Homeless Shelter Licensing

Employee List
Criminal Record Statement

All forms in PDF format

The Homeless Shelters and Transitional Housing Licensing Program is established by local Ordinance 115.001 through 115.010 to locally license facilities that provide housing and associated services for those who are homeless or in transition. This licensing ensures that the facilities are providing minimum safety standards for their residents and are in compliance with applicable building, health and fire codes as well as zoning codes and regulations.


For the purposes of the licensing program the following definitions are used:

CAMPUS. Shelters located on contiguous lots that are operated by the same operator.

HOMELESS or HOMELESS INDIVIDUAL OR PERSON. An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is:

  • A supervised publicly or privately operated homeless shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); or

  • An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or

  • A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

HOMELESS SHELTER. A facility the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary shelter for the homeless. The facility provides overnight sleeping accommodations with or without charge; may provide meals and ancillary social, educational or health services. The facility is staffed. No facility that is operated by the American Red Cross or other like entities to accommodate disaster victims who are left homeless due to events such as fires, flood, or hazardous materials releases that is operated under the Louisville/Jefferson County Emergency Operations Plan is included.

OPERATOR. The person or group that runs transitional housing or a homeless shelter.

RESIDENT. A person properly registered or signed into a shelter for overnight occupancy that uses any or all of the services of a shelter.

SHELTER. Transitional housing or a homeless shelter.

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING. A temporary residential living arrangement for persons participating in a program that provides supportive services (such as counseling, education, training, etc.) to help persons achieve personal independence. Staff is available as needed. Transitional housing is not a rehabilitation home (as defined in the Land Development Code).


No person, firm, or corporation shall own or operate a shelter on any premises within Jefferson County unless an annual license for the operation of a shelter has been applied for and issued by the Director for the premises and the license remains in effect in conformity with the provisions of this subchapter.

Licenses shall be valid from the date of issuance until the next occurring September 1st, whether or not the next occurring September 1st is within the same calendar year as the grant of the license, unless the license has been suspended or revoked.

Each owner or operator of a shelter licensed under this subchapter shall post the operator's license, in a conspicuous place at or near the entrance to such shelter so that it may be easily read at any time.

Application for renewal of a license shall be made at least 90 days, but not before 210 days, before the expiration of the current license.

If the renewal application and/or the annual fee are not tendered in a timely fashion, the Director shall serve notice to the operator that the failure to submit the renewal application and/or the annual fee within ten business days will be deemed an abandonment of the license as of the above-referenced renewal deadline. Service of the notice required by this section shall be deemed complete upon certified mailing, return receipt requested, or personal delivery.


Each annual application for a license to operate a shelter shall be in writing and notarized. See forms below.

A nonrefundable fee of $100 shall accompany the application for a shelter. A nonrefundable fee of $150 shall accompany the application for a campus.

An annual application for a license must be made for each separate shelter or campus.


When an application is received, the Department shall refer a copy of the application to the appropriate Metro Government agencies, which shall cause the facilities to be inspected to determine if the facilities meet the zoning, health, sanitation, structural, fire, and safety requirements set out in any applicable state and local laws, and report such information to the Department.


A license to operate a shelter shall be issued to the applicant by the Department within ten business days after receipt of the inspection reports by the appropriate reviewing agencies, if the application is fully and accurately completed and if the required inspections reveal that the shelter meets the zoning, health, sanitation, structural, fire, and safety requirements of any currently applicable federal, state and local laws as may be amended from time to time. However, no license shall be issued by the Department if any one of the following is found to be true:

  • The applicant or any of its owners, officers, directors, or employees that have direct contact with a child at the shelter will check to confirm that a criminal record is not had involving a felony violation of any crime against a minor, or an equivalent law of another jurisdiction within ten years next preceding the date of application, or any violation of this ordinance; or

  • An applicant is delinquent in the payment to Metro Government of taxes, fees, fines or penalties assessed against or imposed upon the applicant in relation to a shelter; or

  • The license fee required by subsection (B) above has not been paid; or

  • The proposed shelter is located in a zoning district other than a district in which shelters are allowed to operate under the applicable zoning regulations of Metro Government; or

  • The applicant's premises have been found by the Director to not be in compliance with laws or regulations of any applicable federal, state or local governments.


Each separate shelter shall be in compliance with any currently applicable laws and regulations of the federal, state, or local governments, as may be amended from time to time including but not limited to, laws or regulations on nondiscrimination, zoning, building, safety, property maintenance, food sanitation, health and sanitation, fire, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, reporting the dependency, abuse or neglect of minor children, and other applicable laws.

Please contact the Department at for additional information about this Licensing program, or refer to Ordinance 115.001 through 115.010.