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Providing emergency shelter and living arrangements

You have a warm, safe, secure facility, and you may want to use it for more than just your normal range of operations. Some organizations wish to turn their buildings into emergency shelters for homeless families or individuals, victims of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants or others in need of shelter.

This is an admirable goal, but you should make sure you are fully prepared for everything involved in becoming a transitional living facility. Church Mutual has compiled some tips you can follow to provide shelter and host overnight residents.

Be prepared to supply needs

Can your organization provide for the needs of all temporary residents? You’ll need to stock up on items like easy-prep/non-perishable foods, water (both for sanitation and drinking), cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, clothing and more. Click here to view a comprehensive list of items you should have on hand.

Qualifications for admitting residents and building requirements

Does your local municipality have any restrictions on providing lodging accommodations? Are you prepared to run criminal background checks on those seeking shelter in your facility? Has your local fire department or authority conducted a survey of your space to ensure it’s suitable for sheltering purposes? You need to plan for these items and more before opening your doors to temporary residents.

Resident rules

Your organization may have a thorough list of rules and policies in place, but it’s important you highlight and communicate them to all temporary residents of your facility. View our recommended resident rules here.

Additional operational concerns to consider

COVID-19 guidelines or restrictions, ADA accessibility, staffing, emergency contacts and more need to be thoroughly thought through before offering your space as shelter or a temporary residence.

For a full list of tips and considerations on providing shelter and hosting overnight residents, view Church Mutual’s downloadable emergency shelter and living arrangements resource.