Strengthening the Safety Net: Human Services Under One Roof

Get real world examples and advice from over 30 human services centers to improve the client experience.

Human services nonprofits need specialized information concerning their unique demands and challenges. These organizations house the homeless, feed the hungry, mentor our youth, and more. According to the Urban Institute, human services organizations in the US make up over one-third of the nonprofit sector and employ more than 3 million people.

As a network of shared spaces, we decided to develop a project focused on the client experience at human services centers. Staff interviewed executive directors, or other leaders, at 31 human services centers identified as “one-stop shop” centers. 

What we know from a 2018 report released by The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the American Public Human Services Association entitled A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America which showcased several financial challenges that this group of nonprofits face. Nearly one in 8 human services organizations have liabilities that exceed their current assets, meaning that they are technically insolvent. Almost half reported a negative three-year operating margin, as revenues struggled to keep up with expenses. A third do not have enough cash in the bank to cover one month’s expenses.

One way that human services organizations cope with this level of challenge is through forming one-stop human services centers. Human services focused buildings make up the largest subcomponent of the membership of The Nonprofit Centers Network. In addition to the financial benefits, members report that having multiple organizations under one roof has substantial benefits for the people that they serve. This report details some of the best practices that are unique to human services centers in the areas of client attraction, client experience and collaboration.

Thank You To Our Report Sponsor:

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