A shelter is a free place to sleep if you have nowhere else to go. Shelters are also sometimes called ‘hostels’. If you are homeless, feel unsafe in your own home, or are in an emergency situation where you need a place to stay, you should think about going to a shelter.
You can stay at some shelters for a short time, and others will let you stay longer.
Shelters also have basic services like bathrooms, showers, laundry, clothes and meals. Some shelters also have healthcare services, counselling, legal help, and job search training. Each shelter has its own rules about who is allowed to stay, for how long, and what services it provides. Shelter services are free.
Are Shelters Safe?
Shelters have highly-trained and knowledgeable staff. Even though they try their best to keep shelters as safe as possible, some shelters might be safer places for you than others. For example, some females may feel safer in a women's shelter. If you feel that going to a general shelter may be unsafe for you, for whatever reason, think about going to a specific shelter.
There are many specialty shelters that are only open to people from certain groups, like:
- Queer youth
- New immigrants and refugees
- Single women, single mothers, women in abusive relationships
- Single men
- People with disabilities
Where Can I Find One?
Find a shelter near you, or for youth or newcomers.