Shelter Mentorship

It is well established: we have a national deficit in housing and restorative care options for victims of sexual exploitation. Not only are there not enough shelters, but many shelters close within their first few years due to:

Staffing Issues

Financial Instability

Lack of Program


We can do something about these challenges.

The Institute for Shelter Care has developed a training and mentorship program for new and existing shelters, to increase their stability and effectiveness — so that ultimately, any survivor, anywhere, will have access to qualified, compassionate care.

Tier 1: Ministry Foundations

Tier 1 is designed to provide emerging shelters with the knowledge and tools needed to establish their organization on a firm foundation. This tier includes 2 one-week training intensives held at our campus in Louisville, KY, homework, and monthly check-ins. While in this tier, Mentees will build their operating infrastructure, raise funds, secure their property, and develop their policies. Ministry Foundations is a prerequisite for all start-up agencies and should be taken at least 18 months before the Shelter plans to open.

Intensive 1:
Mission Clarity, Program Definition and Goals, Board Composition, Governance, Ethics, Communication Strategy

Intensive 2:
Financial Management, Budgeting, Fundraising, Organizational Goals and Metrics, Staffing Strategy, Volunteer Engagement

Tier 2: Programs & Services

Tier 2 is designed to help you serve victims of exploitation well by equipping you with The Samaritan Women’s Triune Care Model. This tier includes 2 one-week training intensives held at our campus in Louisville, KY, homework, and monthly check-ins. Between each Intensive, you will define your client base, develop internal systems, design programming, produce internal documents, and begin to hire and train your team.

Intensive 3:
Victimology, Trauma-Informed Care, Safety, Suffering, Self-Management, Staff Care

Intensive 4:
Spirituality, Program Design, Assessments, Life Skills, Societal Engagement

Program Progression: Intensive 5
Referrals, Intake Process, Defining Your Service Set, Case Management, Client Data Management, Effective Transfers, Program Completion, Safe Exits


Program Progression includes a one-week training on-site at your location with Institute for Shelter Care Faculty. Your entire staff and key volunteers will be invited to this training.


If applying for Tier 1: Ministry Foundations, complete Part I of the application.

If applying for Tier 2: Program and Services, complete Part I and Part II of the application.

Applications for the Spring 2023 cohort are due February 1, 2023.
See the below FAQ for the full list of training dates.

Submit your completed application to Jeanne Allert, Executive Director.


As a Mentee, what will I receive?

In both tiers, you will receive:

  • Over 200 hours of in-person classroom instruction
  • Two seats for each on-site training at our location in Louisville, KY
  • Access to our online Learning Management System with a library of over 270 courses and resources
  • Monthly check-ins via web conferencing with Institute Mentors
  • Early access to our independent research findings
  • Dedicated webinars for Mentees and members of the National Leaders Forum
Am I Eligible?

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

  • Has valid 501(c)3 status with the Federal government
  • Has valid non-profit status in your home state
  • 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 (at least) its founding Board of Directors, Executive Director, and begun strategizing its shelter program
  • Has the flexibility and finances to permit agency representatives to be away from work/home during the week-long training intensives
  • Has completed the Institute for Shelter Care Discernment Guide

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.

    Are there scholarships?
    Institute for Shelter Care works to cultivate charitable support to offer institutional scholarships for our Mentees and wish for participation to come at little cost to them. While the Institute strives to provide scholarships in the highest amount, we cannot offer full scholarships. For information on tuition and scholarships available, please e-mail Jeanne Allert, Executive Director.

      What are the 2023 training dates and deadlines?

      Tier 1: Ministry Foundations Training Dates

      Fall Cohort 2023

      August 14 – 18 – Intensive 1September 18 – 22 – Intensive 2

      Application due June 1, 2023

      Tier 2: Program & Services Training Dates

      Spring Cohort 2023

      April 24 – 28 – Intensive 3
      May 15 – 19 – Intensive 4

      Based on agency opening date – Intensive 5

      Application due February 1, 2023

      Fall Cohort 2023

      October 23 – 27 – Intensive 3November 13 – 17  – Intensive 4Based on agency opening date – Intensive 5

      Application due June 1, 2023


        “When we discovered the Shelter Mentorship program, we were in the throes of navigating all the challenges they mention: staffing, programming, leadership, etc. Because of their support, we were able to retool our materials with the assurance that we are on the right track with not only what we provide for the women we serve but how we provide for them. Going through the training was the absolute best thing we did for the health of our program, staff, and services.”

        Micah Gamboa

        Executive Director, Elijah Rising

        “The Key2Free has had the distinct pleasure of participating in phenomenal training that has truly changed the landscape of our ministry.” She explained, “If I’m being completely honest, I expected a training similar to what we have participated in before, but what we received was so much more.”

        Amy Davis

        Co-Founder & Executive Director, The Key2Free

        The Institute for Shelter Care has already been around the corners that we cannot see around, which ensures we are prepared and ready for what we will find there. The trainings have proved to be invaluable, and the resource library is extensive. From job descriptions, social media best practices, forms, as well as specific study reports in our field, everything you need is there. The individual check-ins are a great way to evaluate how far you have come and prioritize next steps. I cannot say enough about the Shelter Mentorship Program. What may have taken 10 years to come to fruition, can now be realized far sooner.

        Dana Brown

        Co-Founder, Zoe Freedom Center

        Have a question?

        If you have any questions regarding our Shelter Mentorship Program, please contact Jeanne Allert at