Renting a safer home

Old Concho Community Assistance Center (OCCAC) government-subsidized and -managed rental units in Snowflake, Arizona built for those with chemical sensitivity.
rental listings

EI Safer Housing Facebook Group
Find rental listings on this popular Facebook safe housing group.

MCS Friends Housing Listings
Find housing listings on the MCS Friends website.

MCS-Safe Shelter yahoogroup
Place an ad on this group, and browse others’ ads.

Arizona Environmental Health Bulletin (AEHB)
Free newsletter with housing ads for those in the Southwest. Email Melinda Honn to subscribe.

New Horizons The last two pages of this newsletter put out by the New Horizons Independent Living Center contain MCS-safe housing ads for rentals and sales.

Our Toxic Times
Great national classifieds section with lots of ads for EI homes and trailers. You’ll need to purchase an annual membership to CIIN to receive this free newsletter.

Safer Travel Directory
Green lodging, and housing rentals and sales.

Healthy Home Services
Jennifer will help you look for safe housing to buy or rent. Services include: Internet research; follow up on any promising options using your specific criteria list; working as an intermediary with agents; any additional research related to the non-toxic housing environment. She is also available as a personal assistant to travel nationwide and check out properties for you. For questions and information on qualifications and fees, call Jennifer at (505) 471-5133.

Try searching Craigslist for the areas you are interested in. Try searching for terms like “chemical,” “chemically,” “allergies,” “environmental,” “sensitive,” “non-toxic,” etc. If you separate all the terms you want to search with a vertical slash, you can search them all at once (chemical | chemically | allergies | environmental | sensitive | sensitivity | non-toxic). Make sure you check different versions of a word, such as chemical and chemically, or sensitive and sensitivity. You’ll get a different sent of ads for each slightly different term. Here are some ads I found doing this. Not sure how MCS-safe though—that would be for you to determine through conversations and/or a visit.

Remember: Just because someone says they’re chemically sensitive in an ad, does not mean their home will be safe for you. We all have different sensitivities and can tolerate different products. One person’s baking soda-cleaned kitchen is another’s nightmare. “Natural” and “organic” herbal products can shut someone’s airway down in a second. Make sure you ask what cleaning and personal care products they use before scheduling a visit.

Important: Be savvy when visiting ads found on Craigslist. There is an element of risk involved above and beyond the environmental safety issues. Please read Craiglist’s page on personal safety.

Albuquergue, NM
$350 Green living in the Sandia Mountains (Cedar Crest, NM)
Upstairs room for rent: a medium size one for $350.00 + . Pergo, brick & tile floors, all electric house with woodstove backup heat. Due to allergies, you must be willing to be fragrance-free and have no indoor furry pets.

Denver, CO
Low allergen, organic food, assisted living home
For partially limited elderly and/or disabled persons benefiting from services for preparation of meals and snacks, all cleaning, all grocery shopping and prescription or supplement pickup, possible assistance with some other errands, assistance with medications, and cheerful emotional support and interaction in a chemical-free home environment.

Flagstaff, AZ
$750 1 bedroom
This is an environmentally clean home, no VOC paints, laminate wooden floors, and new tile in the full bathroom and entry way. NO SMOKING on the property, no animals due to allergies.

Monterey, CA
2950 3 bdr
Country folks only need apply. Eco-minded and chemical free homestead for raising vegetables and farm animals. Updated 1960’s ranch style house – 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with room for a grandmother.

You should also place ads in cities you want to live…here is one example of someone else looking for a chemical free place:

Seeking eco, fragrance free housing, possible work trade
I have a secure income and excellent references. I am honest, clean, dependable, and take care of properties; I pay rent on time. Seeking an environmentally safe housing unit, with no toxic chemicals, fragrances, pesticides or herbicides used in or around the property, or used by close neighbors. Seeking individual unit or shared housing in a chemical free, mold-free environment due to chemical sensitivities. (Shared unit must have private bath and fragrance free, chemical free laundry (use of environmentally safe products only, laundry and personal care). Must have “Wired” DSL or Hi-Speed cable internet capabilities (need indoor wireless-free zone, including no cell phones used inside). I do not have pets. Temporary or longer term okay. With gratitude!
Vacation rentals, private rooms, and sublets by the night. Not geared to MCS but you may find chemical free or eco-minded rooms using the search feature.

Queer-friendly resources
Sick and Disabled Queers is a private group on Facebook where you can network with other queers, many of whom are chemically sensitive.
Transgender Couchsurfing Network Search your area for MCS-safe(r) opportunities. Click on “need a couch posts.” You might find private rooms and, occasionally, folks are open to possible long term arrangements.

green rentals – does not mean MCS-safe but a good starting place
Sage Real Estate
Whether providing an apartment that has been remodeled with bamboo floors, cleaned with bio-degradeable products, painted with no-VOC paints or outfitted with energy efficient appliances, Sage Real Estate is dedicated to healthy living. Located in Eugene, Oregon.

general info
Basic Needs for Rental Housing for Chemically Sensitive Persons
A handy checklist for realtors, friends or family helping a chemically sensitive person find safe rental housing—by the Healthy Housing Coalition.

