Note that how big a homeless shelter should be will often depend on the demand for the services of homeless shelters in your location or area of choice.
You also need to take into account factors like the local homeless population, community resources, as well as the requisite support the shelter will get.
You need to reach out or collaborate with local agencies while carrying out your assessment to ensure that you will make the right decision. In this article, we want to look at the factors that can determine the size of your homeless shelter.
Factors to Consider When Thinking of How Big Your Homeless Shelter Should Be
1. Local Homeless Population
Take your time to understand the current and potential future homeless population in the area. You can leverage surveys or reach out to local agencies to ensure you have the right data.
2. Community Needs
Different communities will have different needs and you want your homeless shelter to meet the needs of your community. These needs will most often include demographics, family size, as well as any unique challenges they have to deal with.
3. Demand for Services
It is also important to understand the demand for homeless shelters and related services. Don’t also forget to take into account factors like weather conditions, and seasonal variations, coupled with the influx of individuals within a precise time of the year.
4. Available Resources
It is also important not to outdo yourself or put so much strain on your available resources. Ensure to understand the amount of financial and physical resources available, and this will most often encompass funding for staff, facilities, and ongoing operational costs.
5. Support Services
It is also recommended you take into account the range of support services you intend to provide to residents and those who have to deal with homelessness.
In the United States, this will most often include services like counseling, job placement assistance, and healthcare. Note that you will need your shelter to be big enough to accommodate these services and enhance the overall impact.
6. Regulatory Compliance
You would want your homeless shelter to be in line with all local zoning regulations, building codes, and safety standards especially when it has to do with the size and structure of the shelter.
7. Future Growth
When also considering how big your shelter should be, it is also important you consider your plans as well as your visions for the shelter.
Don’t also forget to take into account the potential growth in the homeless population and ensure you make the right plans accordingly to address future needs
What Size of Space is Needed for a Homeless Shelter?
There is no generally stipulated size for a homeless shelter in the United States. Most often, the size of your homeless shelter will depend on things like local demand, available resources, and the services offered.
Howbeit, you will want your shelter to have adequate space for sleeping accommodations, common areas, and support services. Nevertheless, things to help guide you will include;
1. Sleeping Areas
Take your time to understand the number of beds you intend to have in the homeless shelter. This decision will have to hinge on the estimated homeless population, while also taking into consideration any legal or safety requirements for spacing between beds.
2. Common Areas
Ensure that your shelter has enough space for communal areas where residents can gather, eat, and engage in social activities.
3. Support Services
You need to ensure that you have a dedicated space for counseling, healthcare services, job placement assistance, as well as other support services. Don’t forget that the size of these areas will also be dependent on the scope and scale of services you intend to provide.
Don’t also forget to consider space for personal belongings or storage lockers for residents, especially since it will ensure that they can adequately secure their possessions.
5. Administrative Areas
You need to have the right space for administrative offices for staff, coupled with enough space for meetings, record-keeping, and other operational needs.
6. Kitchen and Dining Facilities
If you intend to provide your residents with food or refreshments, then it is also important to have adequate space for food preparation and dining areas.
7. Restrooms and Shower Facilities
Make sure you have the right space for restroom and shower facilities, and don’t forget to take into account privacy and hygiene standards.
You want the facility to be appropriately accessible to individuals with disabilities, and you would also need to stay in line with relevant guidelines and regulations.
9. Outdoor Areas
It is important you create outdoor spaces for recreation or relaxation. Aside from the fact that it ensures that your residents can have fresh air, it helps to contribute towards the positive well-being of residents.
10. Emergency Preparedness
When looking for the right size for your shelter, you need to plan for additional space to accommodate the increase in demand during extreme weather conditions or emergencies.