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Families with Children

Families with Children: The Shelter System

Father smiling at daughter sitting next to him

What is expected of families in shelter?

DHS operates and maintains approximately 150 shelters for families with children-the majority of which are contracted through nonprofit social service providers. Once a family enters shelter, they have certain responsibilities that they must meet, including obtaining and maintaining employment for all those who are able to work.

With the assistance of their caseworkers, families will develop an Independent Living Plan (ILP), a document that outlines relevant goals to exit shelter and return to self-sufficiency. Now, more than ever, employment-focused programs and work supports remain a cornerstone of DHS' efforts to help clients move back to permanency. Through DHS' policy of Client Responsibility, families in shelter must actively participate in this process and take strides toward independent living.

Expectations for Families with Children in Shelter:

  • Cooperate in carrying out, developing and completing their ILP, which includes steps toward obtaining permanent housing
  • Applying for Public Assistance (PA) and completing all requirements necessary for establishing and maintaining eligibility for PA benefits
  • If able to work, actively seeking employment and accepting a suitable job offer when it is offered
  • Working closely with their caseworker or housing specialist to locate and view available apartments
  • Actively seeking permanent housing by viewing available apartments several times per week