What We Do

A woman smiles while holding her toddler.

Emergency Shelter and Transitional Support

Our program is designed to provide respite for families experiencing homelessness. As one of the largest family shelter providers in Massachusetts, in addition to shelter, we offer case management, workshops and trainings, supplemental resources, seasonal support, and more to 135 families.

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Hildebrand exclusively accepts families referred by the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC). Entering shelter for the first time can bring a range of emotions. On the day of arrival, each family is greeted by members of our Programs and Services team. They are welcomed with an orientation providing a complete overview of our program, which includes a description of services, expectations, and a list of resources available through Hildebrand and in the family’s new community.

Families are expected to meet with their assigned case manager within one week of arriving to shelter to begin our work together. The initial case management meeting typically entails review, discussion, and planning related to:

  • the family’s housing history
  • ensuring school-aged children are in school
  • understanding the family system and networks
  • learning about involvement and support from extended family and friends
  • documenting employment history and status
  • discussing education history and needs
  • addressing housing barriers or challenges the family is facing and jointly determine the options for meeting individual family needs

Case managers work to build relationships based on mutual respect. All information is used to develop a family’s individual re-housing and service plan. Re-housing and family service plans are fluid and serve as a roadmap on the journey toward self-sufficiency.

A man holds his baby next to an older child.

Stabilization Services

When families transition into permanent housing or short-term subsidies, we continue our work together for two years in order to ensure continued success. Families continue working with their case manager to develop an individualized stabilization plan. The goal of the stabilization program is to help families maintain housing and continue their journey toward self-sufficiency. Families are encouraged to maintain their engagement with Hildebrand and other trainings, programs and supports, and case managers help them navigate barriers to doing so.

The front of one of Hildebrand's residential buildings.

Permanent Housing

Hildebrand owns and operates 22 units of permanent affordable housing located in three buildings in Cambridge and Dorchester. As a tenant of Hildebrand permanent housing, families have access to voluntary supports, services, and resources designed to assist clients in being good neighbors, maintain positive relationships with landlords and neighbors, and remain self-sufficient.

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  Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC). 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. 

Community-Based Shelter or, scattered sites, are individual apartments with one family placed in an apartment. Currently, Hildebrand houses 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:
• 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 two years 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 and continued access to supports on an as needed basis. Families in permanent housing are considered well on their pathway to self-sufficiency. Hildebrand currently operates 22 permanent housing units.

Student Success Education Initiative

With so much uncertainty right now about the education process and environment for youth in Massachusetts, given the ongoing impact of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to develop and implement support programs to focus on year-round, positive learning experiences for all children, particularly those in families experiencing homelessness. Hildebrand’s new Student Success Education Initiative is an innovative education and academic achievement support program for school-age children in shelter.  To help meet the increasing complexities facing children in homeless families, and to bring a new, comprehensive, and increased level of service, Hildebrand has developed and implemented a new model of education support: the Student Success Education Initiative. 

Theory of Change

First stage: Assessment and Goal Development. Families complete a self-sufficiency assessment and begin family goal development with their caseworker. Second stage: Interventions. This includes Budgeting, language classes, education, employment, housing search, health and wellness, and other family support. Third stage: Outcomes. Families transition out of homelessness and reach self-sufficiency, maintaining housing for at least two years.

Do you want to help support Hildebrand?


614 Massachusetts Avenue
Third Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph: 617-491-5752
F: 617-491-2385

Mon-Fri 9:00 AM-5:00 PM *congregate living programs are staffed 24/7
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