How to Be Homeless: Essential Tips and Survival Strategies

Facing homelessness is a daunting experience that can happen unexpectedly, often due to economic hardship, personal crises, or unforeseen events. Currently, homelessness is at a record high, with 653,104 people experiencing it as of the 2023 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. This is a 12 percent increase from the previous year, the largest rise since records began in 2007. 

Key Takeaways

  • Homelessness is currently at a record high in the United States.
  • Access to clean water and nutritious food through local soup kitchens, food banks, and community meal programs is essential for survival.
  • Homeless individuals have fundamental rights that protect their dignity and safety. Accessing legal aid to understand and advocate for these rights can significantly improve their ability to navigate the challenges of homelessness.
  • Engaging with services that provide long-term resources, including housing programs, employment services, and mental health support, is key to transitioning out of homelessness and achieving stability. 

This article explores essential steps and strategies to help you navigate homelessness, ensuring your safety, well-being, and a path toward stability.

Understanding Homelessness

Homelessness is a complex and multifaceted issue that manifests in various forms. Recognizing the different types of homelessness is crucial for providing appropriate support and resources. This section explores these distinct types to enhance understanding and guide effective aid.

how to be homeless

Chronic vs. Temporary Homelessness

Chronic homelessness refers to individuals who have been homeless for at least a year or have experienced multiple episodes of homelessness while dealing with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability.

As of early 2023, approximately 143,105 individuals in the U.S. were classified as chronically homeless, making up nearly 22% of the total homeless population. The majority of these individuals (about 65%) live in unsheltered conditions, such as on the streets, in cars, or parks​​​​.

Temporary or transitional homelessness, on the other hand, typically affects individuals who experience short-term housing instability due to factors like job loss, eviction, or sudden financial crises.

This form of homelessness is generally less visible and shorter in duration compared to chronic homelessness. Temporary homelessness often involves families and individuals who are more likely to eventually return to stable housing with appropriate support.

To give you a clearer idea, here’s a comparison highlighting the differences between chronic and temporary homelessness:

chronic vs temporary homelessnes

Take note that homelessness manifests in various forms, each with unique challenges. Living in emergency shelters or transitional housing provides immediate safety and meets basic needs but lacks long-term stability. Similarly, “couch surfing,” where individuals stay temporarily with friends or family, offers a short-term solution but can lead to relationship strain and increased stress. 

Common Causes of Homelessness

Homelessness is a persistent and complex social issue with far-reaching consequences.  Understanding its causes requires a nuanced perspective that considers various factors interacting in different contexts.  Here’s a closer look at some of the key influences:

Economic Disparity

Lack of sufficient income is a major driver of homelessness. Stagnant wages, coupled with rising living costs like rent and healthcare, create a situation where even those employed can struggle to afford basic necessities, leaving them vulnerable to homelessness if they face job loss, unexpected expenses, or a personal crisis.

Unequal Housing Market

The shortage of affordable housing units is a critical factor.  Limited availability, combined with rising rents, pushes low-income families and individuals out of their homes and makes it difficult to find suitable alternatives.  This is further exacerbated by a lack of government investment in subsidized housing programs.

The Fragile Web of Social Support

Homelessness is often triggered by disruptions in a person’s social support network.  Family breakdown due to domestic violence, divorce, or conflict can leave individuals, especially women and children, without a safe place to live.  Similarly, social isolation and the absence of strong social connections can increase vulnerability to homelessness during difficult times.

The Burden of Health

Physical and mental health issues create a double challenge.  Chronic health conditions can make it difficult to maintain employment, which in turn affects housing stability.  Mental health challenges can further complicate the situation, making it harder to access resources and navigate the complexities of securing housing.  Additionally, substance abuse problems can strain relationships and limit opportunities for employment and stable housing.

Disasters and Displacement

Natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes can have a devastating impact.  These events can destroy homes and displace entire communities, leading to sudden and unexpected homelessness.  The aftermath of such disasters often requires significant long-term support to help people rebuild their lives and find permanent housing.

Systemic Shortcomings

Inadequate social safety nets and a lack of support services can leave individuals and families vulnerable to homelessness. Inefficiencies in the foster care system, limited access to mental health resources, and a lack of affordable childcare can all contribute to situations where people lose their housing.  Furthermore, discriminatory practices in housing can make it harder for certain groups, like racial minorities or those with a criminal background, to secure stable housing.

Immediate Steps to Take if You Become Homeless

Facing homelessness can be overwhelming, but taking immediate steps can significantly improve your safety and well-being. Prioritizing personal safety is crucial, and this involves identifying safe locations to stay and securing your belongings. 

how to be homeless safety tips

During the day, public libraries, community centers, and certain 24-hour establishments like fast-food restaurants can offer temporary refuge, providing a warm environment and access to restroom facilities. At night, it is advisable to seek shelter in places such as churches or locations with regular security patrols, staying in well-lit, populated areas and avoiding isolation.

