Inclusive emergency shelters

DEFINITION: Inclusive emergency shelters are designated spaces that provide temporary accommodation and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or displaced by natural disasters, while ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all.


1. What does it mean for an emergency shelter to be “inclusive”?
An inclusive emergency shelter means that it is designed and operated in a way that promotes equal access, respect, and dignity for all individuals. It eliminates barriers and accommodates the needs of diverse populations, including people with disabilities, seniors, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others.

2. How are inclusive emergency shelters different from regular emergency shelters?
Regular emergency shelters may not always take into consideration the specific needs and challenges faced by marginalized or vulnerable populations. Inclusive emergency shelters prioritize accessibility, cultural competency, and sensitivity training for staff to ensure all individuals can access and benefit from the provided services.

3. What kind of support services are offered in inclusive emergency shelters?
Inclusive emergency shelters provide a range of support services, including meals, hygiene facilities, medical assistance, case management, mental health counseling, legal aid, and assistance with securing permanent housing. The specific services vary depending on the shelter’s resources and partnerships with local organizations.

4. Are there any requirements or eligibility criteria for accessing inclusive emergency shelters?
While eligibility criteria can vary between different shelters, inclusive emergency shelters typically prioritize serving individuals experiencing homelessness or those displaced by natural disasters. However, shelters strive to be as inclusive as possible, so they generally do not discriminate based on age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or immigration status.

5. How can communities support the establishment of inclusive emergency shelters?
Communities can support the establishment of inclusive emergency shelters by advocating for policies and funding that prioritize inclusivity and accessibility. They can also engage in volunteer efforts, donate resources like clothing or food, and collaborate with local organizations to provide additional support services within the shelters.