The Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution‘s own Mattie Robertson (Deputy Director of CNDR) spent the past month training Shelter Client Advocates from the Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC). The EDC is based here in the Tenderloin near UC Hastings, so CNDR was proud to support our neighbors and community!

Shelter Advocates work with residents of homeless shelters funded by the City and County of San Francisco. They are charged with monitoring shelter conditions and the application of shelter rules, acting as informal conflict resolvers between the shelters and their clients, and assisting clients in appealing denials of service.

This work requires superior communication and negotiation skills to navigate and resolve the conflicts that arise in the shelters, so CNDR sought to give the Shelter Advocates tools to support their clients and the shelter staff in creating a safe space for all.

The workshops took place online via Microsoft Teams to accommodate social distancing, and the high level of engagement proved that skills-based learning can be done virtually.

The month-long training consisted of a series of workshops focusing on strengthening the dispute resolution skills of the Advocates in various areas:

  • Conflict styles and personalities recognition
  • Demeanor, language choice, and building trust with parties
  • Effective representation and interest-based negotiation skills
  • Power imbalances and managing anger

CNDR thanks the Eviction Defense Collaborative and its wonderfully dedicated Shelter Client Advocates for all their work!