Understanding your legal rights and connecting with local homeless support organizations can also be invaluable, as these groups can offer guidance on safe sleeping spots and additional tailored safety tips. 

When it comes to protecting your belongings, using backpacks or bags with multiple compartments helps to organize and conceal valuable items. Carry only essentials to minimize potential loss and manageability. In shelters or public places, keep your belongings close and secure them with items like carabiners or combination locks. If possible, establish a support network with other homeless individuals to mutually ensure safety and share tips on securing belongings.

As a homeless individual, you still retain fundamental rights that protect your dignity and safety. It’s essential to understand that you cannot be forced to leave public spaces unless there is a legitimate reason, such as a safety concern or violation of specific regulations. Knowing these rights allows you to advocate for yourself and seek assistance when needed, ensuring fair treatment in various situations.

Accessing legal aid is vital for navigating the challenges of homelessness. Many cities have organizations that provide free or low-cost legal services to help homeless individuals with housing disputes, discrimination, and obtaining identification documents. 

You can find support by reaching out to local nonprofits, community legal clinics, or online resources that specialize in advocacy for the homeless. These groups can guide you through legal processes, represent you in court if needed, and help you understand your rights, empowering you to take proactive steps to improve your situation.

To give you an overview, here are the basic rights of homeless people in the United States:

legal rights of homeless adults

Getting Through Homelessness: Essential Tips

Survival strategies are crucial for maintaining your health and well-being while homeless. Securing food and water, along with finding shelter, are fundamental needs that require immediate attention. Let’s explore practical ways to meet these essential needs effectively.

Securing Food and Water

Access to food and water is essential for survival, and various resources are available to help homeless individuals stay nourished and hydrated. Many communities have food banks, soup kitchens, community meal programs, and religious organizations that offer free or low-cost meals. These facilities are often located in accessible areas like downtown centers or near shelters. 

You can find information about these resources through online directories or community bulletin boards. Building a routine around these meal services can help ensure consistent access to food, reducing daily stress. Additionally, establishing connections with facility volunteers and staff can provide further support and information about other services.

For water, staying hydrated is crucial, and public places like parks, recreational facilities, and public restrooms often have water fountains or sinks where you can refill bottles. Carrying a reusable water bottle makes it easier to utilize these sources. Community centers, libraries, and shelters may also provide access to clean water.

Finding Shelter

Temporary shelters offer a safe place to sleep and access to basic amenities like showers and meals. These shelters are often operated by nonprofits, religious organizations, or local governments. They provide short-term housing and can connect you with additional resources such as job training, medical care, and counseling services.

Here are some possible temporary shelters:

Emergency housing programs provide more extended stays than temporary shelters and often include support services to help individuals transition to stable housing. These programs are crucial for those facing chronic homelessness or significant barriers to securing permanent housing.

Here are some emergency housing options:

  • HUD Exchange
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Local Government Housing Assistance

Hygiene and Personal Care

Maintaining hygiene and personal care is crucial for your health and well-being, even when facing homelessness. Access to public facilities and practical hygiene tips can significantly improve your comfort and dignity. Let’s explore how you can keep clean and safe under challenging circumstances.

Maintaining Cleanliness

Maintaining cleanliness without a stable home can be challenging, but various public facilities provide essential resources for good hygiene, which is crucial for health and self-esteem. 

how to be homeless

Libraries, community centers, and recreation centers often have restrooms and sometimes showers available, offering a space not just for cleanliness but also for rest and accessing other resources. Additionally, some cities offer mobile showers and hygiene stations specifically for the homeless. You can find these services by checking local community boards, and online resources, or contacting homeless outreach organizations.

For personal hygiene, carrying a kit with essentials like wet wipes, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap can be helpful. These items are portable and allow for quick clean-ups in private spaces. 

Utilizing public restrooms for washing up, frequent handwashing, and using wet wipes for spot cleaning are practical strategies. Also, taking advantage of free hygiene products from shelters or community centers and regularly washing clothes, even if just a quick rinse in a restroom sink, can help prevent infections and maintain a sense of normalcy.

Staying Warm and Safe

Staying warm and safe is crucial for your health and well-being, particularly during colder months. Access to appropriate clothing and bedding is essential to stay warm and safe.

Clothing and Bedding

Layering is one of the most effective methods to stay warm. Wearing multiple layers, such as thermal underwear if available, helps trap heat close to your body. Using sleeping bags or insulated blankets that are lightweight yet retain heat is vital. Always try to stay dry, as wet clothing and bedding can lead to hypothermia. 

