Oftentimes even people who live a comfortable life can find themselves homeless overnight, the majority of homeless people have become homeless because of an unexpected injury that either costed everything they had or they disabled them from finding work. It doesn’t even matter why you became homeless, but if you do it is a good idea to take a look at your housing options.
The places to stay if your homeless are homeless shelters, public spaces, car, salvation army shelters, hostels, woods, single occupancy rooms, motels, regional homeless assistance programs, charities, day shelters, halfway housings, permanent affordable housings, boarding houses, drug and alcohol rehab centers, and prisons.
The frightening truth is that most people not only in the USA but all around the world are one step away from being homeless. Most US households have less than $1000 in savings, and this is the richest country in the world. Most people who became homeless never thought they will be living off the streets, although there are some people who have been born into this lifestyle, it is safe to say that most people do not choose to be homeless.
Losing your home can happen fairly quickly, first, you struggle with the bills, then with your rent or mortgage, once you crossed the point of no return you will be evicted. Cople of months earlier you might have thought you had everything figured out and living the American Dream, but once you find yourself in debt due to job loss, injury, medical bill or sheer stupidity your life will spiral out of control in no time.
Millennials have been raised with the participation trophy mentality, meaning everybody wins if they participate. This mentality is extremely harmful as it only shows children which worked hard for achieving the trophy that working for it was pointless because everybody gets one, on the other hand, children who got these participation trophies feel ashamed as they do know that they didn’t deserve it.
The participation trophy with every child is “special” mentality will lead only to disaster, not only it weakens nations but it will also eventually blow up. Once these people left school and college with a mostly useless degree and a huge debt, they will start looking for jobs, at this point they will be hit with a hard dose of reality. The reality is that they are not special and no matter what kind of degree they have they will start working for a minimum wage like everybody else, their parents can not go to the boss and get a rais for their child just by complaining as they did in school.
If you have suddenly become homeless your first thought would be to go to a homeless shelter. These homeless shelters either let you live there till you get your shit together which is rare, in most cases they do let you sleep over the night where you also have the ability to clean yourself and your clothes, in some places they give you a hot meal. The problem is not that there are too few homeless shelters but that there are way too many homeless people, some even choosing the homeless life as an alternative living style.
People who willingly choose to be homeless and drug addicts increase the demand for homeless shelters. This inevitably forces honest hard working persons which due to loss of job or debt to actively compete with drug addicts and people who willingly choose the homeless lifestyle. This inevitably leads to more homeless people who once tried to get out of their situation find themselves mixed up with the wrong crowd of homeless alcoholics and drug users, and it won’t take long to change a hard working honest person to turn to drugs or alcohol when they do not have any favorable perspectives.
The government also does a very poor job to end homelessness, at best they provide some shelters and some syringes for the homeless drug addict. The problem is that the government no matter who the president is, it isn’t focusing on the root cause of homelessness which is a crippling debt due to college or health issues. Aiding homeless drug addicts whit syringes only encourages the use of drugs and puts other people in danger as you have seen in major cities in the US, no wonder cities like San Francisco have a huge problem with people literally shitting on the streets.
If the government not only tolerates homeless drug users but actively aids them with syringes than this situation will get only worse year by year.
Most homeless choose to spend most of their time in public spaces, where they can get some food and even money by begging. These public spaces are considered generally safer than other more secluded places as hardened homeless people often become petty criminals when they know that there is no law enforcement nearby or they are not seen by the local population. During winter time these public spaces can become a hot spot for the homeless, as they will seek out buildings that have a comfortable temperature in order not to freeze.
Homeless people are mostly tolerated in public spaces, although this depends on the local law enforcement as some will actively harass homeless people in richer neighborhoods or in places where there are a lot of tourists.
Often times when a person becomes homeless for the first time they end up living and sleeping in their car. Generally speaking, this is by far one of the safest places for a homeless person, not only it can provide you shelter against the elements but it can also keep you safe from criminals. One of the major benefits for homeless people living in their car is that they can have a lot more stuff than your homeless person who lives on the street, and these items are in a much safer location than just being hidden away in a bush.
Homeless people living in their cars can also search for jobs in a wider location as they do have the ability to travel without restrictions with a vehicle like a bus. The problem is that fueling the car while being homeless can become a challenge in itself, in addition to this even small mechanical problems with the car could be a huge problem for any homeless person. Once the car is unable to move there are very few alternatives for the homeless person, and after this happens they life tends to spiral even more out of control.
The Salvation Army
This organization feeds and sometimes shelters the homeless. If there is a local Salvation Army building in your area this is the first place where you should head once you become homeless. The Salvation Army not only feeds and shelters the homeless but in some cases, they also try to help them out with their day to day problems and in some cases even finding them jobs. Some Salvation Army groups also give out hotel vouchers for the homeless, although there are some requirements which the homeless person needs to meet, mainly no drug users or alcoholics.
There are a lot of homeless people choosing hostels to stay during the night. Although this could get fairly dangerous depending on where the hostel is located, and if you do look like and act like a homeless person odds are you won’t be welcomed. Some hostels let you surf their couch for free, while others charge a small fee. Usually, the fee is fairly small enough for a homeless person to be able to afford it.
Some homeless shelters are also considered hostels although there is not much of a difference between the two of them.
