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Community Living Guidelines
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Community Living Guidelines

Heart and Home (H+H) Women’s Shelter

Program Eligibility


The program is available only to adults who identify as being female. Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to stay in the shelter. 


All program participants will be required to show proof of a negative TB-PPD test from the last 12 months. If you have a recent TB-PPD test on-file at the Opportunity Center, you may sign a release form and allow us to access the TB test results directly. If you have not recently taken a TB-PPD test, you may do so at the clinic at the Opportunity Services Center in Palo Alto. 

If your TB-PPD test results are positive, you may take a chest X-ray (available at Valley Medical Center, free if you have Valley Care) to clarify whether you have an active TB infection. In this case, in order to stay at the shelter, you would need to show us proof that your chest X-ray came back negative. 


Registered sex offenders are not allowed to stay in the shetler. All program participants are required to show us a picture of a valid, government-issued photo ID. H+H will check the name on your ID against the Megan’s Law database, in order to screen for registered sex offenders.

What You Can Expect from Heart and Home:

Heart and Home Collaborative will provide participants with a safe, welcoming living environment. Please see the following for details. Any changes to these policies will be announced at weekly house meetings and/or individually to each participant at the shelter. There may be nights with logistical hiccups, but by and large, here is what you can expect from us:


  1. Safety: All participants are entitled to a safe and healthful living environment in the program facility.
  2. Respect: All participants are entitled to be treated in a manner that respects their dignity and individuality.
  3. Mutuality: Each participant’s rights will be exercised in ways that also respect the rights of other participants. No one’s rights are absolute.
  4. Accommodation: All participants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations under fair housing laws, when such accommodations are necessary because of their disability.
  5. Fairness: All participants are entitled to just and standardized procedures for determining eligibility, admissions, sanctions and discharges, and resolving grievances.
  6. Due Process: All participants are entitled to remain in the program and not be involuntarily removed without good cause and just procedures.
  7. Privacy: All participants are entitled to reasonable privacy and confidential treatment of personal, social, financial, medical, mental and behavioral health records, except as necessary to further treatment, information and referral services and in compliance with the resident’s written consent to release information.
  8. Civic Rights: All participants are entitled to the full exercise of their civil, constitutional, and legal rights.


H+H staff are required by law to protect our participants’ confidentiality. For this reason, staff cannot confirm nor deny any participant’s involvement in this program without a signed consent. Please see our confidentiality policy.


The shelter closes on the morning of Monday, April 8th, 2019. Participants will be able to stay at the shelter up until this date. The shelter is open from 7:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. daily.


  1. 7:00 p.m.: Shelter Opens.
  2. 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Arrive at the shelter. Please notify a staff member the night before or call 650-600-1555 to let us know if you will be arriving after 9:30 p.m.
  3. 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Volunteers and participants set up the sleeping area and dining area, and heat up dinner.
  4. 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Dinner is served. Staff will save a late plate for you, if you arrive after 9:30pm. You are welcome to eat leftovers and snacks any time.
  5. 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Pack your on-the-go breakfast for the next day. Lunch materials may be available. Staff will pack a bag for you, if you arrive after 9:30pm. You are welcome to pack or eat leftovers and snacks, any time.
  6. 9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Volunteers and participants start cleaning the kitchen and dining area.
  7. 9:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Quiet hours. All participants should be in the sleeping area.
  8. 10:00 p.m. – 5:30 a.m.: Lights out. All participants should be in the sleeping area.
  9. 5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.: Wake Up.
  10. 5:45 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.: Coffee / tea is served.
  11. 5:45 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.: Get ready, pack up your bedding and belongings, and take your mattress, bedding, and personal items to the trailer.
  12. 6:30 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.: Volunteers and participants clean the sleeping area. kitchen, and bathrooms.
  13. 7:00 a.m.: Shelter closes. All participants are required to leave the facility at this time.