Safe Sleeping Practices

Shelters often offer a secure environment; avoid sleeping in isolated areas. If outdoor sleeping is unavoidable, opt for well-lit areas with regular foot traffic or stay close to other homeless individuals for safety. Use materials like cardboard or plastic sheeting to create a barrier between you and the ground, which helps insulate against the cold and retain body heat. Always stay alert to your surroundings and choose areas known to be safe for homeless individuals.

Accessing Immediate Assistance

Immediate assistance is often needed to address urgent needs like food and healthcare. Knowing where to find food banks, soup kitchens, and emergency healthcare services can ensure you have access to essential resources. Let’s look at these options in detail.

Food Banks and Soup Kitchens

soup kitchen

Food banks and soup kitchens are critical resources for those facing homelessness, providing free or low-cost meals and groceries. These facilities are often run by charities, religious organizations, or community groups. They offer nutritious meals and food items, helping to alleviate the immediate challenge of finding food.

Here’s a list of food banks and soup kitchens:

Emergency Healthcare

Accessing emergency healthcare is crucial, especially for untreated medical conditions or injuries. Many cities have clinics and hospitals that offer free or low-cost medical services to the homeless. These facilities provide essential care, including treatment for chronic conditions, minor injuries, and access to medications.

Here’s where to find emergency healthcare services:

Long-Term Resources and Assistance

Long-term resources are essential for transitioning out of homelessness and achieving stability. Programs offering housing and employment services play a critical role in this process.

Housing programs provide long-term solutions for those facing chronic homelessness or significant housing barriers. These programs often include supportive services such as case management, counseling, and job training to help individuals achieve and maintain stable housing.

Here’s a list of housing programs:

Employment Services

Employment services can provide the support needed to secure and maintain a job, offering resources such as job training, resume building, and interview preparation. These services are critical for gaining financial independence and stability.

Here’s a list of employment services:

Mental Health Support

Maintaining mental health is crucial, especially during the challenges of homelessness. Access to mental health support can provide the necessary help to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Many organizations offer free or low-cost mental health services specifically for the homeless, including counseling, therapy, and support groups.

mental health support group

Here’s a list of mental health support resources:

Engaging with these services can offer both immediate support and long-term strategies for managing mental health challenges. Participating in support groups can also provide a sense of community and shared experience, reducing feelings of isolation and providing a platform for mutual aid.

Finding Hope and Moving Forward

As the number of those experiencing homelessness rises, understanding the varied forms of homelessness—from chronic to temporary—is crucial in providing effective support and resources. Initiatives like ensuring personal safety, accessing legal aid, securing food and water, and maintaining hygiene are vital steps for those facing this crisis. Additionally, understanding your legal rights and utilizing available community resources can greatly improve your situation.

Homelessness requires not only immediate responses to address urgent needs but also long-term strategies to ensure sustainable support and eventual reintegration into stable housing. Engagement with community resources, shelters, and outreach programs is essential. These services not only offer immediate relief but also provide pathways to long-term stability through housing programs, mental health support, and employment services. By comprehensively addressing both the immediate and enduring challenges associated with homelessness, individuals can work towards stability and a restored sense of dignity and hope.


How long can a homeless person survive?

The survival of a homeless person depends on various factors, including access to food, water, shelter, and healthcare. With adequate resources and support, many can survive for years, though the quality of life and health risks are significant concerns. 

Where do homeless people usually sleep?

Homeless individuals often sleep in a variety of places, including shelters, parks, under bridges, or in their vehicles. Some may find temporary refuge with friends or family, while others use public buildings like libraries or bus stations. 

What do you do if you are homeless?

If you find yourself homeless, prioritize finding a safe place to stay, such as a shelter or a well-populated public area. Seek out local resources like food banks, soup kitchens, and public facilities for hygiene and meals.

What do homeless people eat?

Homeless individuals often rely on food banks, soup kitchens, and charitable organizations for meals. They may also purchase inexpensive, non-perishable items from stores or find food through community meal programs. Access to consistent food sources can be a significant challenge, making food assistance programs vital for their sustenance.

53 thoughts on “How to Be Homeless: Essential Tips and Survival Strategies”

  1. There’s a great video from the Canadian Prepper on YT comparing the worst day of a homeless guy vs the best day in a EMP attack. Long story short the moral of the story is – when there’s no electricity, no clean water, no food, when you live in fear every day, you are going to “wish” you were homeless instead in a SHTF event as such. People often forget how bad it could be.

