About our safer housing listings
What services do we provide?
Our safer housing listings are a free service provided by re|shelter to help those suffering from chemical, electrical, sun, mold, and other environmental sensitivities find a safer home. We provide free listings for housing, land and trailers, and act as a clearinghouse for resources on building your own safer home, finding emergency and short-term MCS-friendly accommodations, and other housing information. Occasionally we present essays on housing related issues, as well as interviews and feature stories related to the search for safe housing by those with chemical and other environmental sensitivities.
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What is MCS?
MCS stands for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, also known as Chemical Sensitivity (CS), Environmental Illness (EI), Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), Toxic Encephalitis, Chemical Intolerance (CI), and other terms—all referring to an illness that occurs after toxic injury (from chemicals, mold, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, etc.) and results in an inability to tolerate any number of environmental factors such as synthetic chemicals, organic substances, mold, the sun, sound, etc. in varying degrees of severity. The illness is completely unique to the individual in terms of environmental triggers, severity of symptoms, range of symptoms, and organ systems affected.
Why is housing an issue for those with MCS?
This condition is often progressive, and one’s home, furnishings and belongings can eventually cause constant pain and discomfort to the sufferer, and even be life threatening. In many cases, one’s home is actually the source of the initiating chemical injury.
Being exposed to standard [toxic] building materials, pesticides, and fragrance in air fresheners and other commonly used products causes many uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms in people with chemical sensitivity. Just visiting a potential new home can be a huge health risk for someone with MCS.
When in a heightened state of pain, discomfort, disorientation, anxiety, and fear it is very difficult to search for safer housing. Managing the illness can also devour one’s savings so finances are usually a factor in finding safer housing, as well. Traveling to other locations to view potential housing adds an additional level of health risks and issues to contend with, as most with MCS cannot use public transportation like trains or airplanes, or sleep in hotels, and must drive themselves in a safe vehicle that they can sleep in.
Philanthropists and Investors Needed
The housing situation for those disabled by environmental sensitivities is deplorable. Not just an issue that affects the disabled, toxins in interiors make healthy people sick, too—as seen with Hurricane Katrina and the hundreds made ill by formaldehyde-laden FEMA trailers and toxic mold in mobile homes. (Not to mention, that many with severe EI were seemingly healthy, too, prior to their chemical injury, often caused by solvents in carpet glue or other toxic building materials). Unfortunately, not enough is being done about it and the people with a desire to do something have neither the resources nor the health to get it done. If you are a philanthropist, please consider investing in safer housing and chemical-free communities to help those who are no longer able to help themselves.
top photo: © 2008 Scott Killingsworth | Julie jumps for joy on arrival in Arizona after a treacherous four day journey by car in search of safer housing.