Shelter 2020 Project

Red Cross is working to update current facility listings in the National Shelter System (NSS). Many of the existing shelters were surveyed prior to 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation changes and therefore are missing critical accessibility information. All new shelters identified and any updated surveys will have an updated 2015 shelter facility survey. There are more than 440 shelters in Montana listed in the National Shelter System (NSS).  Red Cross is working with the State of Montana identify the best shelter facilities and coordinate with county and tribal governments.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is Montana’s lead state agency for Emergency Support Function #6 (Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services). DPHHS has agreed to support Red Cross in this effort. Further, DPHHS considers this an opportunity to make infrastructure improvements to some shelter facilities – addressing infrastructural deficiency issues regarding Access and Functional Needs (A&FN) and ADA compliance. These infrastructural deficiencies include but are not limited to addition of backup power generation, building ramps, increasing bathrooms accessibility.

Identifying facility deficiencies will require a local coalition approach in each jurisdiction; including but not limited to local:

  • Emergency management (i.e., county/tribal DES coordinators)
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP)
  • Sanitarians
  • Access and Functional Needs or ADA Ambassadors – People that have access and functional needs, or experts trained to serve their local communities to support understanding and compliance of access and functional needs access

Phase 1 – Shelter Selection (1 July – 15 October 2015)

  • Local emergency managers, LEPC/TERC, and other stakeholders discuss the best locations for sheltering in their community
  • If a local emergency manager is aware of a facility that could serve (new or previously use) as a shelter, they are encouraged to inquire if the facilities owner would be willing to (continue to) donate their facility for disaster shelter operation in the event of a disaster. If the facility owner agrees, the name of this facility and contact information for the owner should be included in the final selections
  • Local emergency managers should submit their final selections for local disaster shelters to their local PHEP who will send to DPHH as part of their 1st Deliverables Quarter submission, Due October 15th

Phase 2 – Data Consolidation (15 October – 31 October 2015)

  • DPHHS will compile the data, and submit the shelter selections to Red Cross

Phase 3 – Shelter Assessment and Improvement (1 November 2015 – 31 December 2020)

  • Red Cross will coordinate with each facility owner, local emergency managers, and shelter partners to schedule a site visit to conduct a shelter facility survey. This will ensure the facility meets the general guidelines set for emergency shelters before travel is required
  • Local emergency management will invite local PHEP, sanitarians, ADA ambassadors, and other stakeholders (e.g., LEPC/TERC) and inform them of the scheduled shelter facility site visit. Assistance in identifying with an ADA ambassador can be facilitated by DPHHS PHEP
  • Red Cross and local coalitions perform a site survey and identify gaps in infrastructure that may improve the accessibility of the facility
  • If agreed upon that this facility should be used, Red Cross will proceed to secure a written agreement between the facility owner and the Red Cross
  • After receiving the signed agreement, Red Cross imports facility information into NSS
  • If there are deficiencies in the shelter location, but it is determined that some repairs would make the facility acceptable, the local coalitions will discuss this options with the facility owner. If the facility owner agrees, they will jointly develop a shelter improvement plan for the shelter facility. Upon completion, the shelter improvement plan is returned to the local emergency manager
  • The local emergency manager will submit grant applications, and coordinate any other fund-raising activities
  • Upon receiving funds, the improvements are made to the facility
  • Red Cross will conduct another shelter facility survey, if needed, and update information in the NSS

Shelter 2020 Resources:

Shelter 2020: Facility Selection Tool

Disaster Facility Survey

Red Cross Sheltering Information

DOJ Shelter ADA Checklist