    • Am homeless with a gremen shepherd dog I stay in a car I park in store parking lots I go too parks just too get out of car and too walk my dog everyday one thing I love about my dog is he keeps people away from my car at nite if someone knows am sleeping in my car am smart too not hang everyday in the same place and I store my food in storage unit go once a week add too my storage in food I do wash clothes 2 times a month and I stay out of shelters we’re there’s drugs ect mentally ill people hang out very dangerous I try too keep money in a bank for harder times too come I spend wisely and I watch who I talk too my dog does come first he is better off staying with me than ending up in a shelter or a illegal dog fighting ring that is cruel it’s not about money money will end someday and people will see the shtf so I can walk alone be myself and be friends with people I chose am a lone wolf but I can make it alone my hopes are too get off the streets and have that nice warm bed hot showers good cook meals and be by myself with my dog the loyal pack my best friend

  2. Good article. Facing the prospect of homelessness in about a month. The irony is that I have money, just not enough. My credit score is 640, which took a tank from 880 after divorce. Been on a rough road of recovery since 2015. I was at the top, I had a million plus $ home, to go into what happened would be a novel so I’ll spare you the details.

    Bottom line: We are all in an illusion that you are above being homeless. 1 person, one bad break, 1 deceptive person can ruin your life, I know it’s a low percentage but it can happen and it happened to me. I have built a successful business but I am not in a situation where I can own a home, wish that were the case. Rents here have increased 50%, demand for housing is off the chart, and if you don’t look good on paper you are screwed. I’m very resourceful but I have no idea how to survive this without losing everything. I can sleep in my car with my dog, I guess that is something more then many have out there, but my business, without internet will be done. If I go down, I feel a lot for my employees, customers but especially my family that count on me.

    At the end of the day, I’m a fighter but getting old and don’t know if I have the strength anymore for any more crisis’. Here is hoping and praying for you all out there facing similar consequences, its a tough world out there for any but the most perfect of what the world now considers “normal”.

    • Hope you’re okay, John! We have no savings and it’s hard to find a place to move into for less than 2 grand. We have to be out by the end of the month, our rent just got too much with only my wife working. I was a nurse until last year, off for mental health reasons and physically I can’t do the work. I’ve thought about just staying in the car, but my wife works for Lyft and I don’t know how that would work. We have 2 big dogs and a cat Ava a tiny Mitsubishi that we just paid to save from repossession. Being homeless may be a very real thing happening soon. Thanks for the tips and the article. Good luck!

        • Anonymous? Why? Because you’re a cowardly bitch and wanna be able to judge others and talk shit about things you have no knowledge of? Or you wanna be able to operate as a piece of shit online belittling others that you know nothing about. Personally I would love to be able to meet you in person and put my boot in your teeth. Why can’t you do the work? Lazy bum. Why can’t you reveal your name? Cowardly bitch.

        • Really???? Guess you have to be in a situation where you’re stuck…..falling and you know you’re going down and there’s nothing you can do. I pray for these people and you should to, my goodness I can’t believe you said that when people are on here with real life situations.

        • Some people become physically unable to do their jobs due to injury, they aren’t lazy they work until they can’t work anymore my self included, I would love to work if I could find a job that I could do/ or if some one would hire some one over 50?

        • You don;t know anyones situation. They could be missing a fucking arm working at an assembly line. They could be in a hweelchair, or they could have severe ADHD. They could be lazy or they could overanalyze ever aspect of the job they have to do causing them to shut down. YOU DONT KNOW. Everyone is different and just assuming laziness every timne somone doesnt do repetitive tasks a job asks of them every single day for the rest of time is pretty uninspiring and dull.

          Maybe try to help people rather than attempt to tear them down. Nobody will listen to some shithead on the internet but if you genuenly provide insight and maybe process 1 solid thought before just typing the first insult that pops into your head, you might be able to possitively impact someone. You may help them.

        • Almost in the same situation with a college degree. Like the other sure hope you become homeless so you can hear your own words echo back to you.

      • See you there . Will be by my own, so afraid. Don’t know how is it going to be… but have no other options anyway. God Bless the people whose reality are the streets.

    • That’s sad to know. I’m moving to the US to pursue my Master’s and I have a very strict budget as I’m not well-to-do and if I have to be able to afford the expenses I shall have to live very simply over 24 months. Flight tickets to the US are my semester fees here (includes both tuition and rent) hence it’ll be very expensive for me to spend money or ordinary things like coffee, fast food and all. I will not be able to spend 10USD on a single meal hence I might have to live scarcely and pursue my studies there. Just looking at tips on how to survive America!

      • Hey Ankit, depending on the university they should have a food pantry for students. you can pick up decent food supplies in my experience and you can go by yourself if you dont want your fellow students to know. my experience has also been that even if the campus is supposed to be locked up at night you can usually find a building or two that has an open door and a random open classroom here or there. you just can’t go too late at night or its more likely they’ll be locked up. but it should hopefully provide a quiet/safe place to crash. if youre lucky enough to have a bathroom open too then you can take care of business too. I wouldn’t recommend the library because thats pretty strictly controlled. obviously if you have a sympathetic friend to crash with thats ideal. I know this isn’t perfect advice and if theres anyone more experienced I hope that you can draw on them too. if even one tip helps for one night im glad.

