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Soon to Be Homeless? 12 Ways to Prepare for Homelessness

LTM has ridden the rollercoaster of life. Now she shares the benefit of experience coping with a myriad of family problems and challenges.

How to get ready and prepare yourself if you think you are about to be homeless.

How to get ready and prepare yourself if you think you are about to be homeless.

How to Be Homeless as Comfortably as Possible

Most people get some warning before they become homeless. The writing is on the wall, and, at some point, losing your home becomes inevitable. You can't make the rent or you can't pay your mortgage. Your business is slowing, and redundancy seems inevitable. You're about to be divorced, and you'll end up with nothing.

Whatever the problem is, you know you may well end up out on the street.

Sadly, children might also be involved. For the sake of your kids, don't wait until the last moment to figure out what you'll do when you are homeless. Consider these twelve things to think about when you are about to be homeless. I sincerely hope you won't need these tips, but if you are in financial trouble and risk losing your home, the best thing to do is make a plan.

Planning a Better Life When You Are Homeless

With the right attitude, losing your home can become an opportunity to make positive change. If you have been unhappy or unsatisfied with the circumstances of your life, now marks the moment when you are going to do things differently.

  • Circumstances are forcing you out of your home.
    The first step is to accept that you have to make dramatic changes.
  • You know losing your home is inevitable.
    Don't wait until the last moment when all your money is gone.
  • You want a better life than most homeless people.
    Make a plan to create a new home . . . and stick to it.
  • You don't want to get caught in a cycle that spirals from bad to worse.
    Let go of the past and be positive about the future.

Becoming homeless gives you every reason to let go of the old and embrace the new. All that old baggage you've carted around with you in the past is about to be left behind.

Here are my top twelve tips for planning a better life when you are homeless.

Homeless Tip # 1: Move Quickly

When becoming homeless is inevitable, you have to move quickly in every sense of the word.

  • Make a plan quickly.
  • Make decisions quickly.
  • Implement your plan quickly.
  • Give notice that you will be moving out as soon as you can arrange it. Don't wait until your money runs out.

There are many advantages to becoming homeless months before it is forced upon you if it means that you'll still have money in the bank. Don't waste the last of your savings and incur more debt by trying to delay the inevitable.

You want the ability to set yourself up before your funds dry up. By moving quickly, you can stop paying rent and avoid another power bill just a little bit sooner.

If you have a mortgage and can rent your home out for enough money to cover your bank payments, temporary homelessness may ultimately save your home.

Don't wait until it's too late!

Homeless Tip #2: Buy a Shelter Before Your Money Runs Out: A Tent Trailer or Bike Trailer

Homeless With a Family? Buy a Tent Trailer, If Possible

I believe a tent trailer is the single most valuable item to acquire if you are facing homelessness. Before you freak out about the likely cost and decide that you can't possibly afford one, give this option some thought.

Unless you frequently visit camping stores, you probably have no idea of how surprisingly affordable a lot of camping gear actually is . . . including tent trailers. You can buy a tent trailer and live in it without even having a car. All you need is a place to park it, perhaps in a family member's back yard, until you are able to relocate.

If you have a car with a tow bar, you can pack your tent up and tow it. If you have a place to set it up, you can leave the tent and the trailer in place while you go about business and life in your car.

The biggest strain on friends and family when a homeless family member comes to stay is having that extra person (or extra family) in the space 24/7. If you arrive complete with your own sleeping quarters and can accommodate yourself (apart from using the bathroom and kitchen), you're likely to be far more welcome.

What a relief for you and whomever you are staying with. There is nothing 'permanent' about your visit. When the time is right, you can simply move on. Your tent can be packed up in your trailer along with all your personal possessions, and your family can be put in your car.

Single and Homeless? Consider a Bike With a Bicycle Camper Trailer

Even if you are single with no dependents, no commitments, and nobody to answer to, being homeless is tough. It makes sense to invest some money in your homeless lifestyle to protect you from the weather (and the snakes and spiders and wandering dogs that can interrupt a good night's sleep on the ground).

