Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Shelter Services (CA-SH) 6: Program Facilities

Program facilities provide a physically and psychologically safe, clean, and non-institutional environment.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: SHELTER SERVICES (CA-SH)



Shelter Services meet the basic needs of individuals and families who are homeless or in transition, support family stabilization or independent living, and facilitate access to services and permanent housing.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
No Self-Study Evidence
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Observe facility and outdoor area/grounds


CA-SH 6.01

Accommodations for service recipients include:
  1. single rooms, rooms for two to four individuals, rooms for families with children, or accommodations for larger groups, if appropriate;
  2. adequately and attractively furnished rooms with a separate bed for each resident, including a clean, comfortable, covered mattress, pillow, sufficient linens, and blankets;
  3. safe, private bathroom and shower facilities;
  4. a non-stacking crib for each infant and toddler that is 24 months or younger that meets safety guidelines, as applicable; and
  5. a safe place, such as a locker, to keep personal belongings and valuables.


If the physical housing structure prevents the provision of private rooms, basic emergency shelters, and enhanced emergency shelters may place service recipients in open plan, dormitory-style rooms.


Safe and private bathroom and shower facilities may be separate rooms or stalls with locks. In programs serving families with young children, bathrooms must be appropriate and safe for the care of infants and toddlers (e.g., providing tubs and baby changing areas).
Examples: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides standards to ensure safety for full-size and non-full size cribs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that cribs are used by children under 90 centimeters (35 inches) tall.
Note: Please see the Facility Observation Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.


CA-SH 6.02

Programs provide:
  1. sufficient supplies and equipment to meet service recipients’ needs;
  2. rooms for the provision of on-site services, as applicable;
  3. accommodations for informal gatherings of service recipients, including during inclement weather;
  4. adequate facilities for housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, storage, and administrative support functions;
  5. at least one room suitably furnished for the use of on-duty personnel; and
  6. private sleeping accommodations for personnel who sleep at the facility, if applicable.
Note: Please see the Facility Observation Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.