    • I didn’t have a million dollars or a house but I had an apartment, and with my 4 children. It only takes that one person to mess everything up like you said. I’ll spare you the story as well but I’ll sum it up-Narcissist. I’m preparing to be homeless until winter comes. I find it ironic cuz when i was a toddler i walked the streets in the Philippines and ended up in an orphanage. I feel like history just repeated itself. I have no family or friends just my kids. I have a job and will be saving up every penny. Tell you what, if we can survive this, it only proves our strengths. There’s nothing we can’t do to rebuild our lives up again. I hope you are doing well.

      Jenalyn-New York

    • I would get a good strong backpack do some research about that good brands are 5.11-savotta and more.
      Learn wild edible plants and poisonous plants wool keeps you warm best when wet weatherwool makes exelent clothing learn to sharpen/strop a knife with a belt and sharpening stone dumpsterdive at supermarket dumpsters recycle cans and bottles for money really think about the gear you are gonna take with you. imortant things are a stainless steel water bottle with nesting cup good clothing strong bagpack fire kit/bic lighter ferrocerium rod magnefying lens /use on charred material do research fishing kit is also handy does’nt have to be pole and reell do research a knife is also good and a multi tool i would say work with the system and with nature thats what i know i don’t know any more.

    • From a person who has run away from home, I want to let you know straight up that no one will care about you and in some places it’s illegal. The run-aways like me, who are still alive right now, are still ok mostly out of luck. However, the most essential thing to have is money! Gather as much money as you can before leaving that house. Also if you really don’t want anyone to find you don’t carry your phone and if you have a diary or journal or something where you’ve written any sort of phone numbers get rid of them. Also if you’re a female it’s good to carry pads. Honestly if you have friends or people you can go to who your parents don’t know about and you really trust, don’t even think about it that much run away. Just make sure to stay out of the eyes of the police, most especially, or anyone for that matter because the people you’re running away from are probably posting the incident on Facebook and trust me a lot of people actually use Facebook than you think and you’ll be found easily. But what if you didn’t have anyone like I did? I meant it when I said the main reason I’m still alive is out of luck. As I said earlier no one really cares about you out there. No one will look at you and feel sorry for you out there, those people are always too busy minding their own business. The main awful issue when it comes to running away is when nighttime reaches and I’m about to tell you the meaning of luck. They’re a lot of creeps out there and there was apparently this man who was physically attracted to me and so… I got a place to stay. He approached me when it was almost nighttime and I didn’t really know what I was going to do and I used his attraction to my advantage. It wasn’t really hard telling him that I wanted to stay in his house that night coz as I said they’re a lot of creeps out there than you think. Anyway I got a place to stay that night and it was actually raining that night so I felt so lucky. I could’ve probably been raped by some random person that night and left to slowly die in the rain of pneumonia. And I’m not saying the creep that I slept with didn’t want to have sex with me that night. Everything comes at a price. If you find yourself in this situation and you don’t want to have sex coz maybe you don’t want to get pregnant or other obvious reasons just keep saying that you’re tired and you’re gonna do it the next day coz I’m telling you these people don’t have protection and probably have a lot of STDs. But I’m telling you tomorrow will come and you’ll have to think of another excuse. Also this doesn’t mean you won’t make out with them though cause if you don’t they will either beat you up or kick you out of the house. Yes they kiss awfully and probably brush once a month but you have no other choice. I guess I could tell you another essential thing to know when running away is knowing how to lie and making up excuses, but don’t take them too far. For example, I lied to this guy about my name and where I’m from. Don’t trust strangers please. Anyway the next day I ran away from that man’s house. At this point I was honestly just thinking about committing suicide, just finding a random apartment and throwing myself off the roof. But I didn’t and got found by my parents because they tracked my phone and some random person saw me on Facebook and saw me just walking around and reported it to the account. My email is incase you want to talk to me.

    • How old are you? The streets are not a safe place to live. Why would you choose to do that? If your family is abusive seek help. If not, stay home or find a friend to live with.

    • Idk if you did run away or if you haven’t yet, but your goal is not the streets. Your goal is away from your home and finding a place to crash. I am referring to shelters, there are shelters for youth too. Make calls and find the best place to go, reserve a space if you can, then go. This entire article covers the rest in the case you don’t find a shelter.

  3. Get yourself a decent older model pickup truck like a 2wd Ford F-150 and put a good canopy on top of it.. Gemtop makes a great steel canopy and it’s what I have on my truck. Make at least one bunk in the bed on one side of the truck, two bunks if you have someone with you. Put a 12v cooler back there and a decent solar panel or 3 on the roof to charge your stuff, cooler included. Maybe even put a Marine battery that will charge up when running your truck.

