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Best practices for non-congregate homeless shelters

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Four portrait photos of students arranged in a square

Team members
Anita Garg, Audrey Mitchell, Cassie Peña, Anna Rajaratnam

Faculty mentor
Prof. Riitta Katila

The organization
LifeMoves is the largest and most effective nonprofit committed to ending the cycle of homelessness for families and individuals in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

Life Moves logo

Project description

The purpose of this project is to develop a set of best practices for LifeMoves’ transition from congregate to non-congregate housing facilities. This transition represents a broader industry shift, in which non-congregate (private room) housing is increasingly favored over congregate (barrack-style) housing. However, there are novel challenges that emerge with this transition—we investigated these challenges and created concrete recommendations to address them in our report.

Solutions

Goal 1: Improve client well-being in a non-congregate setting.

Recommended actions: 

  • Strengthen community 
  • Invest in professional mental health staff 
  • Facilitate the client-staff relationship 

Goal 2: Strengthen and centralize LifeMoves’ organizational infrastructure.

Recommended actions:

  • Set concrete standards before allowing customization 
  • Reflect accountability through actions

Techniques used

We interviewed the three main stakeholders in a shelter environment—clients, programs staff, and non-programs staff. Additionally, we conducted a literature review of the scholarly articles that proved most relevant to our project to examine what insights can be gleaned from them and applied to LifeMoves’ non-congregate sites.

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2022 senior projects