How Can Real Estate Agents Help Clients With Multiple Chemical Sensitivities?
Article by Dr. Gloria Gilbere.

ei housing complexes

Barrhaven Non-Profit Housing
Located in Ontario, Canada, the Barrhaven Non-Profit Housing community has 41 units, including apartments and townhouses. Fourteen apartment units are wheelchair accessible and seven additional stand-alone units are for environmentally sensitive occupants. An agreement with the Ontario March of Dimes provides attendant care to the residents of several units. Rent is geared to the income of the tenant.

Chemical Free Housing Ottawa
Upcoming housing development to be designed to meet the needs of individuals who suffer from allergies, asthma, and environmental sensitivities. The funding will be used to build 24 rental units with an additional 50 units that will be sold as condominiums to those who agree to the policies of “smoke-free, scent-free, pet-free and chemical-free living.”

Canada-Wide Housing Connection (CWHC)
A word-of-mouth network that helps connect those with EI and MCS with safe, compatible housing. CWHC works this way: If you are a Canadian with a house, apartment or room for rent for chemically sensitive people or if you are looking for a house or room to rent in Canada, call Phillip at (613.278.0463) and he will try to make a connection. 613.278.0463


Old Concho Community Assistance Center (OCCAC) MCS Housing Project
Four low-income MCS-safer houses have been built east of Snowflake, Arizona with funds allocated by the Arizona Department of Housing. The owning and managing nonprofit agency is Old Concho Community Assistance Center (OCCAC), P.O. Box 50, Concho, AZ 85924. Screening of applicants is in progress. More may be built in the future. 928.337.5047

Ecology House
A HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) PRAC-811 funded 11 unit apartment building in San Rafael, California—designed, constructed, and maintained for people with extreme environmental sensitivities.

Safer Remodel
1 bedroom apartments for rent in San Rafael—limestone floor, granite counter, large kitchen, stainless steel appliances, close to Whole Foods.

Seagoville Ecology Housing
In a rural area south-east of Dallas is a small community for “universal reactors” and the severely environmentally ill. Most residents are patients of the Environmental Health Center-Dallas. This community has been around for over 20 years. click here for photos 972.287.2059

housesit / caretake
Australian site that provides extensive, detailed international listings with a registry of house sitter profiles, instant notifications, articles, and a sample housesitting agreement.

Housesit World
An Australia-based international directory, accessed by country.

Sabbatical Homes
Listing of several hundred worldwide housesitting opportunities from academics on sabbatical.

The Caretaker Gazette
Unique newsletter containing property caretaking and housesitting opportunities, advice, and information for property caretakers, housesitters, and landowners—many opportunities for living and working on organic farms.

Intentional Communities Directory
Browse this international database to find an intentional community, ecovillage, cohousing, commune, co-op, or other cooperative living arrangement.

Alpha Omega Christian Communities For The Chemically Injured forming
Nonprofit ministry looking for individuals who are committed to serving God by living in community and volunteering time toward the creation of larger communities for individuals who have multiple chemical sensitivity/environmental illness and related diseases. Most likely, the first community will be located in Texas. Seeking core members to help form.

Brigid Collective
Our lovely two-story home in Berkeley, California was purchased in 1985 by six individuals who lived collectively. The house was first occupied on the feast of Brigid, the goddess of healing, inspiration, and smithcraft. We have separate bedrooms, an assortment of common spaces, and a large yard with garden and hot tub. Because of environmental sensitivities, we discourage drug and alcohol abuse.

Portland Tox-Free Community forming
This just in from an Oregon Ecobuilding newsletter:
On our nonprofit 501 c3 website, you can see the idea of a conversion to cohousing with a 9 plex of 2 bedroom patio apartments in a suburb of Portland near the Columbia River. The primary goal is to own in a community that it is green, shared resources, tools, garden, with no perfumes, pesticides, fabric dryer sheets and other unhealthy exposures as much as possible in a neighborhood suburb.

Reba Place Fellowship
Reba Place Fellowship is a Christian intentional community that began in 1957 in an ethnically diverse neighborhood in south Evanston, Illinois. Its members of all ages currently live in large multifamily homes and apartment buildings in Evanston and the Rogers Park neighborhood of northern Chicago. Because of Environmental illness of some members, most buildings do not allow smoking.

Sonoma County Cohousing forming
For serious people who want to pull together a cohousing project in Sonoma County, California. Green, environmentally aware, pesticide-free, toxin-free. Looking for people who either have chemical sensitivity or who are very environmentally aware and who want to live as low-toxic as possible.

discussion groups
MCS Safe Shelter
Yahoogroup with ads and discussion for short-term and long-term housing for people with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).

MCS Village
The purpose of this group is to discuss the feasibility of building a village(s)or community in which MCS/EI patients can live safely, and to provide a forum in which the legal, medical, geographic, architectural, social and funding issues relating to building such a community(ies) or village(s) may be discussed and resolved.

top photo: © 2008 | Old Concho Community Assistance Center (OCCAC) government-subsidized and -managed rental units in Snowflake, Arizona built for those with chemical sensitivity. This project has a mixed history—initially the units were not tolerable by most EIs that came to test them, one tenant had a very difficult time with management and left (and subsequently, successfully filed a Civil Rights complaint against them that will force them to create and enforce MCS-Safe House Rules, as well as receive disability training), one tenant was smoking outside and was eventually forced to leave, and they have not been able to fill two of the four houses although they have been available for over a year. The other two are occupied and the tenants are very happy there.