    Don’t go buying some beater looking truck. You want it to look like you just parked there for an overnight stay and to get some rest. Put blackout curtains inside the bed area so they can’t see what you have or even if you’re in there. A decent lock on the back that you can access from outside or inside 9Think of something along the lines of the front door to your house with a locking knob on the inside and a key lock on the outside but, all in one piece.

    Put a decent roof rack and maybe get a used cargo box or roof rack box to put up there so you can store away things you might not be using during the current time of year like winter clothes in the Summer months.

    Your bunks can be made out of 2×2’s and raise them up maybe a foot off the floor of the pickup bed to give you storage area underneath. Also put down a bedliner to help with insulation. Interior 12v lamo, 12v-110 plugin to your battery so you can run a coffee pot. Cook things like soup of other things right in your coffee pot.

    Blue water jug, at least 5 gallons. Porta potty that will fit under your bunk. Plenty of blankets (Can be stored as in above during the summer) . 12v USB fan as well as a USB charging outlet to keep your phone going.

    Park in Walmart parking lots out by all the other campers but, far enough away so that you don’t appear to be a moocher. Get a Gym Card so you have a nice place to work out and get a shower for a decent monthly fee.

    Do maintenance regularly on your truck. If it won’t run, you need to get it fixed ASAP before someone thinks it’s abandoned and tows it off.

    Look at a lot of Youtube videos on what other people are doing with their truck bed canopy’s and write down ideas that you want to check up on.

    Before things go totally off kilter, get a storage unit and put things in there you can’t live without.

    It always amazes me when you see a homeless village and everyone is living in blue tarps they’ve turned into some kind of tent. They leave all their trash in piles, they stink, and a large percentage of them just want to make a little extra money to get some more drugs or a pack of smokes to make it through to the next day.

    Get prepared before it happens.. If you and your significant other are both suddenly without a job, first thig is to have a big yard sale. Get RID of stuff but, make a few bucks doing it. Yard sale, yard sale, yard sale.. If you can afford a cargo trailer, you can pull that with more stuff behind your pickup truck. Stock up on coupons at local restaurants. Get a couple of decent RV chairs to sit outside the truck in.

    I mentioned yard sales as that one of my favorite places to go on Fridays and Saturdays. Great deals can be found, offer less, if they say no, walk away, sometimes they’ll change their tone and get rid of it. Bundle, bundle, bundle..

    I could write a whole book on how to get things you want at yard sales on the cheap..

    Got a laptop? Make sure it’s usable and somewhat current, otherwise get a Kindle and use the programs you can download for it. I use Samsung tablets a lot of the time. If I have a wireless or wired internet connection, it can be used as a phone, a place to watch TV, a radio, etc.. etc..

    Why have I thought this out so much and why is my truck set up this way when I have a house I’m paying on regularly as well as a 26′ RV in my front yard?? You never know what’s coming down the pipe. I guess you can say I’m a prepper and that’s probably the best thing to be when it comes to the point where you’re about to lose everything.

    Now I’m off to Craigslist to look for more deals..

  4. BTW, I’m sure someone will ask about why I run an older truck. I bought my truck at a GSA auction about 14 years ago and it’s been a great truck with the old faithful 302 motoe, dual tanks (35 gallons) and it gets 19mpg. No monthly payments, if it gets scratched up, that just adds to the patina like the rest of my truck..

  5. Thanks this article gives great tips I been a homeless high-school student and I can’t get a job cause I do not know my ssn number or have a ride to work any tips.

    • I would suggest you go into the social security office and bring any form of pictured I’d that you have. Examples are student I’d with pic, a passport with pic anything that actually has your picture on it. It gives the people at social security a place to start. U could also bring an expired drivers license or of course a current one. Good luck!

  6. Im homeless too. I agree with all tips above. Find foodbanks and get a bike.. put a trailer on the bike.. and you can tow all the stuff u need very quickly.

  7. I’ve been homeless for over 650 days. Some of the tips in the comments are just as valuable as the ones in the main article. Because I know this plight firsthand and the lack of resources available (even if, like me, you’ve never been evicted, never done drugs, and have no criminal record), I created a website where I aggregate the free resources, tools, and info I use to live alongside my grief, losses, stress, struggles, and traumas – – No shop, no merch, no affiliate links, no sponsors, no place to donate. Just helpful things.

    I also create poetry and art that discusses relevant hard-hitting topics — @HumdingerDarling on IG and @HumdingerDarlin on Twitter and at .

    And I am trying to uplift myself and my kids out of this situation by selling handmade eco-friendly jewelry, goods, and wares, as well as photo prints –

    I’m on a mission to change the world and show others they have the power to change it, too. . Every single day.