A thousand dollars seems like a lot when you don't have a dime, but if you sell all your assets before taking to the streets, you may well be able to collect enough cash to buy yourself a bicycle camper trailer.

Your existing pushbike or a cheap one from a second-hand store or yard sale could tow your little bicycle camper trailer from one place to another.

Of course, you are always vulnerable to theft when living in the outdoors, but if you can find a safe spot, there are advantages to having your own bed on wheels.

  • Water-resistant and lightweight.
  • Has storage space beneath the bed—small, but better than none.
  • Keeps you off the cold, wet ground.
  • Protects from insects.
  • Can be moved without being carried. :)

With a small, mobile bed on wheels, perhaps you can find a job as a caretaker or security for a local business. Offer to sleep inside their building at night in exchange for a small fee and use of their bathroom facilities. You can move your bed to a discreet place in their storeroom or yard during the day when their business is operating and bring it in again at night.

Homeless Tip # 3: Sell Everything You Don't Need Now

Once you become homeless, you are going to lose everything anyway. Instead of waiting until your possessions are taken or sent to the dump, sell them.

Have a garage sale or a yard sale. Sell things on eBay. Stick a 'For Sale' sign up in your local supermarket and other public venues with photos and prices for large furniture items. Take smaller items to a local market and display them on a blanket or rug.

To sell everything, you might have to drop your prices, but every item sold is one less problem on moving day.

The cost of buying things you’ll need if you’re homeless (like a caravan or even just an ordinary tent) seems impossible when you have nothing. But you don't have 'nothing' until you walk out your door for the last time, leaving everything you own behind you.

Sell everything except what you'll obviously need like your sleeping bags, blankets, or bed covers. Just keep what you'll need for one very cold night and one rather warm night and sell the rest. Keep one pillow per person.

The vast majority of your kitchen items can be sold, along with everything in your lounge room, dining room, laundry, etc. All your towels and linens and books and CDs and DVDs and toys and everything else that will be lost when you walk out the door should be sold to help fund the next stage of your life.

Homeless Tip # 4: Don't Just Vanish

Losing your home can be embarrassing. Nobody likes to feel like a failure. But with more than 1.5 million Americans homeless as a result of financial crises and the alarming growth of homelessness in other countries as well, there is no need to hang your head in shame and want to vanish. You really do need to keep in touch with your network of friends and family and be contactable in the event of an emergency.

How to Keep In Touch With People When You Are Homeless

  • You'll need a cell phone. Facebook messaging can be problematic if you don't have an internet connection, so consider a cheap pre-paid mobile cell phone that can receive phone calls and text messages. At the store, explain that you don't intend to use your phone, but you'll try to keep it charged and will check for messages every couple of days. (Of course you can check it every day, even if you don't want your in-laws to know you do.)
  • Get a post office box or similar service in place before you leave your home and no longer have a home address. You'll need to receive mail from government bodies for things like a driver's license renewal. You can have your mail redirected when you know where you'll be based. Alternatively, it might be appropriate to have your mail sent to a trusted and reliable friend or family member who can forward it or open and read your letters to you over the phone.
  • Reach out. Tell at least one trusted person where you are going. Keep them updated with where you are and how you are coping. Everyone else (mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends who worry about you) will feel better if they have a point-of-contact person who can reassure them you are alive and doing okay. Choose a person who is very diplomatic and willing to communicate.

You'll complicate life for those who care about you if you leave everything to their imagination, so don't just vanish without explanation. Make an effort to stay in touch.

Homeless Tip # 5: Photograph Everything You Want to Remember

Take photos of all the things you wish you could keep: furniture, mementos, nondigital photos, the neighborhood, a favorite view. Take pictures of your children's toys and their schoolwork and their bedrooms. Reassure a distressed child that one day you'll get another bed just like their old one if they want it, and more toys and another toy box.

Some children like the idea of getting everything new, so for them, parting with the old might not really be a problem. But if your child needs routine and feels uncomfortable with change, being able to show them photos of the things they miss as evidence of what you plan to replace might help.

