Lazarus House, Inc.

Opening Doors Out of Poverty

aka Lazarus House Ministries   |   Lawrence, MA   |


By living the gospel message upon which the ministry is founded, we restore dignity and self-respect to our guests--individuals who are poor, underserved, and homeless--to empower them to move forward in their lives.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Jeffrey Hassel

Main address

PO Box 408

Lawrence, MA 01842 USA

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NTEE code info

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Lazarus House serves families and individuals who are poor, homeless or at risk of homelessness, and underserved. We operate in Lawrence, MA. Based on the most recent U.S. Census data, Lawrence’s median household income is $39,627, while Massachusetts’ is $74,167; 24% of Lawrence residents of all ages live below the federal poverty line, as do 31% of children. Lawrence residents rank as the most rent-burdened in Essex County, with rent consuming 40% of median household income. Lawrence residents are also disproportionately un- and underemployed. Lawrence’s unemployment rate has been high relative to Massachusetts consistently since 1991; in 2009, it hit 16.2%. Homelessness and housing instability impact health, psychological well-being, educational advancement, and wage-earning capacity. Our services help guests transition out of generational poverty and remove barriers to stability.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


Shelter was the first service Lazarus House offered when we opened in 1983. It remains one of our core interventions today. Our two housing programs offer stability and hope to more than 100 unduplicated parents and children every year:

-The Emergency Shelter, with 5 private family suites, accommodates up to 25 parents and children.
- Capernaum Place provides up to 24 months of transitional housing to 18 families. Residents pay 30% of gross income in rent. Two permanent units house single adults with disabilities. At any given time, 55-60 residents live at Capernaum Place.

Lazarus House’s housing programs combine structure, personal accountability, and trauma-informed support to foster life change. The Masters-level bilingual/bicultural advocates identify each family’s strengths, goals, and progress. Case management includes crisis intervention, connections to community resources, translation and housing search. Enrichment activities foster wellbeing, joy and belonging.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people
Victims of crime and abuse

Lazarus House’s Food Services programs stand at the epicenter of our efforts to help guests of all ages improve their health, well-being, and ability to utilize opportunities to build economic stability.
-The Soup Kitchen serves 250-300 hot, nourishing breakfasts and lunches every day of the week plus a light supper on Friday.
-The Wednesday Food Pantry provides grocery bags containing several days’ worth of healthy food to an average of 1,100+ households per week and fills emergency orders as needed.
-The Food Pantry staff provided nearly 2,300 families with supermarket gift cards and holiday food baskets in 2020.
-Numerous services, connections to providers, and free essentials are available through the Soup Kitchen.

Partnerships with our regional food bank, supermarkets, food manufacturers, restaurants, farms, food salvage programs, and community groups who run food drives enable us to provide a diverse, high-quality selection on a very modest cash budget.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Homeless people

Lazarus House’s Culinary Program prepares heads of households with low incomes and other barriers to stability for living-wage work in the food services industry. The program runs three times a year, serving 8-10 students per semester. Program components include
-8-10 weeks of basic culinary skills training taught by local chefs in our training kitchen.
-Allergen and ServSafe Food Manager training and certification.
-ESOL support for those in need.
-Universal job-readiness skills training.
-10-week paid internships with a partnering establishment.
-Job-search and placement support. Continued support post-placement.

The program demonstrates an annual 80-85% success rate in placing graduates in employment.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Unemployed people

An outlet for clothing and household necessities, a welcoming home for gently used items donors no longer need, and a place where neighbors can shop with dignity, Lazarus House's thrift store provides high-quality clothing, housewares, furniture, and other items at very low cost to residents of one of Massachusetts' poorest cities. Every item sold in our Thrift Stores is donated by individuals, businesses, faith communities, schools, civic groups and other generous groups. We distribute 250-300 vouchers every year to assist individuals and families who have experienced house fires, natural disasters, domestic violence, or face other urgent need. Thrift store sales generate revenue for Lazarus House programs and services.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Advocacy lies at the core of Lazarus House's food and shelter programs. Our skilled advocates, most of whom are licensed mental health professionals, help guests take the next step toward greater independence and well-being. Our advocates help guests access basic toiletries and clean clothes and also help them connect with resources both inside and outside the organization: -Shelter and housing programs
-Education and employment assistance
-Financial and legal assistance.
-Substance abuse and mental health treatment.
-Benefits enrollment.
-And unconditional emotional support.