  8. There is a high chance I’ll be homeless here on a couple months. I’m trying to mentally prepare for it. I have a few disabilities that cause me to no be able to work.
    Being a woman are there any extra tips I should know about. Ive basically been hoarding feminine products. But any advice at all would be appreciated

  9. women – get diva cups instead of pads or tampons! They sell 3 paks on Amazon for like 10 to 15 bucks, they’re 100% reusable, you just need to wash them every 12hrs with soap and water and they last for YEARS. It saves having to wear tampons too long and risk tss or having to buy/carry around bulky pads!

  10. Gday preppa guide etc.

    My best advice from personal experience through the years; now approaching eighty and staring again at homelessness, is to stay in your local area if you have one to call it that.

    The most helpful contributions towards your plight will come from acquaintances; but be careful not to overburden them.

    Be precise on what are your personal needs. Make extensive lists of alternatives and position acquaintances into solutions to the multiple problems which raise their ugly head.

    Trying not to advertise your plight publicly in a small township is difficult, but not impossible.

    As an early poster above explained, inflating rents and deflating wages and job insecurity are a lethal mix.

    Storage sheds are a boon if your evicted. Comparatively cheap insurance on keeping yourself in touch with things like tools etc, from which if your handy, can be put to work to earn money if your skilled.
    Sheds with power are a bonus for running standard domestic devices like refrigerators and battery chargers. A vehicle is the necessary adjunct for this though; or at least a willing cooperative friend with one.
    A shed with running water and a toilet is more expensive, but a good investment into hygiene.

    Time: if your a worker, most of the hours in a day are accommodated, but if not, each day has 24 of them, and that is a major impediment to homelessness.
    Boarding houses (hostels now), give you a bed and a feed, and if your working, that should be the end of problem.

    If not working, split up your problem between sleeping and hanging out during the day. There is only so long a library is compatible before you become too obvious. People become quickly paranoid, including yourself if not careful.

    It’s impossible to stay on good terms with everyone you meet when living publicly. Don’t feel cheated if you clash, try to take control of bad situations. The skill to back out is imperative, but the natural inclination to step forward is difficult to overcome.

    Be kind to yourself, you are living in a stressful situation, and tempers unravel quickly. There is no win under those circumstances.

    What you need is your own space to escape the idiot world. Try to rent a bare room cheap, and stay respectable.
    Personal hygiene goes without saying.

    Too much more to say here.


  11. I got dementia from ciprofloxacin overdose. 33 years old. I will eventually leave home because i dont want to burden my parents with this disease.

    • I would be so angry/sad/worried for you if you were my child and left, because you thought you were a burden! (Leaving would be the burden you’d place on a good parent.) Every child of mine is worth my best effort! Don’t assume how your parent’s feel. Talk with your parents about it and research options that will make your life and their lives better.

  12. I’m homeless and it’s really hard to find a bed in shelter .and it’s only 30 day stay it’s not for the weak but when you are disabled and waiting on social security also when you want to work but physically can’t people are so judgemental….we are human and life happens Be Kind you never know what someone is going through or has been through ……please stop judging our world is already crumbling don’t make it worse

  13. Scrapes and cuts aren’t the worse offenders. The feet are key. They can make you miserable if they are injured. Also socks are the most important thing to have and change regularly. The hardest part of being homeless is staying away from drugs and other dependencies and living out of a single bag. The worse time to have to prepare for is winter. But getting wet on cool(not just cold) nights is deadly. And the worse days and nights of your life. Be prepared for your own society saying the most psychologically destructive things to you. Stay away from shelters. They are worse than prisons. Do anything and everything avoid becoming homeless unless you are very and I mean ungodly psychologically strong. America hates the homeless. We are the collective whipping boy to people in bad moods and people who just think they are better. Which is darn near everyone. Even other homeless.

  14. I am in yoga, the “Hidden Yogin” style, I am homeless in the Moscow region, Russia. I am a loner, I am under protection. But periodically I see other homeless people. In particular, in winter, in the queue for sanitation, with a shower. I know there are workhouses, some good, some not so good. But people use them to start – then they directly negotiate a workplace and leave the workhouse. Only alcoholics, in general, on the street. I just found a pedestrian crossing over the road, deserted. I’ve been sleeping there since February. There is a bed that I collect every morning and hide next to it, in the bushes. It’s out of town already. In the morning and in the afternoon, I make a detour through the dumpsters, find clothes, shoes and expired food. Sometimes money. It’s been like this for 4 years. The danger, of course, is only from people. But my soul protects me, I will call it. In rare moments of danger, I fall asleep. And when I wake up, it’s all over – there is no enemy, they ran away or left. But, the bed disappeared twice. The hooligans scared me. I know the main rule, look into the eyes – if there is no fear in the eyes, they leave.As a rule.
    Toilet and pastime in the shopping and entertainment center. Wi-Fi Internet is free. I find smartphones in the trash. Here, in a wheelchair toilet stall and completely, I pray quickly – 20 minutes. I wipe the wet floor behind me. Always clean, although the clothes are old style. According to yoga, I got on the street back in 1996. And from time to time you have to live on the street, these are the conditions of spiritual practice. The disciple must be a beggar.

