In the Spotlight: Youth Housing Initiative

Everyone deserves a safe home.

WHAT THEY DO: Youth Housing Initiative, a one-of-a-kind youth housing program (created by the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter), provides a safe and supportive sanctuary for homeless young adults. 

HOW THEY DO IT: Thanks to the 250 individual student volunteers, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter is one of the most cost effective shelters in Boston (approx. $17/bed/night or less than $70k per year). YHI is a program-in-progress designed to create to more housing specifically for Boston’s homeless young adults, while simultaneously providing supportive resources and case management services for guests.

WHY WE LOVE THEM: Innovation is at the core of this nonprofit. Because YHI's program is run by enthusiastic, passionate student volunteers, the relationships these volunteers build with guests are stronger than your average housing program. And, these youth-to-youth relationships inspire real effective change. The young people involved with this program are consistently motivated to seek out creative solutions and won’t think twice about taking action on innovative ideas that they believe will help the homeless men and women they are serving.


In Their Own Words

Sarah Rosenkrantz & Sam Greenberg, Co-Directors

“We're involved because we believe that everyone our age should have a place to call home and an opportunity to succeed. The Harvard Square Youth Housing Initiative (YHI) is building a student-run shelter and effectively doubling the number of available beds for unaccompanied young adults ages 18-24 in the Greater Boston area. YHI uses evidenced-based services to create pathways out of homelessness and aims to serve as a model for national replication.”

Youth Housing Initiative in 3 Words: Collaborative, Optimistic, Passionate

If YHI could land one major celebrity endorsement: “We’d choose Lady Gaga, because of her activism with the Born This Way Foundation. Nationally, 25-40% of young adults experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, and having Lady Gaga support our efforts to create safe spaces would be incredible.”

Learn more about Sam, Sarah, and the rest of the team at, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter