This is a 180-minute session, split into two parts.
Shelter programs can be complex and challenging, however, they can also be vibrant communities full of celebration, transformation and joy! We will share our program's journey from reducing rules, to Rights and Responsibilities, to creating the Village Model and all the challenges, lessons, missteps and fun along the way. This workshop will explore innovative approaches to reducing barriers for survivors and creating more diverse communities in our emergency shelters, including specific strategies to center diversity and equity and what evaluation has shown about these practices. We'll also offer practical tips for implementing survivor-centered, trauma-informed and inclusive practices into our shelter programs and facilities and how small changes can bring big impact. Just like participants, supporting our shelter staff is also central to the success of any shelter program! Drawing from the experience we all bring to the discussion, this workshop will explore strategies for capturing the unique strengths of both staff and survivors in shelters and how we can create environments that allow us all to bring our best. We'll offer practical staffing structures and servant leadership practices that support staff in implementing these innovative shelter practices and your own ideas. . .reimagining together all that our shelter communities can become.
Our aim would be for attendees to explore the possibilities of shelters to be transformative, diverse communities, full of celebration and joy. By learning the value of a 'no-rules' model and the necessity of centering equity and inclusion in screening, services, and outcomes for our shelters, we aim to give attendees a vision for shelters that moves beyond the crisis or challenges of shelter and reframes our work with survivors. We will discuss the building blocks of a ‘no-rules' model, common pitfalls and backslides and how to avoid them, share proven strategies to advance and center equity and inclusion in our shelters, and discuss ways small changes to our facilities can have a big impact. We will also discuss staff structures, communication tips, and servant leadership practices that support shelter staff and agency leadership in making these transitions in their programs and working within models more centered on relationships and community building. Programs will be able to pick and choose to implement the strategies that fit with their programs and facilities as well as bring home tips to engage the rest of their staff in doing brainstorming and envisioning to create their own innovative practices.