What to do if you are experiencing homelessness


Contact your local 211 line

If you or your loved ones are in immediate danger call 911.

For all other concerns you can call your local social services hot line at 2-1-1 or in some places, 3-1-1. The folks who answer these hot lines can give you information specific to your community such as how to apply for and access emergency shelter, domestic violence assistance, prevention funds (like rental assistance), rapid re-housing (6-18 months of rent), food programs, medical assistance and a variety of other programs. The array of shelter services is referred to as the “Continuum of Care”. Federal policy generally requires all people in need of shelter to be processed for eligibility through a “coordinated entry” point. So you may be directed to one of these places. Be aware that unless tell these people that you are literally homeless (living on the street or in a place unfit for human habitation) they are unlikely to help you. So be sure to emphasize that you are literally homeless.

We concede that at this point, federal policies have created a bottleneck effect where lots of people in need are waiting for long periods of time just to have their homelessness verified - and thus, not getting any help at all.

If you are unable to get assistance through coordinated entry you can contact local churches, philanthropic groups, and other private providers.

NCHCW is working at the federal level to restore compassion, common sense, and local control to your communities. If you have a story you would like to share about your experiences navigating the current system, click the link on this page.

Be strong and know that others are thinking of you. You will make it through this struggle.

Our Commitment

We are committed to telling the stories of people who are struggling to make ends meet. We are committed to making sure that public policy accurately reflects the lived experience of people who experience housing challenges. Please reach out to us if you would like to share your story.

Share your story