Shelter or Treatment for Vulnerable Populations

Shelter or Treatment for Vulnerable Populations


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, despite death threats and vandalism, now has over 120 staff and a multi-million dollar budget to operate a seniors assisted living complex and adult daycare center, and housing for women who are victims of domestic abuse.

Bang (2007) described Camphill intentional communities. They have hundreds of individual villages working with the mentally handicapped at their jobs by which they help sustain themselves, with volunteer and paid staff living on site, growing “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.

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




See our online guide to creating shelter and treatment-based intentional communities of many types.

Homeless shelters or shelters to prevent homelessness have substantial grant-funding available. This page can provide some details.