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Salary of a Homeless Shelter Manager

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The system of homeless shelters in the United States ranges from emergency cold weather shelters equipped with cots and blankets to long-term transitional housing programs providing apartments, kitchens, counseling, child care and medical care. Homeless shelter managers also supervise programs for homeless youth, victims of domestic violence and veterans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2009 that the average wage of social and community service managers was $24.23 an hour.

Titles and Salaries

Homeless shelter managers have different titles, depending on the type of program they manage and the organization that employs them. Shelter managers may be called housing specialists, case managers, shelter directors or program directors. Salaries for positions requiring additional education, such as a degree in social services or a license to provide therapy, are higher than salaries for positions requiring a non-specialized Bachelor's degree, with responsibilities including overseeing shelter meals, safety, volunteer coordination and daily operation.

Shelter Manager Salaries

According to, in September, 2011, homeless shelter managers earned an average of $34,000 a year. A shelter manager for Catholic Charities in Washington reported a salary of $25,000 to $27,000 on in September, 2011. The Shelter Manager III position with Central Arizona Shelter Services earned $31,000 to $34,000, according to The New Generation, Inc. Shelter in New Hampshire advertised its shelter manager position for a salary of $27,000 to $33,000 in September, 2011.

Larger Organizations

Large organizations, including rescue missions, the Salvation Army, and city or regional homeless coalitions, often refer to managers of individual shelters or programs as "program directors." The 2010 nonprofit salary survey conducted by Professionals for Nonprofits showed that program directors for organizations with budgets of $2.1 to $5 million earned $55,000 to $65,000 a year in the Washington, D.C. area. Program directors for organizations in New Jersey earned $55,000 to $60,000 a year and program directors for New York area organizations earned $60,000 to 70,000 a year, according to the survey.

Government Funding

Many shelters are funded either in part or whole by local cities or counties. Shelter and program manager salaries are often dictated by limited government budgets. Wilmington, North Carolina and the Cape Fear region had $282,000 to spend between January, 2008 and June, 2010 to assist all homeless people in their area. Their budget included a project director responsible for all activities, including shelters, earning $52,000 to $53,560 a year, and an administrative assistant earning $22,000 to $23,000 per year.


Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.