Lazarus House's emphasis on advocacy as a core component of service delivery--rather than an add-on--distinguishes our program from many others.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Homeless people

Our newest program, which grew out of the great volume of walk-up services requested by Soup Kitchen Guests, provides assistance and opportunity to Guests who are not residents of our housing programs. Services include:
-Onsite urgent care provided by visiting nursing staff.
-Referrals to medical treatment and behavioral health services.
-Housing assistance and connections to homelessness prevention resources, including the Lazarus House shelter.
-Connections to public benefits, including Veterans Benefits, MassHealth, SSDI, etc.
-The basics, such as toiletries, socks, infant care items, or simply a listening ear.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Economically disadvantaged people
Children and youth
Immigrants and migrants

Where we work


Celebration of Excellence - Community Service 2011

Enterprise Bank

Extreme Esteem Recognition 2011

Self Esteem Boston

Charitable Award 2010

Massachusetts Bankers Association

Excellence in Community Development 2008

Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation

The Senator Paul Tsongas Award for Exemplary Service 2003

Federal Executive Board - Greater Boston

Tikkun Olam Award 2001

Merrimack College

Book of Golden Deeds Award 2016

Exchange Club of Lawrence

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The overall goal of Lazarus House is to help families and individuals living in poverty meet their basic survival needs, regain their dignity and increase their capacity for long-term stability. Lazarus’s House’s vision is to create a community in which the violence of poverty no longer exists. Lazarus House provides a full continuum of services that offer nourishment, stability, comfort, and dignity to our guests. All our programs and services align with this goal.

Food Programs Goals:
-Provide high-quality meals and groceries to all who come to us in need, in a setting of dignity and respect.
-Connect guests to additional resources to improve their health and stability.

Housing and Shelter Goals:
Whether guests stay in our shelter for several nights or live in one of our transitional residences for up to three years, we strive to:
-Provide safe, dignified, appropriate shelter and housing to women, men, and families.
-Help guests meet their basic material needs to facilitate saving.
-Increase their capacity to lead healthy, stable and productive lives in their own housing.

Work Preparation Goals:
Lazarus House’s Culinary training program guides heads of households with low incomes past the imperatives of survival toward sustainable independent lives. Program components enable students to:
-Gain basic kitchen skills aligned with industry standards.
-Obtain necessary food safety certification.
-Develop the technical, “soft,” and personal life skills required for vocational stability.
-Secure employment.

Thrift Store Goals:
-Make available highly affordable and high-quality clothing, housewares, and furniture at our three thrift stores. When guests have been displaced by fire, natural disasters, or other crises, we provide vouchers for free clothing, 300 or more per year.

Over 37 years of operation, we have maintained a fundamental commitment to the dignity of every guest we serve, every volunteer who helps us, and every benefactor and relationship that supports us. We live our mission “to restore dignity and self-respect to people who are poor and in dire need.” Our advocates work with and support guests as they move out of poverty. We also expect our guests to take responsibility for rebuilding their lives.

Food Programs
With 8 FT and 5 PT staff, we operate:
-A Soup Kitchen, serving breakfast and lunch daily, 150-200 meals per day.
-A Wednesday “guest choice” Food Pantry, which provides groceries to 800+ households per week and fills emergency orders.
-Seasonal Soup Van, evening bagged meals, and holiday meal program serve guests offsite.
-On the coldest winter nights, the Soup Kitchen provides overnight shelter and meals to street-homeless women and men.
A wide array of partnerships enable us to meet the high community need with 95-99% donated food.

Shelter and Housing
Lazarus House operates an 8-bedroom, 41-bed emergency shelter for families and single adults plus three transitional housing programs. Our shelter serves, on average, 27 people per night. Capernaum Place accommodates 18 families for up to two years and two single adults with disabilities on a permanent basis. All participants benefit from:
-Individual case management.
-Life skills workshops.
-Vocational guidance and access to educational resources.
-Housing search assistance and tenancy skills education.
-Financial literacy and financial asset building opportunities.
-Health screenings, connection to primary care, and behavioral health services.
-Recreational activities and outings, birthday and holiday celebrations, and other normative experiences.

Three expert case managers oversee our housing programs, assisted by 9 FT and 6 PT employees. Programs are staffed 24 hours a day.

Our Community Resource Specialist helps 2,800+ guests per year, on a drop-in basis, access a multitude of resources available at Lazarus House or through partnering providers.

