GENERAL GUIDELINES AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  1. All volunteers must sign the Volunteer Sign In Book and pick up a COFM Volunteer tag as soon as they arrive in the place designated by the site coordinator. Volunteers are asked to sign out when their shift ends. Please total your number of hours.
  2. Volunteers should place their personal property in a secure location designated by the site coordinator.
  3. Volunteers should dress casually. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Low-cut shirts, tight clothing, mini skirts, mini shorts and midriff tops are not permitted in the shelter.
  4. It is up to the discretion of the Shelter Host Key Leader whether youth groups will be permitted on site. COFM recommends no youth volunteers under 14. Young volunteers are welcome on the first shift only and must be accompanied and monitored by an adult.
  5. The number and delegation of volunteer tasks shall be at the sole and absolute discretion of the COFM Host Site and Partner congregations.
  6. A volunteer needs to be at the check-in desk at all times. Neither the desk nor an unlocked storage area may be left unattended.
  7. Volunteers must maintain guest confidentially at all times. Do not give out guest information to anyone either by phone or in person except to the COFM personnel when necessary.
  8. Volunteers are not to adopt a guest or family. They may not take anyone to their homes or hire anyone for jobs around their homes. They may not transport guests for any reason. COFM, the Shelter Host Congregations, and Shelter Partners are not responsible for any consequences resulting from breaking this rule.
  9. Due to the diverse populations served in this program, volunteers and guests need to be aware that COFM guests may experience a variety of emotional or physical conditions. Volunteers should be cautious and responsible.
  10. Prayers, sharing of faith, and Bible study may be offered to shelter guests providing it is held in a designated area in the shelter that is separate from the general area. Sharing of faith may not be imposed or be a condition for receiving shelter or food.
  11. Volunteers do not assist guests with any personal hygiene problems (e.g., incontinence). If a guest needs help, volunteers must consult the Intake Volunteer or the Key Leader for instructions.
  12. Guests may not use the Shelter Host’s telephones or volunteers’ cell phones at any time. The Key Leader will decide if there is an exception to the rule.
  13. Guests may use personal cell phones until lights out at 10:00 PM.
  14. Guests are asked to be considerate of others. Loud talking, music, etc. are not appropriate at any time. A Walkman, radio/CD with a headset, or iPod is permitted.
  15. Volunteers are encouraged to engage in conversation with guests. However, volunteers should limit personal information when talking with guests. They may talk about family, work, and life experiences but without using identifying information.
  16. Volunteers may not give money or gifts to any guests.
  17. If there is donated clothing the Intake Volunteers will distribute. Guests should place donated clothing in their personal belonging bags.
  18. Shift Leaders may distribute medicine from the COFM kit according to the appropriate dosage, as indicated on the label, in a cup and allow the guest to self-administer this medication.
  19. Dinner and breakfast are provided for the guests. If there is sufficient food, volunteers may be invited to enjoy the meal. Volunteers should eat in the dining area and mealtimes should be staggered in order to ensure that all areas have sufficient staffing.
  20. Even if a guests arrive early, guest check-in cannot begin until 6:30 PM.
  21. Guests must check personal belongings in designated bags upon entering the shelter site, including coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and work overalls. In addition to items of clothing, tools, knives, and other items must be checked in. Exceptions are cell phones, cigarettes, medicine, books, and hygiene kits. If guests choose to keep their toiletries with them, they must be kept in a clear plastic baggie. Once belongings are checked in, they will be stored until check-out. No food, drinks, or any liquids may be brought into the site.
  22. Dinner is served between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. Guests are not allowed in the kitchen. It is suggested that guests be served their meals, rather than lining up buffet-style. The kitchen closes at 9:00 PM and no meals are served after this time. Persons who come in late will be offered sandwiches with a beverage.
  23. Smoking is permitted only at the designated time (8:00-8:15 PM) and in the designated location. Guests are to deposit all smoke butts in the containers provided. The guests leave the building as a group with a shift volunteer and return to the building as a group. A shift volunteer must be with the guests at all times during the smoke break.
  24. Bedding is distributed each night at 8:15 and collected each morning before breakfast. A blanket, 2 sheets, pillow, and mat are issued to each guest. They are kept in a bag tagged with the guest’s number. This is the guest’s bedding for the entire week.
  25. Men and women will use separate sleeping areas at all times. At no time should female guests be sitting or lying around a male guest’s bed and vice versa.
  26. Mothers with children must be located away from the other guests in a separate area. The father of this family must sleep with the other male guests. Boys under 18 are to stay with their mother.
  27. A guest may not leave the shelter once they have checked in. If a guest leaves, he/she will not be allowed back that night.
  28. Volunteers should monitor the bathroom and common areas throughout their shift, preferably every 15 minutes.
  29. Optional entertainment or services may be provided by the host site. We encourage volunteers to engage with our guests.
  30. If the Shelter Host is running low on check-in supplies (hygiene kits, blankets, towels, sheets), please let the Shelter Manager know so that a report can be given to COFM.
  31. Guests must remove all personal belongings when checking out each morning. Items left will be turned over to the lost and found of the Shelter Host. COFM and all Shelter Hosts are not responsible for any loss of items left, misplaced, or stolen.

2016