Shelter Mentorship Program

Understanding the Need

It’s been well-established:  we have a national deficient in housing options for victims of sexual exploitation.  To date our team has been able to identify 144 active shelter programs across the nation, with an average of 6 beds per agency, or a total of 800+/- beds available.  At the same time, the projections on the number of victims ranges from 100-300,000. As of October 2018, we’ve identified 17 states with no dedicated trafficking shelter, and 9 states that have only one shelter specific to trafficking victims.  

At the same time, too many start-up agencies fail in the first year. We’ve come to understand that where most agencies struggle is in having a solid foundation, qualified teams, spiritual fortitude, and effective business operations.  Therefore, The Samaritan Women – Institute for Shelter Care has developed a 3-year shelter planting and mentorship model to help establish new shelter programs and equip them for stability and effectiveness.

What is the Program?

Our Shelter Mentorship Program is a 3-year commitment between a Start-up agency (the “Mentee”) and the Institute. Our shared goal is to see the launch of a successful shelter program in its location, catering to the unique demographic, cultural, and victimization factors for that area. Our relationship is divided into three phases:   

Training Phase: Leaders from each start-up work through a training curriculum including 4 or 5 week-long intensives held at our campus in Baltimore, and augmented with webinars, homework, and weekly check-ins.  The training phase is 8 months (March – August) and includes topics such as mission clarity, program definition, governance, compliance, ethics, financial management, fund-raising, facility selection, security, staffing strategy, victimology, trauma-informed care, program design, intake and exit procedures, case management, client reporting, volunteer management, and crisis communications, and more.  While in the training phase, Mentees are to be building their operating infrastructure, raising funds, securing their property and developing their program and policies.

Launch Phase: We continue with the Mentees as they open their shelter program, knowing that the first two years are often the most overwhelming.  We offer phone/email/video-based support and continue to disseminate training via webinars.  Mentees report their progress to the Institute so we can track impact and build up a body of research upon which to better understand shelter work.

Release Phase : Phone/email/video-based support continues, and Mentees have access to the Institute’s full library of webinars and podcasts.  Mentees continue to share outcomes as part of a national research effort.

Instructional faculty and mentors include mature shelter operators from across the country as well as specific experts: ( Shelters that participate in this mentoring program will have achieved Minimum Standards established by the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance, the first step toward shelter accreditation.

Who is Eligible?

The ideal candidate for the Shelter Mentorship Program is a non-profit agency that:

  • Has valid 501(c)3 status
  • Has demonstrated a commitment to anti-trafficking work
  • Has some experience interacting with survivors, either through outreach, drop-in or working alongside another agency
  • Has identified its leadership team, founding Board of Directors and begun strategizing
  • Is ready to move into a deeper level of service through residential care

The candidate agency does not need to have secured its residential property – in fact, you might change your thinking about the property you need based on the training.  

What is the Timeline?

The Institute is preparing to graduate its 2019 cohort, four start-up agencies from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Iowa. These new programs will be recognized at the SHELTERED Conference in March 2020. We will begin accepting applications for the 2020 Cohort in October 2019. Please email Calvin Fanning ( if you would like to be on that announcement.

What is the Cost?

There is a significant investment of time and funds that go into a program of this depth, averaging $76,000 per agency over the three years of training and mentorship. Candidate Mentees will be expected to meet some level of financial investment in the program; however, our goal is to seek grants and charitable funding to offer scholarships for agencies with financial need.

For more information about the Shelter Mentoring Program, contact Calvin Fanning