Our Mission


Breaktime Cafe expands the business of local food providers, builds off of the work of local non-profits, and brings together local students and residents to increase opportunity and lower barriers into the workforce for young adults experiencing homelessness.

We believe in the empowerment of young people through consistent work and the development of universally applicable hard and soft skills. Through supplemental vocational training and one-on-one career mentorship, Breaktime Cafe maintains a supportive and growth-oriented work environment.

 

Breaktime Cafe aims to increase opportunity for young adults experiencing homelessness. We foster greater compassion and inclusion in the food industry and believe that running a successful business and improving people’s lives can go hand-in-hand.

 
 

70.4% of homeless respondents reported feeling discriminated against by private companies simply based on housing status.

-National Coalition for the Homeless (2014)

 

The Challenge

We find that youth and young adult homelessness is becoming more common in Harvard Square, especially as at-risk youth from Cambridge and surrounding towns increasingly come to see Harvard Square as a refuge. These people may be experiencing homelessness for a multitude of reasons including, but not limited to: domestic violence, substance abuse, and family issues.[1] While much is known about the causes and nature of youth homelessness thanks to local organization Youth on Fire, the problem continues to persist despite harrowing statistics. The organization discovered that most homeless youth and young adults were between 17 and 23 years old when they first became homeless and remained homeless for an average of 2 years.[2] Additionally, 51% of youth were forced out of their homes, while 37% left by choice. [3]

These tragic insights highlight the importance of our mission. We strongly believe in creating opportunity and offering jobs, love, acceptance, and compassion when these youth and young adults need it the most. We are confident that tapping into the potential and resilience of these individuals makes our entire community stronger.

 

Exhibit:

[1] Sherine Jayawickrama, “Homelessness in Harvard Square: Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration in Action,” Harvard Kennedy School Case Program, 2014.

[2] “Paving the Path: Helping Young Adults Transition from the Streets to Stability,” Harvard University Community Development Project, May 2015.

[3] “Paving the Path: Helping Young Adults Transition from the Streets to Stability,” Harvard University Community Development Project, May 2015.