Safely Doubled-Up Families

Our coordinated homeless response system seeks to divert to housing solutions families facing a housing crisis before we consider admitting them to shelter. Our priority is to reserve emergency shelter for families facing literal homelessness, who have no housing options. This involves helping families to preserve their current housing situation or assisting them to make alternative housing arrangements. Doubling-up with friends, family, or other non-relatives, is often economical, culturally appropriate and realistic. Not all doubled-up arrangements are safe for individuals, especially children.

When helping people to reside in a doubled up situation it is important to help them assess the home’s safety for their child(ren) and/or offer suggestions that could help improve the safety of a doubled-up household. The family or individual must make their own decision, but these “pointers” can guide your conversation to help them evaluate the safety of their doubled-up situation.

Things to Consider (non-exclusive):

  • Are the heat, lights, running water, and plumbing all working reliably?
  • Are there any problems with rodents, bugs, animal(s) or any other pests?
  • Does anyone in this household physically hurt or threaten you, your child(ren), or anyone in the home?
  • Is there drug or alcohol use or sales in the home that could hurt you or your child(ren)?
  • Can the parent decide who has access to their child(ren)?
  • Is there anything you need to do in order to stay in this home that makes you uncomfortable? Are there any “strings” attached to living there? 

Always Ask:

“Do you have any other safety concerns?”
(This may identify other concerns that were missed earlier in the interview, or that the respondent was not ready to reveal earlier.)

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