Recently, while looking for examples of good emergency housing practices, we learned about how Philadelphia manages its shelter system. Their emergency housing standards are publicly available on their website. This document is a great resource for shelter providers or community planners who don’t have standards and are looking for examples, or who want to compare what they are doing to what providers and planners are doing in other communities. Here are just a few interesting pieces:
Staff to Consumer Ratios: Philadelphia sets a ratio of one direct service person per 20 individual consumers during day hours, and a ratio of one staff person per 40 individual consumers overnight.
Staff Training: Emergency housing personnel in Philadelphia are expected to receive a minimum of 10 to 20 hours of training, budget permitting. Some of the mandatory topics include domestic violence, transgender and sexual minorities, and CPR.
Intake and Assessment Guidelines for Sexual Minorities: In this appendix, staff and service providers are instructed to accept and support a client’s self-identification of his/her gender irrespective of physical appearance, surgical status, or documentation of identity.
Does your community or organization have written shelter policies or standards? Let us know!