A home from home: Finding free accommodation for cancer patients and loved ones during treatment

In the States, there are several charities and organizations that can offer free accommodation and housing assistance for cancer patients and their families

free accommodation for cancer patients and family
There are several charities and organizations that allow you to stay close to loved ones when they’re staying in hospital far from home

No one looks forward to a hospital stay, especially if it means travelling out of town.

Every day, more than 4,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. Many must travel out-of-state for second opinions, treatment and surgery. Combined with the millions who are already fighting cancer, the need for convenient, caring, and cost-free accommodation for patients’ family members throughout the United States increases every year.

Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting better, and gives family and friends the space to focus on being supportive. To help you find accommodation, we’ve done our homework, and found some fantastic charities and organizations that are dedicated to offering housing assistance for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Unlike a hotel, these facilities also provide opportunities to connect with others going through similar situations.

Ronald McDonald Houses

free accommodation for cancer patients

Run by the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a Ronald McDonald House strives to be a “home-away-from-home” and support for the families of children with life-threatening illnesses.

Ronald McDonald House provides housing and accommodation for little to no cost to families of pediatric patients 18 years of age and younger. Some locations will accept pediatric patients up to 21 years of age.

Torey Boone was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was eight-years-old.  His family home was far from the hospital, so a nurse recommended they stay at a Ronald McDonald House nearby.

free accommodation
Torey with his parents

“The House offered us a place to stay, but it quickly became so much more,” says the Boones.

“Torey was able to spend time with kids who were going through similar situations, which he said, made him feel less like an outsider.”

American Cancer Society Hope Lodges

free accommodation for cancer patients

The American Cancer Society set up its Hope Lodges in 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina. There are now more than 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.  Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. Every Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease.

Emilie Zehr, from Des Moines, Iowa, was a Hope Lodge guest in Minnesota.

“Staying there relieved the stress of having to find a hotel,” says Zehr. “They were very helpful. We liked Tuesday night potluck especially because my husband likes to cook.”

Hospitality Homes (Boston)

Hospitality Homes provides free short-term housing in volunteer host homes and donated apartments for families and friends of patients seeking care at Boston-area healthcare organizations.

Founded in 1983, Hospitality Homes was the first program of its kind in the nation. Since then, they have served more than 15,300 families. The length of stay can be anywhere from one night to three months, with an average stay of 14 days.

Patients with any diagnosis and any income level are welcome. Hospitality Homes requests guests contribute $25 a night toward their stay to help the organization continue, but nobody is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.

When Emma Ostrowski was diagnosed with a gastro-intestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and scheduled for treatment and surgery, her father and step-mom were facing a hefty hotel bill for the month-long stay. “We had a quote for $12,00,” remembers step-mom Michelle.

free accommodation for cancer patients
Emma with her dad Doug

But then they discovered Hospitality Homes which they thought was “too good to be true.”

Dad Doug adds: “This has allowed us to concentrate on Emma’s care. They make things easier for people who aren’t having an easy time in their life.”

Joe’s House

Joe’s House is a non-profit organization that was created by Ann Calahan in memory of her late husband Joe Calahan. Joe battled cancer for six years, having treatment in Texas and New York. Finding a suitable place to stay was a challenge and after Joe’s death in 1997 Ann vowed to find a way to help others in the same situation. In 2003, Joe’s House was launched to fulfil that promise.

Joe’s House is a lodging directory and lists thousands of places to stay across the country near hospitals and treatments centers that offer a discount for traveling cancer patients and their loved ones.

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2 Replies to “A home from home: Finding free accommodation for cancer patients and loved ones during treatment”

  1. I will be traveling to Grand Junction for 6 weeks of radiation. I have found a place to stay for $2800. I am not finding any of these other organizations in the Grand Junction Area. I am looking for a way to pay for this location, or to find something that is more affordable. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  2. I have just become homeless and need a place to live, I really can’t afford to pay rent and utilities as I will be running out of income very soon, can you recommend a place where might be able to get some help?

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