what makes a shelter for cancer families (ASCF) STAND APART FROM OTHERS?
We provide tangible support to FAMILIES (not just patients) affected by cancer. Regardless of age, cancer-type, treatment or economic status, we are here for you and your family. The housing support ASCF offers is based on what out-of-town families affected by cancer need. Each ASCF residence includes its own full service kitchen offering the families we serve privacy and options during a sensitive time. Finally, every residence has its own private gathering place for families to call their own “home away from home” where they can make memories with loved ones and receive guests. Or in the case when immune systems are compromised, having one's own space can provide an extra level of protection from germs and peace of mind for patients.
ASCF also provides navigation services to both families from Houston and those from out-of-town seeking cancer care here. Volunteers help families navigate the cancer landscape, make sense of medical jargon and explore their options. Our volunteers often accompany families to appointments or “call-in” for clinic visits to provide assistance with note taking and facilitating communication between the patient, family and the health care team when necessary.
At ASCF, we recognize that the time for living is now and cancer doesn't take a break for holidays or important milestones. We help families celebrate what is important to them, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, wedding, holiday, first-day-of-school or "ringing the bell" to signify the end of treatment. We help the families rejoice in special moments during their cancer journey.
Sometimes, the families we serve simply need someone to "show up" and "be there" for them. Our volunteers can offer a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on or ear to listen if that is what is needed.
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) based in Houston is the largest medical complex in the world. With more than 50 million developed square feet & more than 10 million patient encounters yearly, our medical center is massive. Home to both the largest cancer center and the largest pediatric hospital in the world, Houston is a medical mecca.
For many patients, especially those with rare cancers such as sarcoma, Houston’s high volume cancer specialists offer patients hope. The best treatments only work, if patients have access to them. About 150,000 patients will seek cancer treatment in Houston this year. Seventy-five percent of them will be coming from outside of the Houston area and they will not want to come alone. The question is where will these families stay? ASCF aims to eliminate housing as a barrier to out-of-town cancer patients accessing the care they need in Houston, when they need it.
how is ASCF different?
When one family member gets cancer, the entire family is affected. Why don't all housing programs in our area provide a shelter to the entire family? Currently, most other housing programs in the area only allow for one patient & one caregiver. Even when such limitations do not exist, hotel, dormitory, hospitality and/or hostel style housing offered can be less than ideal. With no kitchens in the rooms, patients are left with no option to prepare the patient & family's meals in privacy. Requirements that the patients meet specific age, cancer-type & treatment status criteria create additional challenges. Nausea, increased sensitivity to smells & suppressed immune systems can make some patients want to shy away from socialization during treatment. While community is important for these families, ASCF believes that it should not be mandated by our program nor our facility’s design. Patients & their families should be afforded options & dignity especially during times of health crisis. That is exactly why ASCF provides each family with their own residence including a full-service kitchen, private living room and more.
Cancer is hard enough without having to make choices like: “How will we explain to the twins that they’ll be separated for months, because our housing options are limited to one patient/one parent?”
“I know the kids really miss Daddy but the housing program doesn’t allow for the kids to stay there.”
“How can we afford to pay for (even reduced rate) housing in Houston & pay our mortgage at home, especially with the time we’ve had to take off of work?”
A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF) offers more than housing. We offer a “home away from home” where families can gather, create new memories & heal…together.
want more information?
For more information on ASCF's housing program, go to Housing Forms.