The answer to the above question will depend on so many variables, but according to industry reports, homeless shelters spend about $9,000 – $10,000 per person, per year, to provide a good and conducive resting environment.

$10,000 per year works out to around $27.40 per day, and when this is compared to the cost of food, estimated to be around $1.50/meal/person, then that’s another $4.50 per day = $31.90 per person/day. Also note that this could be double to cover miscellaneous costs for toiletries, bedding, water and electricity, and wages for non-volunteer shelter employees, ending at around $60/day/person.

Indeed, it is costing more to be homeless these days. Across North America, rescue shelters that were once free to homeless people have started charging fees to stay. For instance: The Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles now charges around $7 for an overnight stay.

In Hawaii, the Institute for Human Services take about $90 a month to house families. In New York City, shelter residents are expected to maintain a special “savings account,” which they add to each night they stay. They can eventually withdraw the money, but only after they move out.

Since most homeless shelters are funded by private donations and money from the city, and with city budgets being cut, many shelters have been forced to start charging fees. Some experts in the industry believe the fees are indeed a good thing, especially since they force homeless people to take more responsibility for their lives, and prepare them to join the mainstream world again.

On the flip side, some experts say homeless shelters are meant to be a “safety-net,” especially since they’re the last resort some people have before sleeping on the sidewalk! These experts believe that if Shelters start charging people for a place to stay, they will cut into the little money these individuals have left to spend on other things – like food.

A homeless shelter is a place known to provide more than the basic needs of homeless individuals. For as long as we can remember, these institutions have stood as a beacon of hope and strength for homeless people to believe in themselves that they can change their lives for the better.

Factors That Will Influence The Cost Of Shelters Housing a Homeless Person For 1 Night

  1. Location

Clearly, one of the factors that will influence the cost of catering to homeless people is the location of the shelter. Where a shelter is located has an enormous effect on the cost of running the shelter, the cost of labour, and also how much residents are willing to pay. If you decide to build a homeless shelter in high end cities like New York, you would attract a bigger fee. For a homeless shelter in Dallas, expect to be at the lower end of the scale.

  1. Items Provided

A large majority of shelters are specific for women and children; there is an even greater challenge to identify shelters that men can access. Irrespective of gender, the items that many shelters need are: Bottled water, new underwear and socks, gift cards from chain stores for shoes, personal grooming products such as deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, tissues, toilet paper, feminine hygiene, travel size soap and shampoo, baby wipes, sleeping bags and reading glasses.

At the top of the needs list for shelters are: toiletries, portable privacy screens, twin bed sheets, towels, and new socks. All these cost money and the services and amenities a Shelter offers will reflect in the fees it charges resident.

  1. Quality of Services

The homeless shelter organization usually sets up a feeding program on a regular basis, wherein they support a certain community, particularly the elderly and abandoned children. They also encourage children from well-to-do families to take part in such programs to enrich their minds with a positive attitude and to nurture compassion to help the less fortunate.

Also have it in mind that Homeless shelter residents are also often sick, most notably because of poor hygiene. With the help of homeless shelters, homeless individuals are provided basic necessities and taught on how to take care of themselves. Those with medical conditions are given proper care and medication with the help of hospital sponsors and health professionals, and all these will reflect in how much the shelter charges for these services.

  1. Number of Employees

Note that the number of employees needed in a shelter will also affect the start-up cost and running requirements of the shelter, and it will in turn affect the cost of catering to residents. Most shelters have multiple employees. Larger operations may include a manager, attendants, a receptionist, and possibly additional service providers such as a nurse or a cook. While smaller shelters may have just a few attendants. Most shelters offer 24-hour supervision, so the facility must be adequately staffed to provide this continual coverage.

Solomon. O'Chucks
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