How to Survive If You Were Suddenly Homeless

by Frugal Brian


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.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

cici May 27, 2011 at 7:12 am

I’ve been homeless going on 4 yrs. I stay where I can. Or in my car. My family are funny acting. They let me stay from time to time I was working just lost my job don’t know what to do so I’m going back to school. I have past charges so its hard to get a job… sometimes I feel alone and like no one cares I try to keep positive I have a saying in my car that says don’t worry about tommorrow cus god is there so that’s. What I. Say!!!

mr Nobody December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I’m on my way to being homeless, and it’s quite bad when you have no one that cares for you and even your mother doesn’t care.

Yoyo May 27, 2012 at 6:44 am

I have no choice. But to leave my home & my children. No money, no car. I guess I’ll be starting from “0″. I hope to look at this as an adventure, where I can start from nothing and somehow WIN!

Freshkilla June 13, 2012 at 6:28 am

It sucks so bad to be homeless living in a shelter with your kids
A two year old a new born and your girl that happen to me once
And goin. To happen to me agian only that my girl and my kids have
A place to stay and I don’t but as long as they good I’m good cuz I know
If I have faith in god and focus a more ill better my life I love my family
So much but things are ruff right now my girl lost her job and it’s hard
For me to get a job cuz I don’t have my license and I have a bad record
Sometimes I just feel like dying but its things that you say that make you
Worst that’s why you have to just focus on your life to better it it’s hard
But possible I know it anything is god bless all the homeless out there
With no food no family.

sherrie June 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Sadly, a few months ago my husband decided he wanted a divorce…. He began dating right away with money we do not have…. he is in debt with payday loans and other loans he took out to pay off the bills, but he never paid them..
I am a 57 year old woman that has given everything to this man, just to be dumped….. I do not have a job because I was laid off and he seemed to be sooooo sick I had to stay home to care for him….It turned out to be fake… now I am trying to sell everything in a very depressed area including memories of a daughter that is no longer with me……. there is very little money… I have a van with payments and no family…… I am lost….. my greatest hope each day has just become to get a little bit of chocolate… some goal!
In about one month I will have to move out to the van and try to make it…. winter will set in and I am in the extreme north west…… I do not know what to do…

cindy September 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Eight years ago my husband left for another women and left me with our 6 kids in their teens. I have been struggling ever since and moving from one rental to another as my resources dwindled. I’ve sold everything I could, but it is a downward spiral. Raising puppies doesn’t provide much of an income and that income ended in 2007. Since then, I managed to tutor statistics and algebra at a local college, but after 3 years the department lost its grant and we were all laid off. No one wants to hire a 55 year old who spent the majority of her years as a stay-at-home mom and home-schooled. Without relevant job experience on the resume, I cannot even get interviews regardless of the two bachelor degrees and a masters. Being bilingual, computer literate, reliable, loyal, and having excellent degrees and GPAs doesn’t impress employers anymore when they can hire cute young people (read eye candy). I am sure that God is tired of my daily pleas for a job of any kind. My advice? Do not EVER get married or depend on a spouse’s loyalty. Get a career and make sure you are able to take care of yourself because no one is there to help mothers after their husbands leave. I am weeks away from homelessness, too, and I am terrified/dazed/hopeless. I read these posts on what to do and I realize that there isn’t anything that I haven’t already tried. Everyone else seems to be in the same mess as I am and it is sheer luck if they can escape the downward spiral. I can’t even enjoy going to my church because I usually end up crying because nothing I have tried is solving the situation. I don’t want to burden other people with my situation because it is a direct consequence of choosing to get married in the first place 28 years ago. I came from a really nice family and I never thought I would ever be without work or somewhere to live. An unfaithful spouse abandoning me and the children never occurred to me.Do we just give up and take everything we own to the thrift store and call it quits and live out of the car? Do I wait until the last minute to give up? or do I keep hoping in a last minute miracle?

unknown September 18, 2012 at 3:12 am

I’m 7 months pregnant right now and i’m staying with my mom right now shes being so mean to me everyday. It’s hard because I do love my mom all I want is her to be there for me emotionally but its not happening it makes me so sad and alone. My mom wants me to leave as soon as I have my daughter in December. I’m really scared and have no family or anywhere to go. I just pray to God to keep me strong everyday and to help me find away.

nooneleft October 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

To all those that have posted,
I feel your pain as I’ve been down your road and may be again soon, but the big difference here is I am a man. I do understand that being a woman complicates things threefold but some of the things I did to survive you can do. Pregnancy is something I know very little about, but if your in good health and able bodied there is plenty you can do to help your predicament.
If you have a job KEEP IT! If you’re not afraid to, you can stealth camp to save money.
There are several websites on the web on how to do this, so I won’t go into those, but they are good to read!
If you have family the cherish them as I have none.

admin October 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I hope your situation will work out. Will say a prayer for you.. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

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