  15. I’ve been homeless in las vegas for 8 years now, living in the flood tunnels, it’s a lonely life down there in the dark, I had everything before, a house, car ,motorcycle and money to do whatever I wanted. I started a very nice new job but they didn’t give health insurance in the first six months, unfortunately it was at this time that one night I was waiting at a crosswalk, I got the light to cross, looked both ways and stepped out, got to the middle and out of nowhere a lady in a big 70s cadillac flew round the bend and just smashed into me never touching the brakes, left me laying in the road and never stopped, I was hurt badly with no insurance, I lost my job, the doctors had no interest in helping, I can’t stand for long then a few mins and if I walk for longer then 5 mins my right leg goes numb and back pain rips through me, my neck causes constant pain, I cannot get disability because I’m not wheel chair bound. I lost everything and fell so low that it’s impossible to pull myself out of this situation without some real support and financial help, it’s not laziness or even a choice, all my personal belongings I brought down here with me have been stolen including all my IDs, social card, passport, birth certificate and I cannot replace anything because I don’t have what all the agencies require to get replacements, until I was 35 I was a totally upstanding citizen with alot of pride, an honorably discharged vet in the UK forces (I’m british but lived in the US 20 years) never been in trouble ever, did alot of charity work and was a member of the US National karate team, after the hit I’m now considered a criminal because the police here hate the homeless and have arrested me a number of times for trespassing because I didn’t have anywhere to go. I have no pride, no sense of any self worth and feel like society simply doesn’t have a clue what we go through everyday just to find a reason to carry on.

  16. im going to be homeless` thrown off rent land after 25 years1 got till april. blind one eye deaf one ear bad knees and feet. 76 no where to go. cant move 25 years of junk. giving it away.. wILL LEAVE 30 FT TRAVEL TRAILER NO WAY TO MOVE IT. MAN SAID HE WOULD HELP AND DID NOT. STRANGE I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING OUT OUT OF HERE AND WANDERING.BLESS ALL OF YOU.

  17. I’m preparing myself for homelessness my identity was taken from me. I’ve been stripped of my life. I’m not on drugs my record is clean and I’m a pretty decent person. I think I’ll be able to survive.

    • Im currently homeless as I’m typing this, Chicago area. only bill I have is my phone. I do work. Me being homeless makes you appreciate the people you actually have in your life. I used to be on drugs. I’m currently going 4 months sober with no rehab. I want better for myself. So I quit every bad habit I ever had. Being in this situation makes you want to do drugs so you don’t think about it so much. But I’m staying strong mentally and telling myself everyday not too. I’m trying my very best to save as much as I can for a car. I have a clean record. It’s really tough mentally because everyday you want to give up. Reading everyone’s comments surprised how much people actually care and some comments about negativity is expected. But for anyone homeless reading this don’t give up. Pray, god hears you everyday. And please stay away from drugs. As hard as it is. It’s something you can live without. Stay strong. I came upon this website by accident but I’m glad I did. It actually gave me some time of hope/motivation.

  18. Been considering becoming homeless due to bills, feelings of hopelessness, and not wanting to be a leech on my parents in their retirement… this article really helped, and the stories are helping put things in perspective things could be a lot worse. Always hated myself for various reasons but finally found I was undiagnosed ADHD after almost 40 years, and been struggling with alcohol lately. My heart goes out to all of you who are struggling and already homeless, especially Scott from Vegas. I hope I can get my shit together and get to a point where I have enough money to try to help others dealing with awful situations. So many people don’t understand it’s easy for life to just suddenly go downhill, and how hard it is to turn it around when you’re depressed, have low self esteem, or feeling hopeless

  19. I used to want to run away when I was a kid but never had the gut to. Now, as an 18 year old, it’s became inevitable. I don’t know when it’ll happen but someday I’ll be homeless. I’ll save the reasons why for another person but I don’t know the basics of how to protect what I have and how to earn the most amount of money to survive. Since I’m not a runaway, I don’t have to worry about being seen so I was considering bringing anything I could sell at some donation center like old clothes or something but there’s a low chance I’d earn a few extra cash for it. Unfortunately, I have an extremely low attention span so I struggle with doing my own research and planning without forgetting or getting distracted so I came here hoping that I can finally get the help I need to be l as safe and prepared as possible.


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