H+H will give each participant one sleeping pad, a pillow, sheets, and blankets to use while at the shelter. Additional pillows and sheets are available upon request. Participants with medical issues that require them to sleep higher off the ground may request an extra sleeping pad; staff may ask for a doctor’s note, in order to accommodate this request. Participants are required to return all bedding items to H+H upon discharge.


Dinner and on-the-go breakfast options are provided for participants; if there are leftovers, participants may pack a lunch to take out of the shelter. Participants may bring personal food into the program facility, but staff may discard the food if it spoils. Depending on the availability of space, participants will be given a set amount of space in the fridge to store anything that requires refrigeration; refrigerated items should be labeled with the participants’ name and the date when it was put into the fridge. Items that are over a week old will be discarded from the fridge every Sunday. Personal food may not be put into a participant’s personal onsite storage space. All food must be stored along with the food for the shelter.


Participants are guaranteed storage for the equivalent of one large (60-gal.) bag of belongings during the program. Onsite storage for additional items will be provided at the discretion of staff, if there is space. Participants are required to take ALL belongings with them upon discharge. Items stored in the trailer must be placed in a sealed bag; H+H will provide bags if participants don’t have one.

H+H is NOT responsible for personal belongings lost, misplaced, or stolen during the participant’s stay or for items left behind when the participant discharges. Participants are encouraged to safeguard their valuables. Program participants will be held responsible for any destruction of other participants’ property.


Once a week, volunteers will pick up bags of laundry at the shelter in the morning, wash them in their personal machines during the day, and return them to the shelter in the evening. Each participant may give these volunteers one bag of items to wash; we will have bags for you to use for this purpose. It is the participant’s responsibility to put her items in a bag and hand the bag to staff on the designated mornings. H+H is not responsible for damage or loss of laundry items.


Volunteers from Stanford and/or other local communities will be at the shelter every night. In addition, workshops and community activities will be held on a regular basis at the shelter. Information about workshop times and topics will be published in the program calendar and advertised at the shelter. Participants are encouraged to make suggestions and provide feedback on workshop topics. Remember that participation in activities and interaction with volunteers is completely optional!


H+H’s onsite staff and programs coordinators help ensure that the shelter is safe, welcoming, and that all participants’ needs are met. Participants should feel free to speak with any volunteer about needs, program suggestions, etc., but should be assured that there will always be a staff member or programs coordinator onsite who will make the time to listen compassionately and non-judgmentally, in a private space, if necessary. Additionally, programs coordinators are available via phone/text at 650-600-1555.

Program participants will promptly contact a staff member or programs coordinator when any of the following occur:

  1. They require reasonable flexibility regarding program rules (including coming late or missing a night).
  2. They are having problems with other program participants, volunteers, onsite staff, or case managers.
  3. They feel that a Warning was administered unfairly. In this case, the resident advocate will either try to resolve the issue with the staff person or help clients go through the grievance process.
  4. They feel in any way unsafe or discriminated against at the shelter.

However, if participants have a complaint that they are not comfortable sharing with a staff member or programs coordinator, they should feel free to go through the grievance process independently.


While the shelter is run by volunteers, participation in activities and interaction with volunteers is completely optional. There will always be a space at the shelter where, after the nightly setup period, only residents and staff may enter. If program participants are uncomfortable participating in an activity or with a particular volunteer, they should go to this area and feel free to register their discomfort with a staff member. Participants may elect to have their bed space be in the client-only area.


Weekly house meetings will provide the opportunity for clients to discuss in-house matters, propose changes to program rules, give feedback on program elements, and make suggestions for workshops. Please see the House Meeting Policy document for more information.


H+H is unable to provide case management at our shelter this season. However, if you are interested in working with a case manager, please speak with a staff member or programs coordinator, and that person will talk to you about area resources that might be able to help.  

We also encourage you to bring in resources that you learn about, to share with others at the shelter. We will keep a folder with all of these resources at the shelter. Feel free to ask volunteers or staff to help you go through the binder, select resources of interest, fill out applications, etc.

Additionally, we do not have showers or machines for laundry available at the shelter site.

