What is the Shelter Like?
CADA's shelter is like a dorm. There are common areas shared by all residents, such as the kitchen, living room, children's play room and laundry room. In many shelters, you will share a bedroom with other residents. You will have a bunk-bed as well as a dresser or closet area for your family to store clothing and a few bags of personal belongings. Most shelters do not have storage space but they do have playground areas, off-street parking and laundry facilities.
Does it Cost Anything to Stay at a Shelter?
Staying at a shelter is free. There are some shelters that require that you participate in upkeep of the common areas, so cleaning chores may be assigned. You will also be asked to keep your room clean and neat.
What Kind of Rules Do Shelters Have?
Shelters have rules (often called policies or guidelines) meant to help assure your shelter experience is safe and educational and that all residents are treated with respect and cultural sensitivity. For example, you will be required to refrain from drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are a shelter resident. Child abuse is not allowed in shelter, including verbal abuse of children and physical discipline, such as spanking. You may attend support groups, where you will have a chance to talk about domestic violence, parenting (if you have children at shelter), and the concerns you have about staying shelter.
How Do I Get Into a Shelter?
The first step is to call and speak with a staff person about why you need shelter. The shelter staff will ask how many children you have with you and they will tell you if they have sapce available. If there is space, a staff person will complete a phone assessment with you. The phone call may take from 15 to 45 minutes. The purpose of the assessment is to decide if the shelter will be a safe place for your family, to share with you some guidelines of the program and to discuss how you will get to the shelter (car, bus, walk, etc.) Some of the questions may seem very personal to you and others may seem unnecessary. It is important that you answer these questions honestly.
What Will I Need to Take With Me?
Take social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children. You will also need any insurance cards or information. If possible, take items of sentimental or monetary value, enough clothing for at least a week, diapers, and personal hygiene supplies. Shelters usually can provide highchairs, car seats, cribs, linens and bedding for you to use while staying at shelter. If you are unable to take clothing, diapers and personal hygiene supplies with you when you leave and do not have the resources to buy these items, you can expect that the shelter will be able to provide you these supplies for the first few days you are in shelter. You will be given referrals to programs that can help you get these supplies during the rest of your stay.