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Stable shelter with modern utilities, such as running water, electricity, restroom facilities, and heating and air conditioning systems is vital to overall physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellness. Shelter provides physical protection from nature (i.e. weather) as well as dangerous insects and animals. Adequate shelter also provides mental, emotional and spiritual stability by providing a secure place to call home, store supplies, and to feel safe and protected. 


Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness

Indicators of thriving include:

  • A sense of safety from the elements
  • A sense of stability, calm and peace
  • Space and location meets lifestyle needs, such as privacy, layout, accessibility to work, school and community
  • Space is free from health hazards such as toxic mold, asbestos or other materials that may cause harm
  • A feeling of overall safety and security in one’s own home and neighborhood
  • Ability to pay for shelter and utilities
  • Ability to focus on other life needs, such as work, school and play

Warning Signs

Warning signs include: 

  • Physical space does not protect from the elements (i.e. leaking roof, no electricity, lack of heating or air conditioning)
  • Physical space is not conducive to lifestyle needs, such a lack of privacy, poor layout, or being too far from school, work or community
  • Feeling unsafe in one’s own home
  • Feeling unsafe in one’s own neighborhood 
  • Inability to pay for shelter such as rent or mortgage
  • High levels of stress, anxiety or depression
  • Inability to focus on other life needs
  • Physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health in overall decline
  • Relationship with self and others suffering
  • Increase in addictions or criminal behavior


Adequate shelter is a primary human need. It provides a sense of safety and stability which are both essential to overall health and wellbeing. When safe, stable shelter is unavailable or threatened (i.e. pending eviction), the body and mind’s survival mechanisms kick in. Over time, this can lead to mental and physical health issues, addictions, and even criminal behaviors. Ask yourself: Does my space provide for my basic needs and enable me to pursue long term goals? Do I feel safe and secure in my own home and neighborhood? Does my income match my needs and goals? These answers can help you determine what steps you might need to take. 



  • Evaluate your living situation to determine if you need to make changes in situation, location or employment
  • Make home improvements as needed to gain a sense of comfort, safety and security
  • Consider options such as moving or increasing financial support (i.e. roommates, financial vouchers, etc.) as needed
  • Talk to a real estate agent or search for homes online


Stable, safe and secure shelter is one of the most vital human needs. If warning signs are present, you may need support.




If you or someone you know’s life is being threatened by the elements or another person:

  • Dial 911; or
  • Go the nearest hospital emergency room