to obtain an additional copy, you can ask the Case Manager directly or retrieve them from the DHCD website at http://www.mass.gov/hed/docs/dhcd/hs/ea/s-ea-forms-ea-uniform-shelter-program-rules-january-2015-english.pdf

What can I bring with me to shelter?

Families may not bring more than the equivalent of two larger 30-gallon bags per person with them into shelter. This includes those in scattered-site units.

What documents are needed to apply for housing?

- Social Security Card for all family members
- Date of Birth for all family members
- Income verification
- Accurate/complete five year housing history

How can Hildebrand be contacted after hours?

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911. If the issues requires Hildebrand support after hours (between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday or Sunday or a holiday in which there is an office closure) please call the Bishop House at 617-492-2797. Please use this number for maintenance issues after hours.

How are maintenance issues resolved for families in scattered site apartments?

During Business Hours:
If a maintenance issue is needed during business hours, families should call their Case Manager directly to report the issue in as detailed a manner as possible. This issue will then be reported to the Facilities Department. Depending on the maintenance need, a follow up appointment at the unit will be scheduled and the family will be notified of the visit.

Outside Business Hours:
For maintenance emergencies i.e. the heat is not working during the winter, families should call the Bishop House at 617-492-2797. The staff on duty will alert the Facilities On-Call Administrator who will follow-up as necessary.


614 Massachusetts Avenue
Third Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

Ph: 617-491-5752
F: 617-491-2385
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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*congregate living programs are staffed 24/7

About Us

Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center, Inc. partners with families experiencing homelessness. We provide shelter, permanent housing, work readiness programs, and life skill development. We restore hope and build brighter futures.