Places that homeless people can stay

Updated February 21, 2017

Homelessness affects people from all walks of life; they can be women and children who are victims of domestic violence, pregnant teens and young mothers, and unemployed men and women. Organizations like Care for the Homeless make it their mission to treat homeless with the respect and care they deserve, and offer mental health and substance abuse counselling, social services and housing. There are more homeless people than places to house them, but opportunities for shelter are increasing.


Homeless people often stay at shelters. Shelters typically provide a warm place to sleep, a hot meal and an opportunity to shower. Some also offer employment or education assistance. Shelters offer varying lengths of stay; some allow individuals to stay overnight only and require them to leave during working daytime hours, while others permit residents to live there for 30 days or more. Shelters may have gender and age restrictions; there are shelters that cater only to men, those only allow women and children, as well as shelters that permit youths to stay.

Transitional Housing

Transitional housing is another option available for homeless people. According to, a national database of transitional housing, guests can stay for between two weeks and 24 months. The National Coalition for the Homeless reported that as of 2009, the average length of time American families stayed in transitional housing was 223 days. Some transitional housing, such as RISE Inc. in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, offers career planning, job training and job placement, as well as support services.

Hotels and Hostels

Hostels and hotels offer shelter to homeless and typically require residents pay a fee. For hotels, this fee can be for nightly, weekly or monthly stays; for hostels, it's typically a small fee for meals. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 19 per cent of American homeless people are employed. Shelter, a housing and homelessness charity in England, reports that some hostels require a referral from an agency.

Friends and Family

The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that as of 2009, 34 per cent of the homeless population in America stay with friends and family; this could be as a result of domestic violence, loss of or inability to find adequate employment, or illness. According to the site, single people and families in America are often required to bunk up with friends or relatives in crowded, temporary situations. While this qualifies as homelessness, it is more difficult to quantify than those who reside in shelters, transitional housing and hotels.

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About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.