In the woods
Some homeless people choose to live off the land in the woods, there is also an ever-increasing number of people choosing to live off the grid entirely. If you read my article Off grid living legal states ( Top 13 ), you will find which states allow and facilitate for living off the grid. There are two types of homeless people living in the woods, the ones who are hiding from the authorities and live by stealing or begging in the city.
The second one is made of homeless people using their skills to live off the land, if you need more information check out my article How to live off the land with no money (Tips & Tricks), Generally speaking, you will need some skills to have the ability to live off the land, but the downside is that even if you are homeless you can build a small shelter for yourself and you could even live fairly comfortable without the daily hassles which homeless people face in the city.
Single Occupancy Rooms
Single occupancy rooms also called SOR’s are fairly cheap but the conditions are even worse than in some homeless shelters. Most of these SOR’s are operated by nonprofit organizations and due to lack of funds they have to cut corners on some “luxuries”. Most often they do have several bunk beds in one room, the kitchen is a shared kitchen and often times there is only one fridge for 40+ people.
When it comes to hygiene SOR’s have shared bathrooms and showers, some of them are gender-segregated but most of them are not.
If you want more privacy you can choose to live in a motel, generally speaking, the cheaper it is the more dangerous the local area is. Most of these low budget motels are not only used by some homeless but also by criminals and prostitutes. When these different kinds of people stay in close proximity to each other, the possibility of conflict also increases. Most cheap motels also lack in propper security as most often all the doors have the same key which could lead up to theft.
Basically, this is camping for the homeless, although with a more permanent timeline. As the homeless population is ever-increasing some of these people have started to band together and form small encampments. The big problem with these encampments is that there is a limited rule of law as most law enforcement agencies will not bother policing these communities. These encampments harbor a lot of different kinds of people from hard-working people to drug addicts and alcoholics, which is a recipe for disaster.
Regional Homeless Assistance Programs
These programs usually assist people who have recently become homeless, most of these programs offer hotel, motel, and food vouchers. The problem is that these kinds of programs are not available in every state, and even if they are, they tend to be underfinanced. As with all projects and organizations regarding the homeless, you will find that these do not have the necessary funds to house people in the long term, as there is no way of making a profit out of them the homeless tend to be ignored by everybody.
Local and religious charities help out the homeless as much as they can, although not all of them will accept you based on different criteria. I do remember a time when I was around 5-6 years old and together with my mother and sister went to the local church as they were handing out oranges and bananas for Christmas, we were turned away as we were not paying tax for that church. Do note that this has happened in the early ’90s in a former communist country.
Day shelters actually let you stay there during the day, usually, these also have shared kitchens and bathrooms and usually, they do it for free. Generally speaking, homeless shelters let you sleep there during the night and they kick you out during the day which means that unless you get first in the line during the evening you might be forced to sleep outside. Some day shelters do also provide you with a washing room, where you can also wash your dirty clothes, this is especially important for the homeless people who are searching for a job.
Halfway housing is a more permanent option for homeless people, generally speaking, you can stay anywhere from 6 months to 2 years till you get back up on your feet and can afford to live in your own house. These halfway houses do cost some money but they do offer a lot for their cheap price, oftentimes homeless people can get back up on their feet in less than a year after finding a job. Although there are people who consider halfway houses as their permanent home and they do not even attempt to get their lives back together, most often these people hop from one halfway house to another till they get turned down.
Permanent Affordable Housing
These houses are fairly cheap and meant for either the homeless or for low-income families. Depending on who is in charge of the permanently affordable houses these can be either a blessing or a curse. In the best-case scenario, you can live in one of these houses relatively long term and if you end up sawing enough money you could buy it. However some of these so-called “permanent affordable houses” make you sign long term contracts which they know you will not be able to either afford, getting out of these contracts could prove extremely difficult as most people do not even show up in court.
These are houses from where you can rent one room and the kitchen and the bathroom is shared between the tenants. The only difference between having a roommate and living in a boarding house is that boarding houses are relatively cheaper. If you went to college and lived in the collages boarding house than you are probably familiar with the idea, although you might start asking urself why are you homeless with a college degree.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab
In my opinion, if you are not addicted to either of these then only consider this option as a last resort. The last thing you want while you are trying to get back on your feet is being with people who constantly talk and use drugs and alcohol. In addition to this once the rehab center finds out that you have a stable job, you might find yourself paying a lot of fees, and like most Americans which are homeless due to a medical condition is not due to actual medical condition rather than the debt with which the healthcare comes.
You might find it odd that some homeless people would rather stay in prison than on the streets. Homeless people look at prisons in a different way, these offer shelter, food and in most cases even some recreational activities. Not to mention that most prisons do have educational programs where you can learn different types of crafts, which you can use after you are freed. Most big cities see an increase in crime once the cold weather comes, most of these are insignificant crimes of only a few months of jail time.
Some homeless people might even claim that prisons are much safer than living in the streets, although this is mostly true you might want to sleep with one eye open, just in case.
There are a lot of options for places to stay if you’re homeless, however, your main goal should be to get back up on your feet. Once you get used to the homeless lifestyle you might become comfortable and not do nearly enough to get yourself out of the situation. Usually, people know that they will be evicted, before you make sure you inform yourself what are the best options in your local area, most often times homeless people do not even know that there are nearby groups and organizations that could help them.