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Can You Use a Homeless Shelter as an Address?

Yes. It is very much possible to use a homeless shelter as an address in the United States; however, it might not be advisable owing to the fact that it could pose numerous challenges, particularly in getting your important documents promptly.

As such, it is recommended you only make use of a more stable address. This can include the address of a friend or family member, especially when it is for anything official.

If as a person you are dealing with severe homelessness, ensure to ask the appropriate quarters or even the management of your shelter since local resources and social services could help with finding a more stable living situation or even a more secure and permanent address.

Pros and Cons Of Using a Homeless Shelter as an Address

While it is possible to use a homeless shelter as an address in the United States, note there are pros and cons that come with this decision. They include;


  • Mail and Communication Access: This is one of the benefits that come with using a homeless shelter as an address. Note that it makes it possible for prospective employers, government agencies, or service providers to reach you easily even when you are dealing with severe homelessness.
  • Resource Availability: By leveraging a homeless shelter as your address, it makes it easier to access resources that are provided by the shelter, including perks like job assistance programs, medical services, and support networks.
  • Temporary Stability: It can be very challenging for anyone dealing with homelessness, and while it might not be the best option, using the shelter as an address ensures you have a temporary address and that you can have access to certain services and establish a degree of stability during a challenging period.
  • Legal and Government Documentation: Since you are void of options, it makes it easier to use the shelter’s address for vital documents such as identification cards and government paperwork.


  • Stigma and Discrimination: One thing to understand is that using a homeless shelter as an address will definitely give rise to social stigma, and this could also lead to discrimination in numerous aspects of life, such as employment and housing opportunities.
  • Limited Privacy: Also note that using a shelter address could in numerous ways compromise privacy, since it goes to buttress a transient living situation, and thus could negatively impact how others perceive and interact with you.
  • Challenges in Employment: In the United States, a good number of employers view a shelter address in the wrong light, and this can impact job prospects while also making it more daunting to find or secure employment.
  • Housing Applications: If you are applying for housing, note that making use of a shelter address could prove to be a stumbling block, especially since landlords have reservations or issues when it comes to stability and reliability.
  • Difficulty Establishing Credit: Leveraging the address of your shelter might make it daunting and complicated when it comes to establishing a credit history, and this is quite important for all financial transactions and stability.
  • Limited Long-Term Solutions: Although this can prove to be a temporary solution, keep in mind that it won’t in any way address the basic causes of homelessness, and individuals might have to put up with challenges in securing permanent housing.

Alternatives of Using a Homeless Shelter as an Address

While it is possible to use a homeless shelter as an address, note that it is not a viable option. As such, if you are dealing with homelessness and looking for alternatives, here are options to consider;

  • Friend or Family Address: Reach out to a friend or family member to see if you can make use of their address. Keep in mind that this provides a more stable location for receiving mail.
  • General Delivery: It is possible to receive mail by addressing it to your name, c/o General Delivery, city, state, and ZIP code.
  • PO. Box: Although this can be out of the question due to the cost; howbeit, note that renting a P.O. Box ensures that you can benefit from a secure and reliable address for receiving mail. A good number of organizations might not accept P.O. Box addresses, as such ensure to verify beforehand.
  • Community Organizations: A good number of community organizations, churches, or outreach programs in the United States make available mail services or assistance when it relates to finding stable housing. Make sure to ask around locally regarding available resources.
  • Government Assistance Programs: Take your time to reach out to social services or local government agencies that are meant to help persons dealing with homelessness. Note that this might very well provide guidance on obtaining a stable address.