Furnishing Hope, a nonprofit that works with recently housed families to make sure they have the essential furniture for their homes, is moving into Harvard Square this month.
Furnishing Hope works with several agencies in Greater Boston to identify people who are transitioning out of homelessness or situations involving domestic violence. When people are in homeless shelters they are allowed just two garbage bags’ worth of belongings, according to Furnishing Hope’s Executive Director Suzy Palitz. Agencies that work to get families into housing often don’t have the resources to provide housing essentials. Palitz says she’s seen housed families who still have just those two trash bags, who have no lighting in parts of their apartments and sleep on the floor.
That’s where Furnishing Hope comes in. The organization puts together kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom “starter sets” mainly out of refurbished and gently used items. Moving partners Gentle Giant and Humboldt help with delivery and setup.
Furnishing Hope’s online furniture bank lets people pick out furniture they like from what’s available.
“We want people to feel empowered,” Palitz says. “It’s almost like shopping online.”
Furnishing Hope doesn’t have the resources to identify who is in need of its services, so all the people it helps are referred through the organization’s partnering agencies. Palitz says the nonprofit will aid about 60 families this year.
Furnishing Hope is moving to 131 Mount Auburn Street from Central Square. The new office will give the organization about twice as much space, according to Palitz. More space means room for volunteers and meetings with potential partner agencies, and so the organization hopes to grow.
Palitz intends to increase Furnishing Hope’s involvement in Cambridge, from attending meetings for homeless families at the public schools to partnering with local organizations to helping more local families.
Furnishing Hope will host an open house and ribbon cutting on Oct. 28 at 11 a.m.