What We Expect from You:

In order to maintain a safe and harmonious living environment for everyone in the shelter community, we ask that all participants


Participants are expected to be at the shelter each night of their stay. Participants should inform a shelter staff member if they will be absent from the shelter for a night. If a participant is absent from the program for more than 4 consecutive nights without communication with a staff member or a programs coordinator, her bed will be given to someone on the waiting list. In this case, the participant is welcome to place her name back on the waiting list for the shelter.


Participants may arrive at the shelter no earlier than 7:00 p.m. each night, and are requested to arrive at the shelter no later than 9:30 p.m. each night, so that the facility may be secured in a timely fashion. For safety reasons, the doors to the shelter will be locked at 10:00 p.m. each night. Please notify a staff member the night before or call 650-600-1555 any time to let a program coordinator know if you will be arriving after 9:30 p.m. on any given night, so we know to open the door for you. Participants are expected to leave the facility no later than 7:00 a.m., as the host churches start setting up their daycare facility at that time.


Absolutely no physical assault, gestures, or threats of violence directed toward H+H staff, volunteers, or other participants will be tolerated. Violence, threats of violence, or threats with a weapon are grounds for immediate dismissal from the program and for the duration of the program. Staff may request intervention by police or other emergency personnel if they deem it necessary. 


H+H operates a safe living environment. Absolutely no weapons are allowed at the shelter. Any participants who possess or use weapons onsite will be given a Warning and have the weapon confiscated from them and kept in the locked box inside the storage trailer. Clients who threaten other clients with a weapon will be immediately dismissed from the program and banned for the duration of the shelter season; the appropriate authorities may also be notified. Weapons shall include guns, knives, Tasers, mace or pepper spray, and all other devices whose primary purpose is to injure or kill. In addition, any object or substance used to attack or threaten another person.


Absolutely no verbal abuse including offensive language, harassment, and racial or bigoted slurs directed toward H+H staff, volunteers, or other participants will be tolerated. Any of these behaviors is grounds for a Warning, and the client may be asked to leave the shelter for the night.


The shelter is a clean and sober living environment. Participants, staff, and volunteers may not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at the shelter. Participants who are found using or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be issued a warning and asked to leave the facility for the night.

Absolutely no drugs or alcohol are allowed at the shelter. Any program participant found to be selling or storing drugs or alcohol will be given a Warning. The substance will be confiscated and kept in the locked box inside the storage trailer.

Over-the-counter and legal prescription pills are allowed onsite. Program participants should keep these medications on their person or in their bags. If safety is a concern, consider checking the bottle into our locked trailer box and just removing the pills you need to take each night.


Absolutely no sexual contact or other sexual activities shall occur at the shelter. This shall include sexual intercourse, oral sex, and kissing. Participants may direct any questions about the appropriateness of behaviors not explicitly mentioned to staff ahead of time. In general, respect the boundaries of others at the shelter; it is best to ask before initiating any form of physical contact (including friendly hugs and sympathetically holding hands) and entering another participant’s living space. If someone has expressed discomfort with something you are doing, we expect you to stop doing it or involve a staff member.


Participants are given the opportunity to check in prohibited items, such alcohol, drugs, drug paraphernalia, and weapons (including guns, knives, tasers, and mace/pepper spray) with staff members immediately outside the shelter. Such items will be kept overnight in a locked box inside the shelter’s storage trailer and will be returned to participants the following morning. Only staff members may access this box. Items that are checked in should be labeled with their owner’s name and must be removed from the trailer each morning; items will not be removed from any bag or cover that they are kept in. Please note that staff will not knowingly check in any illegal substances (including illegal drugs, guns, etc.), items containing pests (including bedbugs, ants, or maggots), or pets.



New participants will not be asked to provide proof of sobriety in order to enter the program, but participants will be asked to leave the shelter for the night if they engage in any inappropriate behavior and may be asked to take a drug or alcohol test, if a staff member suspects that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a participant does not want to be subject to a drug test, she may opt to leave the shelter for the night. Failure to comply with this request will result in a warning and dismissal from the shelter for the night.


