Our Story – The History of Friends

Herb Newell, Executive Director of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.

Our story is exciting and we want to share the history of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore with you. So grab a cup of coffee or tea, a comfortable seat. Get ready to take a trip into the story of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore. Enjoy! Oh and don’t forget to come back, and check out the rest of our website. We have a lot of exciting news and updates in our blogs. We believe your are the biggest part of our story and success. Let’s start our trip down memory lane.

Pre-History of Friends

In 1984, Faith Church of the Nazarene, a small congregation, which gathered in a large Victorian home in Hingham, MA, responded to a plea to provide shelter for homeless families separate from the individuals. Faith Church had already been working with the families placed in area motels and others living in a nearby park. They had even sheltered a local businessman who had been living in the back room of his store. Soon the house at 258 Rockland Street that already served as parish house, parsonage, and sanctuary also housed Hingham Interfaith Shelter, a shelter for homeless families.

Unfortunately, the burgeoning number of displaced families outpaced shelter availability. During the next few years during the history of Friends, while two additional family shelters opened in our area, homeless families were still overflowing into local hotels.

Hingham Interfaith continued its mission, sheltering one or two families at a time in a unique home setting. Often Hingham Interfaith would deal with intact families, families with older children, larger families, and others that were hard to place.

Faith Church tailored its efforts to meet the needs of the families they served in the shelters and motels. As a result, we started a Food Pantry, Clothes Closet, and Furniture Bank. We visited families in the parks and motels and provided transportation, use of our phones, and advocacy services. A weekly meal and special events were sponsored to bring homeless families into the community. Friends of the Homeless volunteers and donors (individuals, churches, and civic groups) provided food, clothing, shelter, and met a host of other needs as the program evolved.

The Muddle Ages


The crisis of homelessness continued to grow relentlessly. In the fall of that year, Faith Church proposed a radical new idea. If this small mission church could share their facilities with homeless families, perhaps there were others with hearts and homes open to share. After two years of preparation this simple idea developed into the Faith Home-Share Program. [/wptabcontent]


The Home-Share Program began during the history of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.


The Home-Share Program sheltered 117 families in 20 homes in 13 South Shore communities. This effort more than doubled the 54 families sheltered in Hingham Interfaith Shelters during it’s first six years. At the same time, we began to expand the Interfaith Shelter program. First Parish Unitarian Church of Cohasset began to share a shelter space in their Parish House on the Town Square. City of Quincy allowed us to use a city owned building in Wollaston where we could shelter 4 families.


Weymouth Bank helped us to buy a house in Weymouth, and two years later we bought the house next door. This is where we opened the Faith Place Shelter.


We opened the Rehoboth Shelter in Norwell where we can shelter 15 additonal families.


A new community space was built at our norwell shelter. The purpose of this space is for a learning center and indoor area for our homeless families to gather.

Due to the Coronovirus crisis and the need for more shelter space for our guests, Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore had made the practical, yet difficult decision to close the Furniture Bank.

Stumblin’ On


Friends of the Homeless provides shelter, help, and hope for up to 26 families a night as we continue on course to end family homelessness one family at a time. Faith Church of the Nazarene is known as North Street Church of Hingham. We are still adding to the history of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.


We’re holding fast to, and building upon, our past successes. We are focusing on improving our serve in every way, embracing a new committment to housing first. Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore will continue to work on the practical and systemic issues that deny or delay housing to housing-ready homeless families. We will continue to add to the history of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.