Where Can I Go If I Am Homeless?

can-am-homeless Credit: Image by Tianxiao Zhang/Moment/Getty Images

There are a number of options for shelter for someone experiencing homelessness, but they vary greatly by region. Some possibilities are homeless shelters, legal vehicle or tent campsites, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and charity organizations that provide motel vouchers.

Some regions have homeless shelters that are run by either the local government or a charity organization. According to the United Way, in some areas, calling the number 211 provides information and referrals to shelters and homeless services. Many cities also have "drop-in centers" where homeless people can speak to a case worker and get a referral to a shelter.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, homeless shelters and services administered by religious organizations are generally allowed to require those seeking food or shelter to first sit through up to an hour of religious services. If the episode of homelessness is caused by substance abuse, a referral to a residential rehabilitation program may be possible.

The Los Angeles Times reports that some regions have "safe parking" programs that allow homeless people with vehicles to legally park and sleep in them for the night. These sites often provide water and toiletries on-site. Certain cities have also allowed legal "tent city" campsites that are overseen by the city and have admission requirements.

Some charity organizations issue "motel vouchers" for homeless families in need, allowing them to temporarily stay at budget motels for free or for very low cost.