In order to maintain the safety of program participants and cleanliness of the program facility, inspections of participants’ personal belongings may be conducted when the shelter staff deems that probable cause exists to believe that a participant has items in their personal belongings that may threaten the health or well-being of other participants including (but not exclusively) drugs or drug paraphernalia, weapons, pests, or pets. If a resident or volunteer member sees such items among the resident’s belongings or hears the resident mention that she is in possession of such items, he/she must inform staff immediately. The staff person will evaluate that statement and, if she feels it is necessary, will ask to inspect the participant’s belongings. The staff person must clearly state the reason she believes there is probable cause for a search to the client before making this request. If a participant does not want to be subject to an inspection, she has the option to instead leave her bag outside the shelter facility (e.g., in her car) for the rest of her stay in the program, or to discharge from the program and immediately leave the program facility. Failure to comply with this request will result in immediate discharge from the program.


Failure to comply with the above rules will result in a written Warning or Discharge notice from staff. Staff will detail the reasons for the notice and ask the participant receiving the warning to sign acknowledging receipt of the notice. Participants may dispute a warning by contacting the programs coordinators at 650-600-1555. Participants who have received two written Warnings for the same reason will be immediately discharged from the program.


Smoking is not permitted inside the shelter. There may be designated outdoor areas of the property where participants are allowed to smoke.


To protect the safety of all program participants anyone with a contagious illness such as TB, chicken pox, pink eye, lice, scabies, etc., will be immediately discharged from the facility to prevent the spread of communicable, contagious affliction. Participants discharged in this manner will be placed on "automatic return" status. Once the participant has provided a shelter staff member or programs coordinator with a medical release signed by physician indicating that the participant is no longer contagious and a bed becomes available, the participant can immediately return. We will attempt to provide referrals and transportation to a suitable medical service, should this situation arise.


In the event of an emergency, please calmly and quietly follow the direction of the staff or emergency personnel. Program staff will call 9-1-1 if necessary. Participants should call 9-1-1 only if the program staff is unable to do so. If it is necessary to evacuate the facility, follow the posted evacuation route signs. Staff and program participants should meet according to the evacuation plan posted by the host facility. If this location is also unsafe, staff and program participants should proceed to a safer place identified by staff.


H+H does not store any belongings for non-participants and/or past-participants. Participants who discharge from the program must take all their personal belongings with them at the time of discharge. Personal belongings that are left in the program facility after a participant discharges may be disposed of by program staff after one week and at the end of the program.


Program participants will be assigned a bed space for the duration of their stay. Participants are expected to keep their individual living spaces neat and clean. For safety reasons, candles, incense, hot plates and other open flames or heating elements are forbidden. Absolutely no food is allowed in the bed spaces, with the exception of water. Personal trash should be immediately recycled or disposed of in trash cans. Facility cleanliness, including client living spaces, will be monitored by regular inspections.


Program participants are required to help volunteers clean the shelter on a daily basis. Every evening and morning, program staff will advertise a list of tasks that need to be accomplished, and participants should sign up for the ones they would like to complete.

In the event that extra help is needed at the shelter, the program staff may deem it necessary to require participants to help with relevant “chores.” In this case, clients will still be able to sign up for their preferred tasks and should speak with program staff if they feel the distribution of labor is not equitable. If a participant has a medical condition that prevents her from helping, she should let the staff member know and will be excused from helping.


Participants should report maintenance needs immediately to program staff who will refer the needs to the appropriate party. Program participants will be held responsible for any destruction of property belonging to H+H and our host sites.

Community Living Guidelines Agreement

Heart and Home (H+H) Women’s Shelter

I have read, understand, and agree to comply with the foregoing community living guidelines and program participation expectations.

Participant Signature: _____________________________                Date: _____________

Printed Name: ___________________________________

I have gone over the foregoing rules with this Program Participant.

Intake Coordinator: ___________________________________        Date: _____________

Printed Name: ___________________________________

Last updated: December 2017                                                                Page