Best practices for non-congregate homeless shelters
Anita Garg, Audrey Mitchell, Cassie Peña, Anna Rajaratnam
Prof. Riitta Katila
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.
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.
Goal 1: Improve client well-being in a non-congregate setting.
- Strengthen community
- Invest in professional mental health staff
- Facilitate the client-staff relationship
Goal 2: Strengthen and centralize LifeMoves’ organizational infrastructure.
- Set concrete standards before allowing customization
- Reflect accountability through actions
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.