If you are facing homelessness, these tips can help you prepare for and work through the situation.
If You’re About to Become Homeless
- Make sure your state ID or driver’s license is current and available. Shelters and assistance programs may have strict ID requirements.
- If possible, store your belongings. Shelters have limits on how much you may bring.
- Arrange for your mail to be delivered somewhere or rent a P.O. box.
- Pack a bag for yourself and each member of your family.
- Keep important documents and needed medications with you.
To Find Housing
- Check to see what shelter and housing and human or social services programs your state offers. The types of facilities vary. Research the best options by calling or visiting housing websites to determine:
- Cost – Most shelters are free, but some may charge a small fee. Most facilities that provide residential drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs charge a fee. Many, however, are low cost, accept Medicaid, or operate on a sliding scale based on your income.
- Length of stay – This can vary from a couple of weeks to several months.
- Types of services – Some facilities just provide safe shelter for the night, while others are transitional, providing both housing and support services. Support services may include substance abuse treatment, psychological assistance, job training, or domestic violence assistance.
- Apply for more permanent public or subsidized housing. Typically, there are waiting lists for public and subsidized housing, so apply as soon as possible.
These resources are geared toward specific audiences:
- Transitional Living Program for Youth – provides homeless youth with stable, safe living accommodations for up to 21 months.
- Street Outreach – services include education, outreach, access to emergency shelter, survival aid, counseling, information and referral, crisis intervention, and follow up support.
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Basic Center Programs – provide emergency shelter services to runaway and homeless youth.
- Homeless Veterans Assistance Center – services include opportunities to return to employment, safe housing, health care, and mental health services.
- VA Homeless Veterans Resources – coordinates VA services with community agencies and federal, state, and local governments to help veterans.
People with mental illness
- Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) – provides assistance to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have serious mental illnesses.
Other Resources to Help
Benefits.gov can help you find out if you are eligible and how to apply for other types of assistance including financial, transportation, food, counseling, and more.
If you don’t have medical insurance, HRSA health centers can provide checkups, treatment when you are sick, care when you are pregnant, and immunizations for your children.