Shelter Operations and Facility Requirements

Program Intent:    SafeNights shelters are intended to serve temporarily and repeatedly as needed within local communities as a means of ensuring safety and enabling students to maintain uninterupted school and after-school activities during the initial days of home loss or home displacement. Individual student stays in the SafeNights program will be up to 5 nights, giving local case managers and school professionals time to intervene with families and/or arrange more lasting placement into host home or other intermediate-term placement alternatives.

Shelter services will be provided only in conjunction with assessments and referrals from case managers as part of the intake and admission process. All staff members (including volunteers serving under agreement with SafeNights) will be trained to provide services beneficial to shelter residents in a manner that is safe, respectful, responsive, culturally sensitive, and harm reductive.

Population to be Served:    SafeNights will target serving the sheltering and basic personal needs of students enrolled in participating local schools who are experiencing the initial days of home loss unaccompanied by parents or guardians and who meet all of the following profile descriptors:

  • Male and female students of all cultural, ethnic, and gender identifications between ages 13 and 17 who are enrolled in school districts served by SafeNights; and
  • who have current school attendance that falls within acceptability guidelines of respective districts; and
  • who have no school or public record of violence; and
  • who have no medical conditions and/or physical, mental or emotional disabilities that cannot be appropriately served within the capacities and capabilities of the shelter (e.g. SafeNights staff members will be trained to distribute prescription medications according to medical directions, but will not be trained to administer medications; and
  • who do not require secure services by authorities; and
  • whose parents have not refused to delegate parental authority for shelter stay; and
  • who are willing and able to abide within SafeNights’ operating rules for safety, mutual respect, school attendance, and other requirements as might be individually specified within residents’ case plans.

Facility Site Requirements:    SafeNights shelters will be set up in temporary fashion as needed within facilities operated by partnering faith communities.  Space within these facilities will be designated for use as temporary shelter sites for unaccompanied homeless minors.  Each shelter site (designated space inside a specified facility) must conform to state and municipal codes of safety and cleanliness for the normal operating purposes the facility serves for the church.

The following spaces will be needed for evening and/or nighttime commitment to shelter use for up to 5 nights on an on-demand basis:

  1. A Meals/Activity room or space with occupancy of 3+ that can accommodate meals, small group or individual activities, and studies.
  2. At least two Bathrooms, each with a sink, hot/cold water, and a toilet. SafeNights can transport youth to showers offsite if they are not available within the facility.
  3. Designated outdoor fresh air space near the exterior entry/exit of the shelter space, with appropriate lighting for safety.
  4. A small Private room for private meetings, admissions, and storage.
  5. A minimum of one and up to three individual Sleeping rooms (one per resident), each with minimum usable floor space of 80 square feet space and exterior windows with window coverings adequate for privacy.  Windows must provide egress, unless the facility is protected by a sprinkler system.
  6. An Open area (e.g. hallway or foyer) directly outside individual sleeping rooms.  This can be the same area as the space dedicated for Meals/Activities and must be large enough to accommodate modest nighttime furnishings for the Site Manager and adult volunteer(s) without encroaching within 20 inches of the egress directly outside sleeping room door clearances.  Egress areas must be at least 20 inches in unobstructed width and must extend to bathrooms and a designated fire exit.

From the hours of 6:00 pm through 7:30 am the following morning the Meals/Activities, Private, Outdoor, and Bathroom rooms and areas described above must be available.  From at least 9:00 pm through 7:30 the following morning, the Sleeping Rooms and Open area described above must be available.

SafeNights staff members will make all site preparations and bring all shelter furnishings, including beds, bedding, sleeping room security alerts, motion-sensing lighting for areas outside the sleeping rooms, storage units, and supplies.  These will be removed from the site before 8:00 am each day.


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