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How to start a homeless shelter with government funds

Updated February 21, 2017

Budgetary concerns have reduced public and private funding for shelters. Research and perseverance can help uncover government funding from all levels of government that will make a homeless shelter available to needy families and individuals.

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  1. Research the health laws and regulations that pertain to opening and running a homeless shelter. Each state's Department of Health will have posted (on the Internet) its legislation that relates to operating an institution. To receive government funds, show proof that the shelter will be able to meet the pertinent health regulations.

  2. Decide which population the shelter will serve. Different grants relate to different populations. Some funding is specifically for emergency shelters that provide shelter for short periods of time. There are shelters for families as well as shelters for women and children. Knowing what population the shelter will serve will allow the grant applications to be directed properly.

  3. Research the Department Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) website (see References below) to determine if the planned shelter will fall under one of the available HUD grants.

  4. Examine the state's Department of Human/Social Services (DHS) website to determine if any of its grants will be available for the shelter. States do offer funding for shelters. Each state will have its funding options listed on its DHS website

  5. Look at the local municipality website to see what grants are available through City Hall. Many municipalities offer funding for homeless shelters. Some HUD funding comes through the state or municipal governments.

  6. Research the Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) website to see what services the homeless shelter may offer that will be covered by a HHS grant. HHS funding can be applied to a number of services, including substance abuse and mental health counselling.

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About the Author

Laurie Rappeport is a writer and blogger with more than 10 years of experience. Her areas of expertise are in education, child development, travel, pets, nutrition and health for Demand Studios and a major travel website. Rappeport holds a Master of Arts degree from Wayne State University.

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