Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

A Homeless Survival Guide

For most people, being homeless is not a lifestyle that they would chose. So here are a few practical advices if you are or may become homeless.

Most people imagine that the most important thing for someone homeless is to find a home. However, some people do not want to be tied down to a home. Other people live their entire lives without ever having a permanent home. Therefore having a home is important, bur not required to survive. Thus, it is not most important to find a home if you are homeless.

The most important thing for someone homeless is staying clean and having good hygiene. If you appear clean, then you are more likely to be employable, enjoy socializing with people, and less likely being kicked out of public places. Basically, never look like you are homeless if possible. There are a few options for staying clean. First, if you can afford it, join a gym that has a full restroom, toilet paper, soap, towels, and showers. This should not cost you more than $20 per month. Preferably a gym that is open for 24 hours a day, so that you can clean yourself thoroughly with some privacy. Also, exercising is a good way to kill time and take your mind of the pressures of being homeless, since you will most likely be unemployed for long periods of time.

If you can not afford a gym membership, then find a few out-of-the-way restrooms that preferably you can lock yourself in for privacy. Using only the sink and a washcloth, you can take a bath. If this is not an option, then use baby wipes, hand sanitizers, deodorants, baby powder, and/or disinfects to kill odor causing germs. Don't use perfume or cologne to hide odors, since you will still smell, and you may not notice. Few people will be willing to help you if your odor offends them. It is important to clean yourself often if you are not able to periodically shower or bath. Also scout out for the cheapest motel or hotel in the area, since you will want to periodically want to sleep in a bed, shower, and protect yourself from bad weather. Don't forget to take their free soap, shampoo, coffee, breakfast, etc.

Another way to look clean is to away brush and cut your hair. Guys should trim their facial hair a few times a week. It is not necessary to shave everyday, unless you are going on an interview. Just look well kept. For guys and gals, keep your hair short, since short hair is easier to keep clean and look clean. Don't forget to brush and floss your teeth too.

Another way to look clean is to wear dark clothes that hide stains and wrinkles better. You can even turn your clothes inside out and leaving them in direct sunlight for them to smell better. Don't forget to wash your clothes in a sink only on sunny days if possible.

Always keep a few empty bottles with lids to fill with water. Water fountains are free and easy to find. You can drink the water or use the water to stay clean. If you are going to the countryside, then always have a few gallons of water. If you do not already know how to hunt and forage for food, then now might not be the best time to learn. You don't want to starve, but do keep your eyes open for free fruit and edible berries that are growing around you. If you do not know if something is safe to eat, assume it is not safe.

Next thing that is important is money. In other words, find a job. Most libraries are free to use and have Internet access too. Use the Internet, such as Craigslist, to find local odd or manual jobs if you need to find work. Otherwise, you can always use the library as free entertainment and free education. Try learning a trade to become more employable. Keep your mind occupied on other things rather than being homeless. At the very least, libraries are always cool in the summer and heated in the winter. Some libraries even have a small gym and showers too. Look for job postings at your local library too. Otherwise, you can hang around local hardware stores, such as Home Depot, looking for manual labor work that illegal immigrants often manage to find.

Never pass up a local homeless shelter. They usually have free beds, free food, a food bank, free showers, a job bulletin board, and even maybe Internet access. Homeless shelters are basically free hotel rooms without a lot of restrictions.

If you are homeless but you still have a car, then you are in luck but you still need to know where to park your car. If you park your car in a good part of town, someone will call the police on you. If you park your car in a bad part of town, you will eventually get robbed. You can park in city parks that don't close, some Walmarts have free overnight parking, national forests allow campers to stay for weeks or months at a time, and some churches. Rest stops have security, and the security guards will assume that you are just a weary traveler who needs some sleep before driving off to be never seen again. Hotel parking lots are questionable. Avoid private properties as much as possible. Never park your car for more than a week at any location, otherwise it might get towed.

Always ask for help. Whether it is food, clothes, money, a sofa to sleep on (thus a free shower in the morning), just ask whatever that you think that you need at the moment. Some people are very generous and will help a total stranger. And remember, people are more willing to help you if you appear clean, hence staying clean is the most important thing that you can do. Don't be above begging if you need to in order to survive. Ask your friends and family, even those who you don't normally talk to, for help including borrowing money.

As for meeting people and socializing, parks, libraries, plazas, and malls are great for meeting and talking to strangers. If you are with other homeless people, make a pot of coffee and share. You will quickly make friends, and they will share their supplies too. Try finding a buddy that you trust with your possessions and your life, literally. At night, it is best to sleep near someone that you trust.

Save as much money as you possibly can, so that you can eventually rent a small room and have a permanent home, bed, and shower. That mean opening a free savings account at a bank, so you don't carry all of your money around with you all the time in case you get mugged. If you spend a lot of time on the streets, you will get mugged often. So, separate your money in different pockets, and give the thieves the least amount of money as possible. Just don't get hurt. Avoid fights, if you get hurt, then you will not be able to work, move around, purchase food, get water, bath yourself, get antibiotics, or even possibly take care of yourself.

Be open to new opportunities and open minded towards all types of people. Try to not become too pessimistic.

Hopefully, you will not be homeless for long.

by Phil for Humanity
on 05/01/2010

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