Removing barriers, Opening doors, Changing lives

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News & Upcoming Events

Don't Miss VLS's 25th Anniversary Gala!

February 24, 2016
The Mandarin Oriental

Honoring Stephen Pagliuca 
Ropes & Gray
Contact Us


P.O. Box 8457
Boston, MA 02114

Tel : (857) 317-4474
Fax : (844) 621-2797

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Root Cause Social Innovator 2014

Giving Common

Who We Are

Shelter Legal Services is the leader in providing free legal advice and representation to homeless and low-income veterans in the Greater Boston area. Shelter Legal Services also provides legal advice and representation to individuals and families who are homeless or being evicted in the City of Cambridge. 

Our Mission 

Shelter Legal Services' mission is to promote self-sufficiency, stability, and financial security of homeless and low-income veterans through free and accessible legal services. Through restricted funding, we also provide legal services to the homeless in Cambridge.

Check out our 2012-2013 Annual Report to learn more.

Who We Serve

Shelter Legal Services serves over 400 clients per year at legal clinics located in homeless shelters and service centers. We serve homeless and low income veterans at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, and the Chelsea Soldiers' Home, and homeless individuals and families at the Cambridge Multi-Service Center.

“Shelter Legal Services has assisted thousands of Veterans facing the challenge of homelessness. Because of the services they provide at the Center, homeless Veterans are able to resolve the legal issues that pose a barrier to independent living.”

Mr. Andrew McCawley, CEO, The New England Center for Homeless Veterans

These are the Facts

  • Over 28,000 people enter Massachusetts homeless shelters each year.

  • Over 1400 families stay in Massachusetts homeless shelters each night.

  • Veterans are 8% of the general population, but 25% of the homeless population. 

  • 1.5 million veterans in America are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty and lack of adequate supportive services.

  • The number of homeless women veterans is rapidly increasing.

  • One third of the homeless population is made up of families.

  • Up to 63% of homeless women are victims of domestic violence, and 92% have been victims of violence at some point in their lifetime.

  • Over 20% of Boston residents live below the poverty line.

  • Legal problems are an obstacle to stable housing for many homeless and at risk individuals and families.

“Shelter Legal Services does so much for the homeless that it's easy to overlook the benefit it provides to law students.  While in law school, it can be difficult to get enough real-world experience.  By volunteering with Shelter Legal Services in my first semester I was able to put what I was learning into use right away.  Plus I didn't have to wait in order to start making a difference in the world."

Attorney John Pollock, Coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel and SLS Alumnus


Comprehensive supportive services, including legal services, are essential to ending homelessness.

Shelter Legal Services helps homeless and at risk people by removing legal barriers to stable housing.

By supporting Shelter Legal Services you can help end homelessness for a veteran, a family, or a victim of domestic violence.