Be happy we live in the day and age of inexpensive technology and gigabytes of storage! When I moved from one side of the country to the other in 1990 with two kids, two dogs, and two suitcases after a messy relationship breakup, taking photographs required film and processing. One heavy suitcase was filled with documents and school awards that would have been a lot lighter if I could have brought them with me on a USB or a single CD.

Homeless Tip # 6: Take What You'll Need to Look for a Job

Homelessness is a short-term proposition. You don't want to be without a home for longer than necessary, but before you can get yourself and your family into a new home, you are going to need an income. Despite how hopeless life may seem at the moment, the sun will rise one morning and you will be ready to go out and get a job. Make sure you have everything you need when that day comes!

  • Professional clothing. Very few employers will be impressed by someone who walks through their door in tracksuit pants and a t-shirt. When you apply for a job, you have to dress for the occasion, and when you begin work, you need to be dressed appropriately. If you're an office worker, pack at least one appropriate outfit for work. Choose items of clothing that are easily cleaned and don't wrinkle quickly. Fold your work clothes flat and tie them up in a plastic bag.
  • Basics. If you're unskilled and have no idea what kind of work you might find, pack a black shirt, a white shirt, and a pair of black trousers, along with a pair of comfortable, clean shoes you could wear if working in a cafe, a bakery, a variety store, or any other store that might require staff.
  • Work gear. If you think your best chance of employment is on a building construction site, make sure you have your work boots, a clean pair of trousers, and a fresh safety shirt on hand. If you have your own hard hat, bring it.
  • References and other important records. Make sure to upload a file of important documents to your cell phone and also print out and put a copy of important documents in the bag as well.

Tip # 7: Buy Solar Lights and Rechargeable Batteries

You will definitely need a way to see in the dark if you are homeless, and you won't want to have to buy new batteries. I remember when I used to spend a small fortune buying new batteries for torches and toys. Not anymore.

Now I have a range of wonderful lights and torches that operate on solar power or can be charged by hand if there's no sunshine available, and I buy rechargeable batteries that can be plugged into power for a short while before being returned to power other torches and toys. Scroll down to find my recommended products with links.

The same torches I use at home now that I live off the grid are ideal for a homeless lifestyle. None of these torches require spending money on batteries.

The same torches I use at home now that I live off the grid are ideal for a homeless lifestyle. None of these torches require spending money on batteries.

Homeless Tip # 8: Prepare to Cook Real Food and Carry Fresh Water

Invest in a small camping stove and containers for fresh water. If you feed yourself and your family a diet of fast foods from takeaway food outlets, you can expect to gain weight and become less healthy. To be healthy, you must eat healthy foods. This may seem an impossible challenge when you are homeless, but there are ways to cook real food without a kitchen, and with a little planning, you'll find you can always carry fresh water.

Making healthy food choices should be high on your list of priorities. It is more important than ever to stay fit and well when you are homeless. A case of diarrhea is inconvenient when your bathroom is a few steps from your bedroom, but it becomes a major problem if you are relying on public toilets.

Similarly, you'll want to avoid constipation. Instead of being forced to sit for ages on a public toilet while struggling to rid yourself of waste, in an ideal world, you will simply make a quick trip to a public loo when necessary and get in and out without fuss or drama.

Eating real food instead of junk food will help keep your body in good condition and avoid toilet problems.

How to Get Fresh Water When You're Homeless

Drinking fresh water instead of soda or sugary fruit drinks will help you maintain good health. Plus, you'll save money.

  • Look for an outlet that sells purified water and purchase one of their water tanks with a cap on the top for filling and a tap in the bottom for pouring water into a cup.
  • Carry a cup for each family member (or a small drink bottle) and encourage them to drink fresh water from the tank when they are thirsty.
  • Do not store your drinking water in the sunshine or a hot vehicle for long periods.
  • Make sure you keep it as cool and shaded as possible.
Keep fresh water on hand for drinking and cooking. Find an outlet that sells healthy clean drinking water. Don't risk drinking contaminated water. Water for washing and bathing should ideally be kept separate to your valuable drinking water.

