Could Your Church be an Emergency Shelter?

by Steve Aucella


During the Winter 2018 storms, a well-known disaster response organization reached out to local churches to see if any of them could offer shelter accommodations to about a dozen people. Some churches are quite adept at offering sleeping, showering, or feeding accommodations, while others perhaps have not done so, but could. Having an agreement with response/relief agencies BEFORE a disaster occurs will go far to smooth out the process.

Your MACUCC Disaster Resource and Response Team offers you a template based on an actual agreement used by a local church in the Massachusetts Conference. This document describes, in legal terms as it is a legal document, a proposed agreement between a disaster resource corporation and a local church. The corporation contracts with the church to use a designated church space for a specified time to provide disaster relief services. 

Everything is negotiable in this agreement; it is provided as a starting point only. Every church will have its own needs and requirements to consider before entering into this type of agreement. We advise that your congregation discuss exactly what the church is willing to provide long before the time when such an agreement might become necessary, consider the impact upon your renters, talk with your insurance company and, as always, have a lawyer review any agreement before you sign.

Access the sample agreement here: Sample Intermittent License Agreement for use of Church as a Shelter

Rev. Steve Aucella is a member of the MACUCC Disaster Resource and Response Team and the Pastor of the New North Church in Hingham.

Steve Aucella

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