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Temporary Shelter

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Community Shelters

  • Programs, usually sponsored by community organizations or coalitions, that provide temporary shelter (usually three days to two weeks) for homeless people, generally in dormitory-style facilities with very little privacy. Most community shelters offer support services which may include counseling, advocacy, referrals and help with future plans; and enforce house rules including curfews and mandatory household chores. Participation in religious activities is either optional or not a part of the program.

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Domestic Violence Shelters

  • Programs that provide temporary emergency shelter for women who have experienced domestic violence/abuse, and for their children. Such facilities usually provide in-house individual, group and family counseling and the full range of secondary services related to domestic violence including referral to appropriate resources. Also included are similar facilities for battered men and those that can accommodate both men and women.

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Helpful Links

National Coalition against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence


Sexual Assault Shelters

  • Programs that provide temporary emergency shelter for women who have been victimized by rape and/or other forms of sexual assault. Such facilities usually provide in-house individual, group and significant other counseling and the full range of other secondary services related to sexual assault including referral to appropriate resources.

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Helpful Links

RAINN - Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

Darkness to Light

Sidran Institute - Traumatic Stress Education & Advocacy


Cold Weather Shelters/Warming Centers

  • Armories, recreation centers, fire stations, churches and other facilities that are opened for brief intervals during cold weather emergencies to shelter homeless individuals and families from the elements in situations where the shelters that normally serve this population are at capacity. The sites may also be used by people without access to adequately heated facilities, e.g., people who are experiencing a power failure, individuals who wish to reduce their daytime home heating costs by lowering the thermostat and spending their time elsewhere or others in vulnerable situations. Included are facilities that are open during daytime and/or evening hours only as well as those that provide overnight accommodations.

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Emergency Shelter Clearinghouses

  • Programs that coordinate requests for emergency shelter by screening homeless individuals who apply using criteria established by the shelters, maintaining lists of individuals who have been aided, and checking new applicants against the lists before referring them to a resource that can meet their needs. Emergency shelter clearinghouses help to avoid duplication of service and maximize the availability of shelter resources while relieving the agencies of the task of handling requests directly. Also included are programs that refer people needing shelter to an appropriate resource, but which are not the sole source for this information.

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