Shelter Mentoring Program Overview 


 Understanding the Need

It’s been well-established:  we have a national deficient in housing options for victims of sexual exploitation.  To date our team has been able to identify 102 active shelter programs across the nation, with an average of 6 beds per agency, or a total of 800+/- beds available.  At the same time, the projections on the number of victims ranges from 100-300,000. As of October 2019, we’ve identified 13 states with no dedicated trafficking shelter, and 10 states that have only one shelter specific to trafficking victims.  

At the same time, too many start-up agencies fail in the first year. We’ve come to understand that where most agencies struggle is in having a solid foundation, qualified teams, spiritual fortitude, and effective business operations.  Therefore, The Samaritan Women – Institute for Shelter Care has developed a 3-year shelter planting and mentorship model to help establish new shelter programs and equip them for stability and effectiveness.

Program Overview

Our Shelter Mentoring Program is a multiphase program lasting from 36 to 48 months, constituting a committed relationship between a Start-up agency (the “Mentee”) and the Institute. Our shared goal is to see the launch of a successful shelter program in its location, catering to the unique demographic, cultural, and victimization factors for that area.

This is one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the nation, and as such comes at a cost of $76,000 – $80,000 per agency to complete this 3+ year program.  If you or someone you know is interested in investing in the success of this program and these start-up shelters through a financial gift, please visit our Ways to Give page.

The Mentoring Program walks each shelter through three phases as they prepare to open its shelter program:  

Training Phase

The Training Phase is designed to give each start-up agency the knowledge and tools to establish their organization and program outline on the firmest foundation possible.

Leaders from each start-up work through a training curriculum including 4 or 5 week-long intensives held at our campus in Baltimore, and augmented with webinars, homework, and weekly check-ins. The training phase is 8 months (March – October) and includes topics such as mission clarity, program definition, governance, compliance, ethics, financial management, fund-raising, facility selection, security, staffing strategy, victimology, trauma-informed care, program design, intake and exit procedures, case management, client reporting, volunteer management, crisis communications, and more.

While in the training phase, Mentees are to be building their operating infrastructure, raising funds, securing their property, and developing their program and policies.

Participating agencies looking to create a Long-term Restorative Care Program, which goes above and beyond the stabilization components of shelters, will be required to attend a fifth intensive session and accompanying lessons and assignments. This intensive will cover such topics as academic, vocational and social enterprise, shifts in agency, and social re-entry components of a program.


  • 180 hours of instruction at our Baltimore location
  • Weekly check-ins via web conferencing
  • Access to our library of template policies, procedures, schedules, and client management information
  • 10 hours of webinar training in shelter topics
  • Personalized consulting on mission, fund-raising, staffing, communications, and program design
  • Access to our Library of supplemental videos and podcasts
  • 1 site visit by our staff to your location or prospective location
  • Early access to our independent research findings
  • Registration for 2 persons to SHELTERED CONFERENCE at the completion of the training phase

The 2020 cohort will meet four to five times this year.  You can view the projected dates for the five Intensives below, or visit the Admissions page for more information.

Intensive 1: Mission and Leadership June 15th – 19th
Intensive 2: Asset Management August 3rd – 7th
Intensive 3:  Program Design – Stabilization September 14th – 18th
Intensive 4:  Services and Service Partners October 26th – 30th
Intensive 5 (Optional): Program Design – Resotrative December 7th – 11th
Launch Phase

The Launch phase is designed to walk the start-up shelter from theory into practice.   Pending a review of the organization’s progress and operational readiness, we commence consulting and training services through the shelter’s opening and first year of service.  We offer phone, email, and video-based support and continue to disseminate training via webinars and videos.  Mentees report their progress to the Institute so we can track impact and build up a body of research upon which to better understand shelter work.

Mentees may work at their own pace in preparing to open their facility, however they must show evident progress and stability in order to begin the Launch Phase.  Our shelter mentors will work with the Mentee Organization through the Launch Phase On-Ramp process as you approach your identified open date.  For more information, contact Calvin Fanning, Director of Shelter Mentoring,


  • Up to 200 hours of personalized consulting support
  • 45 hours of instruction at our Baltimore location in advanced topics
  • 1 site visit to Mentee location for staff training
  • 6 hours of webinar training in shelter topics
  • Access to our library of supplemental videos and podcasts
  • Data and outcome reviews by our faculty and research staff
  • Early access to our independent research findings
Release Phase

After one year of putting theory into practice, mentees will have learned more about their program, their staff, their clients, and the community in which they work.  Understanding that, the Institute will continue to mentor the start-up agency through it’s second year of operations in what we call the Release Phase, by the end of which the agency will be set for longevity and the best chance for success.

 Consulting services will continue via phone, email, and video-based support, and Mentees have access to the Institute’s full library of webinars and podcasts.  Mentees continue to share outcomes as part of a national research effort.


  • Up to 200 hours of personalized consulting support
  • 6 hours of webinar training in shelter topics
  • Library of supplemental videos and podcasts
  • Data and outcome reviews by our faculty and research staff
  • Early access to our independent research findings