Where I Live

The “101”

It’s okay that you haven’t given much thought before to where you live. We use the term “living arrangement” because not all young people have a “home, sweet home.” Your living arrangement could be your family home, someone else’s home, your own apartment or house, a group facility for people with special needs, in state custody, or experiencing homelessness, a motel, a car, or an outdoor location like the woods or a campground.

You might not have a lot of choice, or autonomy, about where you live just now. That decision might be made by an adult responsible for your housing or holding control over you. Or, you may not have the resources to choose your ideal living arrangement.

Some things to pay attention to about where you live as you get more independence are whether the place is healthy and secure, and also if the neighborhood feels safe.

Where you live is an important component of your healthy future. People need a place to sleep, to store food, to keep their belongings, to study outside of school, to relax after work, and to keep out of harm’s way.

Reflect On It

Write in your journal (download journal) any thoughts you have as you think about this topic, using the questions below:

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Characteristics of a Healthy Living Arrangement A healthy living arrangement is one that is dry, clean, ventilated, contaminant-free, pest-free, safe for all dwellers (including babies, young children, older adults, and people with disabilities), maintained, and energy-efficient. Read about these eight healthy home elements.

Neighborhood Safety Tips Learn about staying safe in your neighborhood. 

Take action!

Conduct a Living Arrangement Safety Check

Ask the person responsible for the place you live for permission to conduct a safety check of the place. Get a set of free household safety checklists. Be sure that the person responsible for the place knows what you discover from the check.

Ask Your Adult to Store Guns Safely

If the place where you sleep most nights has guns in it, ask the adult responsible for the living arrangement what has been done or will be done to make sure the firearms are stored safely so that they can’t be used to harm you or others.

Organize a Neighborhood Safety Activity

Ask your parent or another adult you trust for advice on getting a crime prevention activity going with other youth in your neighborhood. Your local law enforcement agency probably has some crime prevention resources to offer. Also, there are a lot of model neighborhood safety programs out there that you could copy.

Get Help if You Are Homeless

If you don’t have a safe place to stay regularly because you are on your own or have run away from home, there’s help for you! Call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-Runaway or chat online with a trained counselor.

Get Help if You Are Being Trafficked

If you don’t have a safe place to stay regularly because another person is trafficking you (that is to say, using force, fraud or coercion to control you for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against your will), there’s help for you! Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or visit their website.

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