Every shelter is different, but usually you can expect that:

  • Shelters are free — no fees are charged to stay.
  • Most shelters have shared kitchens, common areas, and bathrooms.
  • If you have children, you will probably all share one bedroom.
  • If you are alone, you may have to share a room.
  • You are responsible for taking care of your own children.
  • All shelters must welcome service animals.
  • However, most shelters cannot accommodate pets. They will work with you to make arrangements to have your pets cared for elsewhere.
  • Shelters have laundry facilities and supply linens (sheets, towels and blankets).
  • They usually have emergency food, clothing and toiletries available for the first few days of a stay.
  • Shelters can be stressful — this is group living with others who are experiencing tough times.
  • You will be asked to honor the privacy of other residents by not discussing their names or situations with anyone else.
  • Shelters are concerned about everybody’s safety, so you may be asked to keep the location a secret.
  • Visitors are generally not allowed.

Some shelters:

  • Allow you to bring your pets.
  • Have computers you can use to check your email and access online resources.
  • Offer free cell phones for 911 calls only.

Before you call a shelter think about the things that are of biggest concern to you. Ask for all the details you need so you’ll feel as comfortable as possible making your important decisions