Free Hotel or Motel Vouchers for the Homeless or Emergencies
Most cities throughout the county have non-profits that provide emergency shelter for 1 to 3 nights through the distribution of hotel and motel vouchers. Organizations that provide vouchers have different criteria on what they consider an emergency and to whom they will provide a voucher too.
In many cases, they are reserved for the homeless and are only provided once all other emergency shelters are full. Below are some examples of other situations where vouchers are provided.
Seasonal – Vouchers are often passed out during heat waves or colder winter months
Age/Specific group – Vouchers can be targeted to seniors, disabled, veterans, single parents with children, families with children, the sick.
Situational – Loss of home through fire, flood or other unexpected event, those fleeing a bad situation (abuse), recently evicted.
The above are some of the more common situations that non-profits consider serious. This is not an exhaustive list and if you are dealing with serious circumstances that requires emergency shelter you should reach out to your local non-profit.
Organizations that provide hotel or motel vouchers
Vouchers are generally provided by local non-profits or churches, in some instances different state governments may provide assistance – through partnerships that they fund. Below are a few of the more popular non for profits that help on a national level.
The United Way
They have strong relationships from the government to private sector to assist with low income and emergency shelter needs. If your in need of urgent shelter at a hotel, motel or other form of housing The United Way may be able to assist. Find shelter near you here 211UnitedWay.
The Salvation Army provides a range of services for short, medium and long term housing solutions. Anything from emergency hotel or motel vouchers to transitional housing and permanent supportive housing. If your dealing with homelessness, enter in your zip code here to find available shelter and vouchers here.
St Vincent de Paul
Vinnies offers a range of sheltering vouchers for hotels, motels and other dwellings. Should shelters be full, they also offer basic needs for unhoused individuals. This allows experiencing homelessness access to showers, clothes and other hygiene and essential daily needs items. Its a great service whilst trying to find sheltering availability. Get help and search vouchers and other important services here.
American Red Cross
Like other large charities, the Red Cross has a vast network of partners to assist with a range of living needs. Find open shelters (motel, hotel or other emergency shelter vouchers) here. Review shelters, post-recovery shelters, disaster shelters and more.
National Council of YMCA
YMCA's across the country have their own emergency shelter programs which may include hotel vouchers. With many, the programs are specific to those between the ages of 18 into the twenties and young families. Assistance can range across emergencies, bridge housing, transitional housing, housing for disabilities and section 8. Visit your local YMCA to get assistance. You can search this directory by zip code to find your nearest Y.
How to Qualify for a Voucher
The restriction for vouchers will vary based on the organization and your situation. If you are need of shelter, contact one of the above organizations or a religious based org like a Catholic church. In addition, speaking to your local community action agency can be beneficial as they can potentially provide additional assistance.
The Catholic church and Christian organizations often have partnerships with local hotels and motels to assist with emergency shelter vouchers. These resources definitely help many regional or smaller communities that may not have the larger non-profits or a dedicated community action agency available.
Government Based Emergency Housing Vouchers
Lastly, the government may be able to provide you with emergency housing vouchers. These vouchers are generally specific to at risk families or individuals with regards to domestic violence or other dangerous situations. Learn more about the government Emergency Housing Vouchers here.
In addition to short term or overnight shelter - learn about assistance for rent or a mortgage.