This article will guide you in writing an emergency shelter business plan.

Emergency shelters provide a vital service to the homeless. Though these types of shelters offer minimal supportive services, people are helped to get some semblance of normal life within a reasonable space of time.

If you’re interested in starting a profitable emergency shelter, this business plan should be of significant help.

Setting up an emergency shelter can be quite tricky without the necessary guidance or plan. This is because there’s an absence of a framework with which to launch your business. However, this doesn’t need to be so.

Here, we provide you with the help you need to succeed.

Finding Out the Shelter Needs of Your Community

One of the most important steps to take in a bid to start your emergency shelter service has to do with identifying the needs of your community. By this, we mean the shelter needs of your community. Every community has shelter issues.

Without a doubt, most of these communities have emergency shelters. However, you need to find out which area within such communities requires additional shelters.

By doing this, you’re positioning your business to meet a ready demand.

Emergency Shelter Business Plan Sample

This is the most important tool for your business operations. Your emergency shelter business plan is not only important at the initial stages of the business but stays relevant throughout its existence.

Your business plan has several uses, part of which includes equity funding and bank finance.

Other uses of an emergency shelter business plan include recruitment, to explain the business, and more importantly to strategize on how the business will be unveiled or launched.

So, how do you begin writing one? You’ll need to follow a definite procedure.

Here, certain sections must be included. Each of these sections discusses an important aspect of your emergency shelter business. By providing the needed information, you should end up having a comprehensive plan of action.

Important sections include the executive summary section, your business description, market analysis, competitive analysis, description of management and organization, and details of the types of emergency shelter services to be offered.

Others include a marketing plan, your sales strategy, a request for funding, and financial projections. By developing each of these sections, you should come up with a comprehensive plan. This is turn enhances your chances of success.

Definite information needs to be provided in your plan. Such specifics should include discussions on whether your shelter will offer extended stays or temporary shelter. Will food be available? Will there be counseling and medical care services?

How far are you willing to go to make people’s lives better? In other words, will there be a job or housing placement or both? All these are vital to the planning process and must be fully discussed.

Consider your Skills and Areas of Expertise

As part of the planning process for starting an emergency shelter, it’s important to first consider what skills you have or your area of expertise. This allows you to better assess what you can offer.

Human resource skills are among the most relevant in this area of business.

Identify Your Sources of Funding

Emergency shelters without a doubt need reliable financing sources.

These are important as they provide a lifeline for the actualization of this important societal need. Three groups offer funding opportunities for emergency shelters.

These include private groups, the state, and federal governments.

Such sources of funding are basically in the form of grants. State governments for instance have a variety of funding arrangements for emergency shelters. Some of these are in the form of appropriations for homeless housing projects as well as bond funds.

The federal government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers critical funding to emergency shelter businesses. This is done through HUD’s Emergency Shelter Grant Program.

Here, funding is provided to states on a needs basis.

Private groups aren’t left out of grant provision for running emergency shelters. There are several of these across different states. A little digging of information should bring up tons of relevant details.

Have a Budget

When it comes to planning for your emergency shelter business, working out your budget is a necessity.

There are many benefits attached to having one. These include helping you figure out your long-term goals, keep track of your progress, and ultimately save money.

Additional benefits of having a budget include ensuring you don’t spend money you don’t have.  Most importantly your budget equips you for emergencies that may arise in the course of your operations.

In drafting a budget for your emergency shelter business, you’ll need to consider multiple factors such as expenses for remodeling, monthly operating costs, staff wages as well as expenses for repairs.

The cost of supplies must also be put into consideration in the course of budget planning.


An emergency shelter must be registered to be considered legitimate. Every state has its unique registration requirements for emergency shelter businesses. To register your business, you’ll need to obtain permits and licenses.

These are issued by the small business administration.

Additional requirements (not uniform across states) may include filing articles of incorporation. Now, certain emergency shelter businesses operate as nonprofits while others do not. Filing articles of incorporation applies to both types (nonprofits and for-profit emergency shelter businesses).

As a nonprofit emergency shelter business, you’re expected to appoint three board members. Certain states may not have this requirement though.

Spreading Word About Your Business

To successfully launch your emergency shelter operations, you’ll need to spread the word about it. One of the ways to go about this involves discussing with your local shelter authority about your emergency shelter.

The purpose is to have them list your business or service on their website as well as in informational bulletins within the community. This creates enhanced awareness about the services you offer.

This emergency shelter business plan guide has highlighted the important aspects of planning for the launch of your business. Here, we’ve seen that emergency shelters offer an essential service to communities especially those with inadequate housing provisions.

Making your business idea a reality depends on how well you strategize for it. Hopefully, the information provided here should serve your purposes.

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