Shelter Mentorship Program

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 134 agencies across the nation, with an average of 6 beds per agency, or a total of 800+/- beds available to serve over 100,000 victims.  As of October 2018, we’ve identified 17 states with no provision for shelter care, 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 are in having a solid foundation, qualified teams, spiritual fortitude, and effective business operations.  Therefore, The Samaritan Women Institute for Shelter Care is currently developing a 2-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 Mentoring Program is designed to be a 2-year commitment, an agreement between a Start-up agency and the Institute to work together with the shared goal of building a solid business foundation, training leadership and staff, creating necessary policies and practices, and getting their shelter ready to launch.

Our faculty and consultants for this program include mature shelter operators selected from the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance, as well as national experts in issues such as Legal Compliance, Governance, Fund-raising Stewardship, and Volunteer Management.

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
  • Has some experience interacting with survivors, either through outreach, drop-in or working alongside another agency
  • Has identified its leadership team and begun strategizing
  • Is ready to move into a deeper level of engagement through residential services

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.  

How is the Program Designed?

Year 1 of the model focuses on building a solid foundation of unified leadership, good business practice, and responsive ministry. Working through our mentoring framework (left to right), Mentee agencies are guided through establishing mission clarity, strength of leadership, governance guidelines, and key operating policies.

During the Provision phase, we are focusing on principles of good stewardship for a shelter’s most important assets: its people, finances, and property.


The Program and Partners phases are where we get into the nuts and bolts of who your particular shelter program is going to serve, what services you will offer, what relationships you need, and how to establish and maintain good external communications.

Mentee agencies will be expected to attend four week-long on-site Intensives for training held in Baltimore, MD. In between those Intensives is a detailed curriculum of webinars, readings, and tasks to be completed at your local level, so that your shelter program is ready to move into the next phase.

Year 1 culminates with attendance at the annual SHELTERED Conference where the prior year’s cohort is recognized and the next year’s cohort is announced.

Year 2 of the program assumes that the shelter has opened and is actively serving clients. During this year the Institute continues to offer training for your leadership and staff, and is available for coaching and questions as they arise.

What is the Timeline?

The Institute will be piloting the program with four start-up agencies from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Iowa. The pilot will run March through August 2019.

We will begin accepting applications for the 2020 Cohort in December 2019 and will announce the agencies that have been selected at the 2020 SHELTERED Conference in March 2020.

What is the Cost?

There is a significant investment of time and funds that go into a program of this depth. We plan to equip your agency with a wealth of tools and proven practices that will save you thousands of dollars and hours in the years ahead.

Candidate Start-up programs will be expected to meet some level of financial investment in the program; however, our goal is to seek grant and charitable funding to off-set a significant portion of those costs.

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