Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Shelter Services (PA-SH) 8: Supportive Services

An array of supportive services are provided, directly or by referral, that help service recipients obtain housing and plan for reintegration into community life.
NA The agency does not provide enhanced emergency shelters, transitional housing, or shelters for runaway and homeless children and youth, children and youth in foster care, or unaccompanied children without legal status.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: SHELTER SERVICES (PA-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.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for referring individuals to services
  • Table of contents of educational/skills training curricula
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Informational materials provided to service recipients
  • Educational/skills training curricula
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records


PA-SH 8.01

The agency provides case management and other services that are tailored to the needs and preferences of individual service recipients.


To assist youth who identify as LGBTQ with appropriate referrals, programs should maintain a list of community centers, medical and behavioral health clinics, and other service providers that are known to be affirming and competent in serving this population.


PA-SH 8.02

Housing support includes:
  1. information about available community housing options;
  2. assistance obtaining a safe, stable living environment, including housing search support;
  3. assistance applying for rental subsidies or other financial aid programs; and
  4. education on tenant rights and responsibilities.
NA The service population is limited to children and youth for whom living independently is not an alternative.


PA-SH 8.03

Skills training that promotes independence and/or housing stability includes:
  1. activities of daily living;
  2. household management;
  3. budgeting and money management;
  4. credit and debt counseling;
  5. the use of community resources;
  6. information about mainstream benefits and employment; and
  7. interpersonal communication, such as conflict avoidance or resolution.
NA The service population is limited to children and youth for whom living independently is not an alternative.

Fundamental Practice

PA-SH 8.04

Health services include, as needed:
  1. routine medical and dental care, including medical and dental assessments for children and youth that are conducted in accordance with well-child guidelines, as applicable;
  2. clinical services, including substance use and mental health services;
  3. medication management and/or monitoring;
  4. medical respite care services;
  5. developmentally appropriate information regarding topics including pregnancy prevention, family planning, safe and healthy relationships, and prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases; and
  6. harm reduction that aims to prevent behaviors that can have negative outcomes and/or reduce the negative outcomes associated with the behavior.


When an agency does not provide linkages to family planning services because doing so is counter to its mission or beliefs, the agency should disclose this fact to service recipients and provide individuals with a list of other community providers that offer pregnancy support and education services.


Transgender service recipients may need assistance accessing specialized medical services and should be referred to appropriate providers in the community, as needed.
Examples: Regarding element (f), interventions and goals may vary depending on the behavior that is targeted and the population served, for example preventing pregnancy among youth or reducing harm from continued substance use among adults.

Fundamental Practice

PA-SH 8.05

Pregnant service recipients are provided or linked with specialized services that include, as appropriate: 
  1. pregnancy counseling;
  2. prenatal health care;
  3. genetic risk identification and counseling services;
  4. fetal alcohol syndrome screening;
  5. labor and delivery services;
  6. postpartum care;
  7. mental health care, including information, screening, and treatment for prenatal and postpartum depression;
  8. pediatric health care, including well-baby visits and immunizations;
  9. peer counseling services; and
  10. children’s health insurance programs.


Young service recipients may need more intensive services that are developmentally appropriate for adolescence and early adulthood.
NA The agency does not serve pregnant service recipients.


PA-SH 8.06

Pregnant and parenting service recipients are helped to develop skills and knowledge related to: 
  1. basic caregiving routines;
  2. child growth and development;
  3. meeting children’s social, emotional, and physical health needs;
  4. environmental safety and injury prevention;
  5. parent-child interactions and bonding;
  6. age-appropriate behavioral expectations and appropriate discipline; 
  7. family planning; and 
  8. establishing a functioning support network of family members or caring adults.


When an agency does not provide linkages to family planning services because doing so is counter to its mission or beliefs, the agency should disclose this fact to service recipients and provide individuals with a list of other community providers that offer pregnancy support and education services.
NA The agency does not serve pregnant or parenting service recipients.
Examples: Agencies can tailor how topics are addressed based on service recipients’ needs. For example, when serving expectant parents or parents of young children, education on environmental safety and injury prevention will typically address topics such as safe practices for sleeping and bathing.


PA-SH 8.07

Support services include, as needed:
  1. transportation;
  2. legal assistance;
  3. case advocacy;
  4. mainstream benefits enrollment;
  5. help with basic literacy;
  6. help with basic computer literacy;
  7. educational services, including G.E.D. preparation;
  8. child care; and
  9. social, cultural, recreational, and religious/spiritual activities.


PA-SH 8.08

Employment and vocational support includes helping individuals:
  1. develop the habits, skills, and self-awareness essential to employability;
  2. write resumes, complete job applications, and prepare for interviews; 
  3. find and access local employment resources and placement options, including on-the-job training;
  4. secure childcare while attending interviews; and
  5. travel to interviews and places of employment.
NA The agency only serves youth under 16 years of age.