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Jan 14, 2022 Hali Reynolds

How to Take Advantage of Grant Funds for Your Shelter in 2022


With the help of federal stimulus packages and grants that are available for nonprofits and shelters, it’s important that those who work in the homeless shelter industry take advantage of all the funds that are available to them. State and federal grants are not easy to obtain - and for good reason. The grant funds that homeless shelters receive is public, taxpayer money, meaning the federal government is obligated to allocate grants to nonprofits through an open and transparent process.

Funds typically funnel into different buckets for nonprofits such as unrestricted funding which goes towards operating costs, or programmatic funding which goes towards a specific program or project. With different stipulations for every grant, we want to help break down this process so that you can begin successfully planning for your future funds. 

Keep reading and learn how to access federal and state grants so that you can purchase beds for your homeless shelter or rescue mission.

Update Your Tax Status

Before your homeless shelter or rescue mission can be approved for nonprofit grant funding, you must obtain your tax-exempt status, or 501(c)3. Apply for tax exemption by filing IRS Form 1023 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Insider Tip: Don't go into Form 1023 anticipating a simple application. This form is about 30 pages, and its purpose is to provide the IRS with a full understanding of your organization so they can be confident that your nonprofit is legitimate.

Build a Reputable Reputation for Your Shelter

Once the IRS confirms your nonprofit organization's legitimacy, your next step is to gain credibility with your clients and in your community. For example, being of service to your community by providing safe, affordable, and clean shelter for community members helps build notoriety. 

Insider Tip: Funding institutions are more likely to provide grants to missions and shelters that have earned a good reputation than those that have no one to vouch for them.

Network in Your Industry

Networking and making friends isn’t just for college grads! Connect with other shelters and rescue missions to see how they approach funding. Ask where they look and who their point person is. Often you can learn much more by talking to someone in the field and learning about their experience than you can by doing an internet search.

Insider Tip: Building relationships is key! Being a consistent figure in your community and city will build your reputation and will strengthen the relationships you have with other like-minded folks in your area. Networking is a great way to build trust and rapport.

Pick the Right Grants for Your Shelter

We know you're eager to complete the process and check these grant applications off your list, but it's important to carefully read the qualifications and criteria before you apply. Don't waste your time applying for grants if your shelter or mission doesn't meet the eligibility requirements. Ensure the grants you are applying for fit the geographical area that applies and also double check the funds are going towards the expenses that would be relevant to your cause.

Insider Tip: Stipulations and standards will make or break your ability to apply for certain grants so save yourself time and energy by putting extra effort into researching which grants you are eligible to apply for. Remember, work smarter, not harder.

Be Specific

Be confident and clear about the amount of money you're requesting and what you need it for. Outlining figures within your budget and laying out details of your anticipated expenses will demonstrate your shelter’s organization and professionalism. If the individuals reviewing your grant application sense disparities, they will likely choose to put their money elsewhere.

Insider Tip: Utilize graphs, charts, or other visual metrics to help communicate the necessity of the funds and ideas. These visuals will give the committee an idea of how you plan to measure your data once the grant is implemented.

Shop Around

Sometimes getting approval for grants can take a long time. Maximize a federal grant for your mission or shelter by using those grant funds to purchase furniture and bedding products that will stretch your budget while not sacrificing quality. This will help address the highest priority of your nonprofit: to excellently serve those staying at your facility. 

While you're waiting, browse our catalog. If you have questions, contact us online or give us a call at (800) 203-2507. We'd love to share a bit of that industry knowledge we've picked up over the past 20 years!


Published by Hali Reynolds January 14, 2022