Providing services & resources for motivated residents to become self-sufficient.

First Step Begins with

First Step Shelter is a referral based, 24/7, low-barrier transitional housing homeless shelter for men and women over 18. First Step Shelter is more than a shelter. It is a housing program. When a person experiencing homelessness decides that they want more than a safe place to sleep, a warm shower, nutritious meal, they are ready to take the First Step and sign-up as a resident for our pathway to housing program; First Step becomes your transitional home.

We believe in a holistic approach to recovery, and our goal is each person’s physical, mental, financial, and spiritual self-sufficiency. This is demonstrated by their capacity to move into housing and live independently. We use an evidence-based “intensive case management” approach to comprehensively address each person’s unique needs.

We are low barrier but not “no barriers.” We have a screening process which is vital to our success. We don’t check for eviction history or do a drug test at intake. Criminal history doesn’t matter unless there’s a high potential for violence. We will, however, screen out those whose needs are too severe for our shelter setting or those who won’t agree to our standards of conduct and pathway to housing program rules. 

Holding people accountable is not only vital to our success but the success of our residents. 



To make a referral, download the referral form by clicking below. Please ensure the form is filled out completely before submitting it.

Services and support that promote individual choice

who is elegible?

What you need to know about the referral process

First Step Shelter is an emergency shelter designed to provide people experiencing homelessness with a safe place to live while they make efforts toward housing.  People become homeless for many reasons.  The goal of First Step is to help individuals address the reasons they became homeless, develop an income stream that can maintain them in housing, and assist them in finding affordable housing. 

Eligibility Criteria

Must be referred by an agency in a partner city

Must pass a background check which is done to decrease the risk of assault (sexual or otherwise) of other residents

Cannot have an open warrant in the United States

Must be 18 years of age or older

Must agree to abide by the rules of the shelter

Must desire housing and be willing to work or apply for SSI/SSDI if eligible

Must not meet the Baker Act or Marchman Act criteria

Must not have any emergency medical conditions or unset broken bones

Must arrive with at least 7 days of prescription medications in labeled bottles

Must be able to bathe without assistance

Please note:  First Step Shelter is not a licensed Assisted Living Facility

*Under a standard ALF license, which First Step Shelter does not have, residents can receive basic assistance with dressing, changing locations-transfer from bed to chair, chair to walker, etc., help with feeding, grooming, bathing, toileting, and medication management.  Nurses with an additional license can help with administering and regulating oxygen, managing sleep apnea machines during sleep times, and assist with casts, splints, and braces. 

Questions ? Request information or call 386-361-3800

Who can make a referral?

Social Service Agencies, Places of Worship, Hospitals, and Law Enforcement that are located in our partner cities:

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach Shores

Holly Hill

New Smyrna Beach

Ormond Beach

Ponce Inlet

Port Orange


The FSS shelter referral document is available on our website under the RESIDENT tab.  Please be sure to use that form and fill it out completely. 

Referrals must be sent with a signed consent form along with any picture/photo ID available.

Unsigned referrals will not be considered. 

All referrals must be emailed to [email protected] for consideration- no phone calls will be accepted in lieu of email.

The person making the referral will be notified of a preferred timeframe i.e., date and time to have the referred individual sent over for an assessment. 

Please allow up to 48 hours during the work week and 72 hours on the weekend for a response regarding your referral.

Entry to the program is not guaranteed.  Once the person arrives at First Step Shelter an assessment will be completed, in person, by FSS Staff/nurse.

Please do not send the referred person over prior to getting an invitation to do so as intake staff may not be available, or the shelter may not have a space available.

The referred person may be invited to stay overnight in the Safe Zone if a situation arises where they must arrive prior to the appointed assessment time and administration has an awareness of their premature arrival. 

Being provided with a time to be assessed does NOT mean acceptance into the program- this process is used in determining program ‘fit’. We need to be sure that a person can function independently and is willing to follow the program.

Keep in mind– FSS is NOT a licensed assisted living or skilled nursing facility and therefore cannot care for individuals needing that level of assistance/care.

If there are still additional questions-  email [email protected] All inquiries will be responded to in a timely manner.

"Big thanks to the First Step Shelter team for being there for me. You made me feel like I'm a part of the community and helped me gain confidence in myself."
- Mark J. -
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