How we help the homeless

We have programs that can help.

The expressed mission of The Friends is to provide financial and volunteer support for the shelter and for associated programs. This includes support for many different programs, all of which contribute to the one goal of helping the homeless find a better life.

Want to Volunteer?

Help those in need.

Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals is an entirely volunteer organization. This means that donations go almost completely to services. It also means that we’re always on the lookout for more volunteers! Volunteer jobs range in scope from once or twice a year to monthly or even weekly in a few cases.


Every penny counts.

Some $30,000 is needed each year to cover the operating expenses of the shelter. Our donors generosity helps keep our doors open.


About Us


Tuesday, November 27 is Giving Tuesday — please donate to give homeless individuals food, shelter, and a hand up to a better life!

We’re over 4/5 of the way to our goal of a house to provide supportive housing for homeless youth, with partner DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services. DIAL/SELF has used this model with great success in Franklin County, and we’re happy to be bringing it to Hampshire County. Please donate between now & Giving Tuesday to help us reach the finish line. Visit this link for more details.





Saturday, February 17 at 7 PM, Helen Hills Hills Chapel, 123 Elm St, Northampton
Tickets: $10 general (students by donation), available at the door, at State Street Fruit in Northampton, Cooper’s Corner in Florence, and online at this link:
Buy tickets for House Music: women's a cappella jam

Women’s college a cappella groups come together to help homeless youth of the Pioneer Valley. Featuring Smith Blackappella (hear them), Smith Groove (YouTube), the Smith Noteables (YouTube), the Smiffenpoofs (YouTube), the Smith Smithereens (YouTube), the Smith College Vibes (YouTube), the Amherst College Sabrinas (YouTube), and the Mount Holyoke Victory Eights (YouTube).

All proceeds benefit a Friends of the Homeless – DIAL/SELF program to provide supportive affordable housing for unaccompanied youth, ages 18-24.

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Paddle-For-Home-2017Paddle for Home! is happening again this year, on Sunday June 25.  A group of us will paddle down the CT River from the Sunderland bridge to the new Northampton boat ramp, starting between 9:30 and 10:00.  There will also be an opportunity for people to do a shorter paddle starting at the boat ramp take-out point, and joining the other paddlers as they arrive.  Food, music, & celebration at the boat ramp parking area will follow, from 1:30 – 3:00.  To participate, go to this link and once there, click on “join this team”:

Paddle for Home! site

If you have questions, email us through the contact on the Friends website, or call Rick at 413-320-1886.

Though people can donate directly to the main Paddle for Home! site, we encourage participants to ask friends and relatives to donate in honor of their paddle.  The three top fundraisers will win prizes to recognize their effort.  We are almost to our goal for creating the housing — in the home stretch.  Help us reach that goal and finish the supportive housing program that will lift young adults out of homelessness!

We thank Northampton Community Rowing, the Connecticut River Conservancy, Sylvester’s Restaurant, and the American Canoe Association, for co-sponsoring this event & making it possible!



Northampton’s award-winning independent bookstore has named us their nonprofit of the month.  Please stop in (always a pleasure anyway), maybe buy one of the books on homelessness which will benefit the Friends, or slip a donation in the collection jar at the cash register.


New home for unaccompanied homeless youth!

The Friends of Hampshire County Homeless will be funding its third home for homeless people in the near future, this time a home for homeless youth.  This at-risk population currently is underserved in Hampshire County.  Reducing homelessness among young people is a high priority in regional and state planning; this project will address that priority locally.

The home will be created in partnership with DIAL/SELF, a nonprofit agency that has offered a variety of youth services throughout the Pioneer Valley since 1977.  DIAL/SELF has a proven track record in helping homeless youth with housing and with support services.  The agency is community based, and skilled at building alliances, acquiring funding from multiple sources, and developing individualized plans for each person served.  DIAL/SELF also has staff working on street outreach, to help locate and engage this often hard-to-reach population.

We are excited about this new initiative, and look forward to working on it with DIAL/SELF, the City of Northampton, and others.  Comments and suggestions from anyone are welcome, as is help of any kind.  To contact us, email us at Friends of Hampshire County Homeless , or call 413-320-1886.

Our history

Our mission is to provide financial and volunteer support for the Interfaith Winter Shelter for homeless individuals and associated programs.

Our story begins during the cold winter months of 1994. A homeless man, who could not get a bed at the Grove Street Inn because it was full, froze to death on the railway tracks. Subsequently, then-Mayor Mary Ford appealed to local churches to provide emergency overnight shelter. Seven churches responded and rotated housing and feeding the homeless during the winter months. The city employed a professional staff member from ServiceNet to work closely with the guests. This collaboration between the City, ServiceNet, and a group of concerned volunteers was the start of a long-lasting and productive relationship.

Three years later, the volunteers located a permanent site. The shelter has moved a couple of times since then and is now in the basement of 43 Center Street, Northampton, where it offers warm beds and hot meals from November through April. In addition there is a 6-bed annex in Easthampton, where yet another group of volunteers provide comfort and security. 

In the year 2000 the volunteers formed a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals, Inc. with the mission of providing financial and volunteer support for the Interfaith Winter Shelter.

The shelter continues to be a pioneer in the community and is an exceptional example of what a group of passionate and selfless people can do for a worthwhile cause. Its unique approach to homelessness has defined it as a model shelter that brings in individuals from multiple counties to assist in its mission.

More recently, the Friends has been inspired by the Housing First movement to create permanent housing for homeless individuals. Housing First shows that homeless people are more able to rebuild their lives when provided with permanent housing first, and then receiving support services, rather than the other way around as in the traditional shelter model. In 2008 the Friends purchased a duplex in Florence to be a residence for six chronically homeless individuals; this house is called Yvonne’s House, and now is owned and managed by ServiceNet. For more on Yvonne’s House and other ServiceNet shelter & housing services, click here. In 2011, the Friends purchased another duplex in downtown Northampton, this time to be a permanent residence for six homeless people who are also committed to recovery from substance abuse (a common factor in homelessness.)