How to Survive Living in a Group Home

by Contributor

A group home is a place where unrelated people live. Some house specialized groups needing assistance, such as adults with mentally illness or developmental disabilities, or children with emotional or behavioral problems. Other group homes shelter elderly people, victims of domestic violence or troubled teenagers. Here's how to survive when you're living in a group home.

Make sure you are in the right group home. Confirm that it provides the specialized care you need. Understand the rules before moving in.

Realize that you share public spaces such as the kitchen and living room. Your sleeping quarters may be your only personal space. However, you may have to share a room or sleep in a dormitory.

Learn to handle relationships with other people. Be tolerant. The walls are thin in all communal living arrangements.

Be responsible. Do your share of the chores. Be clean, tidy and well-groomed. Clean up after yourself. If you need assistance, ask for it.

Take advantage of any programs the group home offers. Participate in recreational activities. If offered or appropriate, attend physical or speech therapy, attend classes or workshops and learn occupational skills.

Follow the rules. You probably signed a contract agreeing to the conditions and rules of the group home when you entered.

Assess your situation. If it is not working out, then look for another living situation. Group homes are usually voluntary and you can leave when you want if you are over 18.


  • Be agreeable and you will get along better with housemates.
  • Meet the other people in the house before you move in.


  • Carefully research the group home to determine if it really does provide a safe environment. For children, it is best if involved family members are part of their lives.
  • Immediately report to the proper authorities any incidents of abuse that you experience or witness in a group home. If your complaints are not addressed, contact outside assistance, such as law enforcement officials or your community's ombudsman office.

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