Culinary Training
Every year, 1 PT employee, assisted by select professionals from the food services field, serve 20-24 adult learners. The program prepares learners for living-wage employment in the field through:
-8-10 weeks of hands-on skills training in our teaching kitchen.
-Food safety instruction and ServSafe food safety exam preparation.
-ESOL support for those in need.
-Guidance on resumes, interviewing, and other job-search skills.
-Paid 30-hour-a-week internships over 10 weeks at a select establishment for invaluable field-based experience.
-Case management to support placement and retention.

Thrift Stores
4 FT staff, assisted by 2 FT drivers, keep three stores well stocked with seasonal, high-quality gear. The stores distribute free items when available and serve as a conduit to other Lazarus House programs.

First, Lazarus House is anchored by solid community roots. We were founded by a small group of Lawrence residents, united by their faith and their resolve to address the great hardship they observed in their community. Thirty-six years after we first opened our doors, we remain true to our grassroots origins, drawing on a broad base of individuals, businesses, civic groups, task forces, and faith communities who partner with us in our work.

Second, Lazarus House relied on community input to guide our programmatic growth. For example, we opened our Soup Kitchen when we learned of the paucity of daytime services for unemployed homeless adults. In the late 1990s, we launched our ESOL program upon learning that the waiting list for existing programs was 500+ people and several years long. In the early 2000’s, we launched our first transitional housing program in response to guests’ feedback about the difficulty of bridging shelter and permanent housing and to address the dire shortage of decent affordable housing in the community. Today, we continue to rely on guidance from participants and our community partners to identify and respond to service gaps. These collaborations ensure true wrap-around care while avoiding duplication of services.

Third, we recognized early on that coupling such basic services as food, shelter, and clothing with those that help to mitigate financial and social vulnerability is the most effective way to guide people out of poverty. To that end, we began formally offering educational and job-training programs in 1998. Vocational development remains a core component of our work with guests today. Similarly, our shelter and housing programs offer a rigorous menu of case management, practical skill-building, and opportunities to build residents’ financial capacity and wellbeing across multiple dimensions.

Finally Lazarus House’s knowledgeable and compassionate staff is our most valuable asset. Our 2011-2013 Capital Campaign enabled us to hire additional case management staff, notably a Director of Advocacy and a Community Resources Coordinator. We are well served by bilingual and bi-cultural staff throughout the organization, including all five supervising case managers, who have masters’ degrees in the human services field. The Director of Capernuam Place is an LICSW. Fifty percent of Lazarus House employees come from the community we serve; some have also journeyed out of homelessness and understand first-hand the trauma of poverty.

Lazarus House opened our doors in 1983 as a shelter with five beds and an all-volunteer staff.

1984: Lazarus House opened our first thrift store.
1986: The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen began serving meals.
1987: Our Food Pantry began operating in our shelter driveway.
1998: Lazarus House started offering English language classes and vocational training.
2007: We opened Capernaum Place, a transitional residence for families.
2010: We relocated our Food Pantry to a permanent building and offered Guests the dignity of selecting food in a supermarket-style setting.
2011: Our first Culinary Program trainees graduated.
2019: Co-founder and long-time Executive Director Bridget Shaheen retired on June 30. We welcomed new ED Jeff Hassel, who will sustain Bridget’s singular vision and continue to refine our programs to best meet community needs.


Lazarus House, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Lazarus House, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 10/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Rick Crowley

Self Employed

Term: 2021 - 2023

Board co-chair

Ms. Riley Quinn Doherty

Staples, Inc.

Term: 2020 - 2022

Peter Gori

St. Augustine Parish

Robin Gorski-Routhier

Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works

James Kasouf


Paul MacDonald

MTM Insurance Associates

Steve Normandin

AMD Global Telemedicine

Olguida Sacchetti

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center

Andrew Botti

McClane Middleton

Maureen Smith

Free Christian Church

Tom Burkardt


Andrew Armata

Andy Armata Worldwide

Linda Benjamin

Community Volunteer

Lindsay Boddy

Essex County District Attorney's Office

Rick Crowley

Contract CFO

Riley Doherty

Staples, Inc,

Howard Mandell

Congregation Beth Israel

Anne Sisto

George P. Johnson Experience Marketing

Mike Curran

Archdiocese of Boston

Art Durkin

Keller Williams Realty Success

Todd Johnson

USI Insurance Services LLC

Olivia Rosa

Lawrence Community Works

Jesus Suriel

Enterprise Bank

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/19/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.