Seeking Volunteers for Haley House’s Live-in Community in Boston’s South End

by carli nornhold
Communities with Openings


Haley House uses food with purpose and the power of community to break down barriers, open opportunities, and strengthen the neighborhoods we serve. Founded in 1966, Haley House has grown to include five interconnected branches: direct services (soup kitchen, food pantry, meal for elders), permanent affordable housing, urban agriculture, education and training (Take Back the Kitchen and LiFT: Re-Entry Program), and social enterprise. Our programs are located in the South End and Roxbury.

The Live-In Community is a group of residential volunteers who co-manage Haley House’s soup kitchen and food pantry and commit to living together as an intentional community in the South End. Since our founding, Live-In Community members have kept our direct services running while doing the important work of building community with each other, with other volunteers, and with our guests.

Our goal is not simply to feed people but to nourish them so that compromised health is not a barrier to overcoming personal challenges. We believe in the possibility of transformation through personal relationships without the hierarchy of “server” and “recipient.”

The community is typically made up of 6-8 people from a variety of backgrounds.

Expectations and Requirements

We ask that Live-In Community members commit to two years of full-time immersion in the community. While life here is all-encompassing, the time needed to complete direct-service related tasks is approximately 25 hours a week, leaving time for many members to seek part-time employment on the side.

Our kitchen operates six days per week, and each live-in member acts as a facilitator of the breakfast shift. Some duties include volunteer management and supervision, kitchen safety and health code adherence, and facilitating an environment of respect in the kitchen. These skills are learned by new members and are not a prerequisite to entering the community. Community members attend weekly meetings to discuss community and business matters and gather for a weekly community dinner. Members take on additional side projects and chores while at Haley House.

While managing the direct services of Haley House, volunteers commit to living together as a community and building deep connections with each other, as well as our guests. Hospitality is key to the Live-in Community’s way of life. We share friendship, space, and material goods that we have received through the generosity of others.

Joining the community involves a commitment that is much more than taking an ordinary job. Living intentionally means not only serving our unhoused community but being responsible to each other through weekly meetings, community meals, shared tasks, and a mindful approach to daily life. In our collective decision-making, we utilize the consensus process and emphasize careful listening and mutual respect–values that we try to live out both in our personal lives and our work in the soup kitchen. Living together takes courage. It means challenging each other with a deep respect for the learning process of each individual while holding space for positive growth. Community living also requires accountability to both those we serve and those who support us.

Community connectivity is an important component of our work. Nurturing and recognizing support from our neighbors is critical to the success of our work. We strongly encourage participation in South End community events throughout the year, communication with our neighbors, and inviting friends, family, Soup Kitchen guests, and others to our weekly community dinner.

The regular weekly hourly commitment for the Live-in Community is around 25 hours. Some people want or need part-time jobs or are taking a few classes during their live-in experience. Outside work and continuing education are possible with the right time management and communication with the community, but we view our commitment to the community and soup kitchen as our first priority.

What We Offer

Room and board are provided to Live-in Community members so they can dedicate themselves to running our soup kitchen and food pantry, as well as intentional community living (sharing work, meals, reflection, and daily life). Our living space is located in Haley House’s 5-story brick row house in the historic South End, above our soup kitchen and administrative offices. Food is shared in a common kitchen on the top floor. Food is allocated through our Soup Kitchen.

The Application Process

If you are interested in joining the Live-In Community, please submit the following materials:

After completing the online application, please submit your references and resume to

The community may reach out to schedule a phone or video conversation with applicants following the submission of all application materials. If the community feels that an applicant is a good candidate after reviewing their application, they are invited for a two-week stay. This trial stay is a holistic introduction to the soup kitchen programs, the living arrangements of the house, and the community lifestyle, and it also provides applicants an opportunity to explore the surrounding city. After a two-week stay, the applicant moves out of the community for a week of discernment. During this time, the applicant and the community each reflect on their experiences together and determine if the applicant is the right candidate for the two-year commitment. After the week, the community reaches out to the applicant with their final decision.