Interfaith Shelter Network Rotational Shelter Program

Rotational Shelter Program

Rotational Shelter Program

This is a seasonal emergency shelter program that takes in men, women and families with children. For the past 35 years, guests have been sheltered for up to eight weeks at temporary shelters on the grounds of local congregations. They receive case-managed shelter, meals, showers, access to laundry facilities, transportation assistance and budgeting and job search workshops.

Need Help?

Contact the ISN office at 619-702-5399

Imagine… You are 71 years old, on disability and physically challenged, and you and your grandson have been evicted from your home of 13 years.

Ruth, a soft-spoken grandmother still can’t believe it happened. After sleeping in her car for four months, the family was accepted into ISN’s Rotational Shelter Program. “Rents are so high in San Diego, especially for seniors. I just keep looking and I know we’ll find something. I’m just grateful to have a warm place to sleep and three meals a day while we look.”

Housing affordability is a problem for many; 50% of San Diegans can’t find market-rate rental housing they can afford, and 60% cannot afford to buy a home, according to the San Diego Housing Commission. The wait list for affordable housing is eight years or longer, as is the list for the Section 8 housing assistance program. You can help people like Ruth. Donate today.

Ruth sitting in a chair in her home smiling

What makes us different

The Rotational Shelter program is unique in San Diego County in that it involves over 120 congregations of all denominations county-wide to deliver services. About 70 of the congregations host the program in their facilities for two or four weeks a year and the remainder serve in a valuable support role, providing volunteers for meals and overnight hosting, transportation and donations.This is a practical, manageable way to serve for both host and support congregations.

Through neighborhood congregations linking with others, people are sheltered where there are no shelters and receive the understanding and support of congregations when previously all they knew was fear and uncertainty. Congregations and guests benefit from personal interactions and the mutual sharing of stories.

Case management is the key to success for our guests. Applicants are screened by an area social service agency to assure there will be no active drug, alcohol or mental health problems before being referred to the program. Guests must also be willing to work closely with their case manager to seek solutions to the issues leading to their homelessness.

Congregations host the program for two weeks at a time, usually once, but depending on their schedule twice a year or more. The volunteer and meal support they receive from neighboring congregations is invaluable. Only 12 guests at a time generally stay in the congregation facilities. At the end of two weeks, the whole operation — cots and guests — rotates to another area congregation. Guests can stay up to eight weeks in the Network. The average stay is just under six (6) weeks until the individual or family moves toward independence.

Demographic data

As part of our collaboration with local governments, ISN is required to gather demographic data from those we assist in the shelter program and upload it to a database managed by San Diego’s Regional Task Force on Homelessness. As such, ISN has adopted RTFH’s HMIS Policies and Procedures regarding Privacy and Security Measures, which are posted on their web site here at the San Diego’s Regional Task Force on Homelessness website privacy notice section.