People can become homeless for a number of reasons. They could be hit with a financial downturn and lose their job and eventually their home. Or they could be simply kicked out of the home they are in. Regardless of the reason, suddenly becoming homeless isn’t an ideal position to be in, and isn’t something most people are prepared for. If you should ever find yourself in a situation where you become homeless, here are some tips on what to do and how to survive.
When you find out you are going to become homeless, the best thing to do first is to figure out what you are going to do with your belongings. You could check with a friend or relative to see if they are willing to let you leave some things with them. You could also look into a storage locker but that will cost you money to rent.
A good idea is selling your items. You will get rid of a lot of things and make some needed cash. If time permits, hold a garage sale. Sell off big items that will be hard to take with you, or can’t be stored at someone’s home. You can also list items for free on Craigslist or for a small fee on ebay.
If you still own your car, you can sleep in there and also keep some of your stuff with you. Be aware that in some cities, it is illegal to sleep in your car so you will have to check out your state laws. In general, vehicle rest stops or truck stops allow sleeping in your vehicle. Some churches will also allow you to park and sleep in their parking lot if you ask.
If you do not have availability to a vehicle to sleep in, you will need to look for shelter. Most cities have homeless shelters where you can stay. There are also programs that are in place to help homeless people get long term housing. Depending on the city, some will have long waiting lists, others may not.
If there are no government assisted options, you will have to start looking for alternative shelter. Look for places that are open to the public, and not illegal for you to be sleeping there.
No matter where you sleep, you will need to look for food. Most cities have soup kitchens that provide homeless with food. You can also look for restaurants that normally throw out their rejected or messed up orders. Ask a manager if they wouldn’t mind letting you take the food rather than throwing it all away.
You will also need to figure out a way to clean up. Many public places have open showers, such as parks, churches, beaches, hospital bathrooms, or pools. You can also use a secluded body of water like a lake or river to wash up. If there is no way for you to completely bath or shower, you can give yourself a sponge bath or at least wipe clean in a public restroom sink.
You will also need to clean your clothes every now and then if you want to remain presentable. It’s best to have as few pieces of clothing as possible to get by. If you can keep a nice dress shirt for going on interviews when you plan to get back on your feet. You can use whatever soap you can find to clean your clothes; shampoo, body wash, or hand soap from a public bathroom.
For some quick cash, you can look for aluminum cans or glass bottles to sell for recycling. This most likely will not bring in enough money to make a living, but it can help when you need to buy some food. Look through public trash cans in areas where people eat often. Dumpsters outside of restaurants and bars are also good places to look. These types of establishments go through many bottles of beer, wine, and liquor every night.
Your ultimate goal once you become homeless should be to get back on your feet. Most major cities have programs that will help with job placement. There are also job placement agencies that have jobs for everything from accounting to labor jobs.
Suddenly becoming homeless is not an ideal situation. If it should happen to you, follow some of these tips so that you will know what to do and where to go, and eventually, get back on your feet again.
Were you ever homeless? We’d love to hear your story.