Cambridge Charrette on Homelessness

From September 15-18, people from across Cambridge, MA came together to strategize around one of our community's most difficult and persistent problems: how to provide housing for all those living in our city without homes. This Storify documents the charrette as it unfolded.


  1. Background

  2. What is a charrette? A charrette is a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions. Anyone from across the Cambridge community who has a stake in the issue of homelessness was invited to join the Charrette on Homelessness and lend their voice. Participants came for as much or as little as they liked: whether for just one session, or all three days.
  3. The charrette was jointly presented by the City of Cambridge's Department of Human Service Programs, the Cambridge Continuum of Care, and the national non-profit Corporation for Supportive Housing.
  4. 6 two-hour panel sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday offered discussion from local and national experts on a topic, and then feedback from the general community. On Friday, the Corporation for Supportive Housing presented draft recommendations to Cambridge, based on what they heard throughout the course of the week.
  5. Note that many tweets from @CambMACoC during the charrette are paraphrased comments made by panelists or community members, and should not necessarily be taken as fact or the opinion of the CoC. Or as was stated on twitter:
  6. This Storify is only a sampling of social media from the charrette! To see everything that got tweeted with the #cambridgecharrette hashtag, click here.
  7. If your interest is piqued or you were at the charrette and want to stay connected, click below to sign up for the charrette mailing list to stay in the loop about next steps, planning, and ways to get involved.
  8. Tuesday, September 15

  9. Session 1: Serving Frequent Users of Emergency Services

  10. Frequent Users are people who are usually caught in an “institutional circuit.” They are people who cycle in and out of institutions without any resolution to their health or homelessness. Frequent Users may be in Correctional Institutions, Hospitals, Psychiatric facilities, and/or homeless shelters. This cycle is costly and often does not result in a successful discharge or outcome. This discussion provided guidance on how the community can respond to this issue.