We are a coalition interested in serving the needs of the homeless and marginal populations of the Greater Boston area. Many of our coalition partners are churches, but others are academic and secular organizations and individuals. We are looking for corporate partners and other individuals to join us as volunteers, donors and providers of other resource needs. Some of us have been involved in meals programs for many years; others are formerly homeless people who want to help others as they themselves have been helped. The common strand that runs through our thinking and the programs that we run — and will continue to create — is that recognition of shared humanity is the critical step in being able to help.
Realism is also a vital element: an understanding that there are many amongst the marginal population facing complicated struggles, and it may not be possible for us to help them all into housing or employment. Yet offering a meal or a hot cup of coffee on a winter morning may be the first step in supporting those in need. We see our role as trying to fill in the gaps, focusing on meeting the people we seek to serve through community: during a meal, through sharing a book, or in a dedicated women’s group. We believe that through community we can empathize, through empathy people can be encouraged, and through encouragement empowerment can happen.
Board of Trustees
David was associated with Ron Tibbetts at Neighborhood Action Inc. for some time before its closure. He is a retired fund manager and lawyer residing on Beacon Hill.
Debra A. Harkins
Debra is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Suffolk University. Having taught for more than 20 years, she has been active and focused on student service learning, civic engagement and community action research for those living and working on the margins including the poor, unhoused, and underserved.
Donnie's involvement with the homeless and otherwise underserved community of Boston stems from his personal experience. In 2005, he became homeless as a result of a four-month hospitalization. After obtaining housing, he sustained a hand injury which rendered him homeless once again. He currently serves as Clerk for the Oasis Coalition and as Volunteer Services Coordinator for the Oasis Monday Night Meal Program.
Susanne is an accountant at who has also been extensively involved as a volunteer for not-profits, and has organized fundraising events, undertaking a variety of tasks from planning to setting up tables and serving. She is committed to addressing the issue of homelessness, and she has personally experienced being homelessness.
Rob Day is a veteran and has experienced homelessness; he is now successfully housed. He is a committed and energetic Oasis volunteer and a co-founder and co-facilitator of the Book Club. His experience and commitment inspire those who come to know him.
The Oasis Coalition of Boston is a 501(c)3 Corporation — incorporated in 2009 — born of a collaborative association of various church and secular organizations and groups of volunteers, united by a long-term commitment to serving the needs of the homeless and marginal communities of Boston.
One of Oasis’ founders, Ron Tibbetts, was previously Executive Director of Neighborhood Action Inc. (NAI), a non-profit long associated with the Church of St. John the Evangelist on Bowdoin Street in Boston, where the programs currently operated by Oasis originated. It was through NAI that Ron formed the relationship that currently exists between Suffolk University and Oasis.
In January 2009, The Church of St. John the Evangelist decided to close NAI down, immediately terminating its various programs and prompting the formation of Oasis in partnership with Church on the Hill.
Since then, four regular programs have been established by Oasis:
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