Homelessness in Harvard Square: Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration in Action
This case study is set in Harvard Square in 2012-2013, and explores how a diverse group of local stakeholders (e.g. the Cambridge Police Department, city agencies, churches, nonprofit service providers, Harvard Square businesses) comes together to understand and respond to the influx of "travelers." These young homeless individuals travel from city to city in a nomadic way, and Harvard Square has become more popular on the travelers' circuit. The travelers' aggressive behavior and drug use challenge local stakeholders who have developed reasonably effective strategies to support the chronically homeless population on Cambridge streets. Better forms of collaboration and collective action are required to address this new set of challenges. This case study describes the stakeholders involved, the multiple interests at stake, and the broader context in which collaboration and collective action must take place.