NEED HELP NOW? 1800-448-3000
Fact Sheet

Crisis resources: Shelter, food and support services


If you’re in crisis, whatever the situation, you’re not alone. Rest assured, help is out there; by reaching this page you’re halfway there.  If you’re in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 for emergencies or 1-800-RUNAWAY if you have left home or are considering leaving home. You can also call 2-1-1 if you are seeking local support services in certain active counties*. If you need support at anytime, you can call any of the free confidential services on the chart below 24/7. Use the following chart to assess your situation:

Your situation Who can help            Contact Information How they can help
Worried about hurting yourself National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Live chat:  (2 p.m. – 2 a.m. EST)
A trained counselor can provide crisis support and information options to help you cope.
You are thinking about leaving home or have run away National Runaway Safeline 1-800-RUNAWAY For bulletin board, live chat and email options: Help work out the best next steps for you. If appropriate, they can locate local resources including:

‌• Family mediation to help improve your home life
‌• Youth shelters
‌• Street outreach
‌• Transitional living programs
‌• Mental health services
Dealing with a difficult situation ‌• Your Life Your Voice ‌

• California Youth Crisis Line
Your Life Your Voice

Email support and live chat
Mon-Thurs, 7:30-12 a.m. CST:

California Youth Crisis Line
‌• Your Life Your Voice youth helpline, run by Boys Town for everyone, offers national support, information and referrals for housing, financial counseling services.

‌• If you're in California, the California Youth Crisis Line can help you find homeless youth shelters, youth-serving medical clinics, on-going counseling services and much more throughout the state.
Looking for a meal Free food Locate free and low-cost local services for meals and non-perishable food.

*Note:Services for young people in need vary from city to city with more programs in well-populated cities than rural communities. Click here for details.

You can look up the availability of 2-1-1 in your local area by entering your zip code or city on the nationwide 2-1-1 site. If you're in California, you can also use this map of active service areas. If 2-1-1 is unavailable in your area, you can always call the National Runaway Safeline (1-800-RUNAWAY) for information and referrals or the Boys Town helpline (1-800-448-300 for support.

First steps: You can take the first step towards finding the help you need by picking up the phone or starting a chat with a trained counselor at one of the sites listed above. This is especially important if you are thinking of leaving home or have recently left home. Trained professionals work with you to determine if family conflict can be resolved, staying/ returning home is an option, or if you need support to help you become independent and live away from home.

We know you may be feeling scared, worried or angry. Counselors can help you process those feelings; provide completely confidential support and discover options you may not have considered including finding someone who can work with you to help you and your family. For more information, check out this fact sheet on what to expect when calling a help line. Whatever you’re going through, we strongly encourage you to call or chat today before taking your next step. It is never too late to reach out.

In the case that you feel unable to stay or return home…

We’re here to help break down the most common services youth need in times of crisis. These include shelters, food services and support services.Whether you’re looking for a bed for the night, a hot meal or emotional support, help is nearby.

If you are able to pick up the phone, the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) at 1-800-RUNAWAY can provide resources for all of your basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, etc, NRS is also available online via email, bulletin board, and chat.

Below is a rundown of typical resources, the services they offer and some helpful tips to get you what you need as quickly and conveniently as possible.


Overview: Shelters provide a temporary place to stay when you feel you are unable to go home (also see our Homelessness fact sheet). Shelters are available in most large cities, and a growing number of smaller cities as well.

If you are enrolled in school (K-12) and do not have stable or healthy housing, you also have access to a liaison through the McKinney Vento program who can help you with things like transportation, clothing, and toiletries so you can attend school.

How to find them:

  • Non-emergency police number (i.e., 3-1-1)
  • City hall information center: You can find contact information for your city hall by entering the name of your city and the phrase “city hall” into a search engine (ex. “San Francisco City Hall”) and clicking on the official website. This should come up high in the search results and have a url that ends in an .org or .gov.
  • 1-800-RUNAWAY or National Runaway Safeline website


Food Services

Overview:There are a variety of emergency food services available to those in need. Some supply canned goods and jars of food that are easy to preserve while others provide hot meals at designated times during the day.

How to find them:

Support Services and Supply Providers

Overview: Support services provide a wide variety of resources from clothing, blankets and hygiene kits to counseling, job training and referrals for emergency shelters or transitional living programs. Some organizations provide crisis-intervention and counseling services.

How to find them:

  • 1-800-RUNAWAY
  • 2-1-1 (Provides information and referrals for local services in certain counties in California.)
  • National organizations Goodwill and the Salvation Army provide a range of crisis services that vary according to site with a general focus on clients 18 or older.

support services

Get the help you need today. Contact Your Life Your Voice, Lifeline,1-800-RUNAWAY or 2-1-1 today.


More information

If you live in the United States and are seeking immediate help for a specific issue, go here for a list of National Hotlines


Where to Next?

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