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Allegiance Bank Customer Spotlight: Every Shelter

Every Shelter’s mission is to relieve suffering and grow resiliency for those displaced by war, persecution, and disaster through the design, creation, and delivery of shelter products. There are 82.4 million refugees in the world today, and less than 1% will have the opportunity to resettle in a developed country. Every Shelter’s focus is on creating new innovations to aid these refugees and their families. They manufacture modular shelter flooring systems and long-lasting shelter tarps made from repurposed billboards in impoverished settings to create employment opportunities in these areas. Every Shelter also serves disaster victims here in the United States with their billboard tarps products, helping over 11,000 people in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Laura in 2020.

Early Beginnings

Scott Key, Founder of Every Shelter, started out working for many years in large-scale construction management and the design field. However, he always knew that he was truly passionate towards applying his education and experience in a humanitarian context. When Scott was 18, he spent the summer doing construction grunt work on a hospital compound in rural Nigeria. He was there with engineers and electricians from his church who were making much needed repairs to the electrical and water filtration system for a hospital that served the local population. He was struck by both the need he saw in the community and the applicability of utilizing a professional skill set in these settings.

Several years later, while completing a Masters of Architecture at Rice University, Scott and his Every Shelter co-founder started what would become their first product, Emergency Floor. They found early success with IKEA’s BetterShelter and USAID’s DIV program. While they worked to grow the business on weekends and nights, they worked day jobs fielding research and field pilots in Iraq and Lebanon in refugee camps. Ultimately, they grew the organization and were able to transition to full time. Every Shelter currently has a staff of five in Texas, the UAE, and Uganda.

Looking to the Future

In ten years, Scott wants Every Shelter to be global leaders in the non-profit space. The rate and duration of displacement grows every year and there is a desperate need for smarter, modern solutions to serve families. When Every Shelter was founded, Scott thought the business would be product innovators, but they quickly realized that to create better products, they needed to create better systems.

Every Shelter and Allegiance Bank

Prior to starting Every Shelter, Scott was working on an expansion at the church he attended, and wanted to purchase an old, dormant church building that needed a massive renovation to serve as the sanctuary and fellowship hall for a growing congregation. The church had visited with several banks when looking for a lender, many of whom did not share Scott and the rest of the church’s vision for the older building. After meeting with Allegiance, the church was struck by the team’s ability to see the future they also saw in such an overlooked space. The project is now complete and serves the church extremely well. Scott is thankful that Allegiance took the time to see beyond the grunge when other banks did not.

When Scott formed Every Shelter, he decided to utilize the services of a massive, international bank since much of their work is overseas – which he realizes now was a mistake. Scott shares that the benefits promised were not there materially and the service received was impersonal and often a barrier to carry out their work. They missed the personal connection that he saw in Allegiance when they worked together on the church’s expansion, and so Every Shelter made the switch to Allegiance Bank.

Steve Rife, Interim Bank Office President at our Woodway location, is proud to have supported Every Shelter with a PPP loan in 2020. Steve helped Scott navigate the complexities of PPP loans when working through some lean months during the height of the pandemic when many donors shut down their funding streams. Steve shares that he is proud to know Scott and to have seen firsthand Every Shelter’s evolution into developing a much improved “wrap” to go around a simple wood structure that protects people in need from the elements. Steve came out to visit Every Shelter’s prototype shelter one Saturday and Scott shares that he can’t imagine many other bankers coming out on a weekend to do that!

At Allegiance Bank, our smallest customers know that we are going to provide them with the attention and service that they need, and our largest customers know that they will get the same. Every Shelter makes a true impact on the quality of life for so many. We are proud to support their successes so they can continue to improve the lives of others less fortunate.

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