Transitional and short term housing programs.

Families that are homeless or facing imminent eviction are the primary beneficiaries of transitional housing programs and emergency shelters. Most counties, some of which are listed below, have one or more non-profit agencies near you that administer these resources for qualified residents. The goal of these various free transitional housing programs are to help families both live independently and move into long term, permanent housing or apartments. They also offer a number of supportive services in an effort to meet that objective.

Transitional housing is an effort by states, non-profits, charities and local governments to develop and implement housing, case management, and other care for of people who are experiencing a specific, time-limited challenge. Examples can include a short term reduction in work hours, individuals that need help in a transition from hospitalization to independent living, formerly homeless individuals that are well on the way to regaining self-sufficiency, and other cases in which someone needs assistance.

Homeless shelters are a form of assistance program that provides individuals or families a temporary place to stay. There is normally no cost to use a center and a location will sometimes allow a homeless person to stay for a couple weeks, but some are only for overnight stays. The housing is often a dormitory-style center that unfortunately does not allow a significant amount of privacy. Individuals will also receive meals, basic needs such as clothing, and personal hygiene items. On occasion a shelter may be full, or maybe the non-profit has extra funding. In these cases motel vouchers may be passed out to pay for a night or so of lodging.

Whether you turn to an emergency shelter or transitional housing program near you, social workers and staff from a non-profit will almost always offer advocacy. That is the name of a service that offers support measures to people facing eviction or the currently homeless. Staff work with the government and other groups on the need for shelter, transitional and permanent housing, basic human rights, and even food and medical care.

Information on short term transitional housing resources

The specifics and details on each program can vary considerably. While a shelter is usually used for a night or two, a transitional housing program can often provide assistance for 90 days or more. In some instances a non-profit may provide support for up to two years. The supportive and case management services that are provided by the organization at the same time can run for the same period of time.





The transitional housing services are usually available in apartment style facilities. Families may even receive their own unit to live in. Short-term homeless shelters will often have a more open floor plan and not as much privacy. Both resources may be provided at no cost to the family or individual that is enrolled.

Non-profits will often provide their assistance to specific groups or people. Examples can be housing solutions for veterans, substance abuse problems, single parents, mentally ill, homeless domestic violence victims, or individuals with AIDS/HIV.

When all of the shelters as well as transitional housing units are full, then free vouchers may be available to pay for a motel stay or hotel room. They are only offered in certain cases by a few, select number of organizations. When available, it will usually only pay for a stay of a couple nights and will come with a number of conditions. Some of the programs may use the free vouchers to allocate the limited space in a shelter system. Or it may be used to pay for a portion of the clients costs towards a transitional housing apartment or home. More on free motel vouchers.

Churches that are part of Family Promise offer homeless families with children access to transitional housing and other support services. Volunteers work with the individual to find solutions as well, including help them find employment and a new, permanent home or low income apartment to live in. Those staying in the shelter or transitional housing units can receive meals, free gasoline to get to a job interview, clothing, case management and much more. Read more on Family Promise and Interfaith.

Supportive housing from National Church Residences - They are one of the nation's leading faith based groups that offers housing solutions. They may offer transitional as well as low income apartments and other programs. The elderly, disabled, homeless, and others may all qualify. National Church Residences is mostly focused on those vulnerable groups (sick, seniors, etc) who are most at risk if they were to be homeless.

Assistance for the chronically homeless - An innovative HUD sponsored program known as Housing First can be used for individuals that have been struggling over many months or years. This option will often bypass a shelter or transitional housing program and instead move the family right into their own home or apartment. They then receive support services.




in general, the applicant needs to have an income and be able to pay some of the rent cost on their own. their income can be from a job, SSI disability, or another source. It emphasizes the disabled, mentally ill, people that are in long term poverty, and survivors of domestic violence. More on Housing First for the homeless.

Some families need to live in transitional housing as it is too difficult for them to find a new home due to a history of one or more evictions. Some landlords will not lease to those individuals as they may be considered to be higher risk, so the families lives in a transitional apartment so they can rebuild their credit, save money for a security deposit, and more. But in these instances there are other ways to get help as well, and find how to rent with a past eviction.

Low income permanent homes

As indicated, the goal of every single town, city, and state is to ensure people have a safe and affordable home or apartment to live in for the long term. So the non-profit or government agency has a few different approaches to take to meet this objective. These permanent programs are often run in partnership with the local shelter or transitional housing programs.

Some of the transitional housing programs will allow families and individuals to continue living in the same apartment complex or home. They may be able to do this until they regain self-sufficiency and are able to move into permanent housing. The client will normally need to be working, have an income, and take initiative to gain stability.

Sometimes the permanent home or apartment may be offered as part of government subsidized public housing units. Privately owned units may be used as well, but those rentals will often be paid for using the tenant-based rent voucher subsidy. In those cases a percent of the individuals income will need to be used to pay their monthly rent and energy costs.

One alternative solution is a post-domestic violence shelter program. This is when a non-profit or the government will make low income, affordable rental housing available to women and their children that are coming directly out of a domestic violence shelter. The individual will often generally be able to access legal advocacy and other services during this timeframe.

The permanent housing will be based on availability, government funding, and will depend on what part of the country you live in. Some of the available units used may include low income single-family houses, apartments, duplexes, single-room occupancy housing or group homes. No matter the type, they will be safe, clean, and affordable.





Any type of transitional or long term program will provide tenants with the rights of tenancy under their local and state law. So this helps ensure the units are clean, protects them with eviction rights, and will provide renters with access to state or local landlord/tenant laws.

When placed into these long term housing programs, participants will need to attend ongoing case management. This will address a number of potential issues and provide assistance. Examples can include intensive mental health services, substance abuse, employment or other services, vocational support, and training. These classes and workshops may be offered on-site or off-site at a partner non-profit agency.

Information on transitional housing and shelter programs by county and state

Resources are offered by numerous agencies, including non-profits as well as local and state government organizations. They can also provide referrals to other nearby towns or cities. Select your county below.

Alameda County

Bexar County

Broward County

Clark County Nevada

Contra Costa County

Cook County

Cuyahoga County

Dallas County

Fresno County

Harris County

Hennepin County

Hillsborough County

King County Washington

Los Angeles County

Maricopa County

Mecklenburg County

Miami-Dade County

Middlesex County MA

New York City


Orange County California

Orange County FL

Palm Beach County

Philadelphia County

Pima County

Riverside County

Sacramento County

San Bernardino County

San Diego County

Santa Clara County

Suffolk and Nassau County NY

Tarrant County

Travis County

Wake County

Wayne County









The above list is only a sampling of some counties and cities. If your region is not listed, short term housing assistance is still more than likely available. In order to locate additional resources that may be more convenient to you, find state aid and assistance.

In addition to that, the Salvation army also operates thousands of overnight shelters as well as transitional housing units across the country. Some are free, others may be income based. The charity also provide support to alcohol or drug abusers, women fleeing violence, and others facing extreme hardships. Find a Salvation Army assistance program near you, and inquire into their transitional housing programs.


By Jon McNamara

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