Shelter or Treatment for Vulnerable Populations

Shelter or Treatment for Vulnerable Populations

Shelter or treatment for underserved vulnerable populations can be met by intentional communities providing temporary or long term residences.


Steps to build a service-based intentional community

  1. Live in one! Use a word search at to find one that is the closest to the type you intend to create. If living there isn’t an option, visiting and consulting with the staff could save you from a lot of mistakes.
  2. If no intentional community exists of the type you intend to create, add to your leadership team or advisory board someone who has worked in a related non-profit and is familiar with the challenges of those serving and served.
  3. Use to build up your core leadership team and other values-aligned volunteers who might work on site in exchange for room and board.
  4. Create your business plan and grant proposals. To be eligible for more grants, you might team up with a university and non-profits that work with the population or issues you are interested in.
  5. Plan for the physical location of the intentional community to be close to existing services related to or needed by the population served.
  6. See the resources section below for suggestions related to specific underserved populations.
  7. Meet regularly as a team to make sure each member feels supported with their responsibilities. As those you serve are helped to level up, some of them may become your best team members or advocates.


From humble beginnings three decades earlier, a group of BC activists created an organization BCOFR that now has over 120 staff and a multi-million dollar budget to operate housing for vulnerable populations, including women who are victims of domestic abuse.

Bang (2007) described Camphill intentional communities. They have hundreds of individual villages supporting those with cognitive disabilities. Those with disabilities have work that helps sustain their community. For example, one community makes candles with the assistance of volunteer and paid staff living on site. These communities have grown “over 60 years and into over 20 countries throughout the world” (p. 177). Residents and volunteers don’t have to choose between focusing on the individual or on the betterment of society, because they do both at the same time. Glenora Farm is one of the many Camphill Communities where adults with a variety of needs interact as companions rather than as patients. Their Policy and Procedure Handbook is an excellent example.

Bang, J. M. (2007). Growing eco-communities: Practical ways to create sustainability. Floris Books.

Consultants for Service-based Intentional Community

Members Interested in Service-based Intentional Community


icmatch guide to creating shelter and treatment-based intentional communities: this detailed guide focuses on several of the most vulnerable populations such as trafficked women and children

See other resources listed at our page for needs-based housing and social safety nets.