Keep fresh water on hand for drinking and cooking. Find an outlet that sells healthy clean drinking water. Don't risk drinking contaminated water. Water for washing and bathing should ideally be kept separate to your valuable drinking water.

Homeless Tip # 9: Move to a Safer Place With a Better Climate, Preferably Not in a City

If you live where snow falls, that's not a good place to be homeless. If you experience tornadoes, you won't want to be caught without a basement. Flooding rains, severe cyclones, raging bushfires . . . there are many dangers that can be avoided if you are prepared to pack up and move to a less threatening climate.

Do you really want to re-establish a home in the path of regular tornadoes? Even if you have friends and family in the area where you now live, don't you think they'd be happy to come visit you if you establish a new home in a safer place?

While you are assessing where you will go, give serious thought to the type of environment you want to be in.

If you have always lived in the heart of a busy city, imagine what your lifestyle will be if you no longer have a house with a living room, a kitchen, a dining room, a shower, a door to lock and a place to park your car. Pitching a tent (or parking your trailer and erecting your tent on it, as suggested in Tip # 1) is not going to be easy in a city.

My suggestion is to head for a town that is large enough to have businesses likely to be needing staff but small enough for young people to leave when they want to get a university education or pursue their careers and dreams. This type of community often welcomes newcomers and the locals are more likely to know where to find work (in shops or on farms or in orchards at harvest time). Local caravan and camping sites are likely to have lower rates than bigger towns and large cities and may have free camping areas alongside rivers or parks. Talk to a friendly local and ask for advice.

Consider your personal hygiene needs, including access to showers and toilets in the short term, while you are settling in and finding work. There may be a free camping area with public toilets and a truck stop with a coin-operated shower nearby.

You'll have many options if you choose the right town. Ask if there are any local farmers, for instance, who might be prepared to let you camp on their land in return for doing some light work. Farmers often grow their own fruit and vegetables and have an abundance of fresh food to share.

Moving away from the city does not mean moving to the middle of nowhere. Think carefully before setting up camp in a remote area or in a place where local wildlife could be dangerous. I have never encountered a bear, but I have heard enough stories to know that I wouldn't want to spend a night in a tent in an area where I might meet one.

Homeless Tip # 10: Keep One Eye on the Future

Sometimes even the greatest optimist can have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Homelessness can be one of those times.

Coping with the challenges of being homeless takes a lot of effort, but if you can always keep one eye on the future, the process will be easier.

  • Be confident that you will find work, save money, and establish yourself in a new home.
  • Dream of buying a cheap block of land, moving your trailer tent (or other tent if you really can't afford a trailer tent) onto it, and ultimately building a house.
  • Remember that your children need a good education, and don't neglect them in your period of instability. Make a real effort to teach them throughout your time of upheaval and get them back into school as soon as possible.
  • Be nice and pleasant to everyone you meet. It's a small world, and today's stranger might be tomorrow's employer or a relative of your future landlord.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Don't wait until a bad situation becomes worse.
  • Make new friends. If you have children, take them to the park and chat with other parents who are watching their own kids. Be an interesting person. Don't just be a victim of the global financial crisis.
  • Accept help if you are offered it. Learn to say, "That would be great. Thank you." You will get the chance to repay or pass forward any kindness you receive, so there is no need to feel uncomfortable when somebody lends you a hand.
  • Actively seek out opportunities to learn, grow, work, save, and build your new life. Today's experiences will help create the person you become tomorrow. Make it your goal to become wise, not bitter.

Homeless Tip #11: Bring Your Musical Instrument!

If you play a musical instrument small enough to carry with you, hold onto it. Your music might help you make money.

  • Provide lessons to beginner students. Put a sign up on noticeboards saying you'll come to the student's home.
  • Try busking. If you are any good and you pick the right place, you might make some decent money. At the very least, you can enjoy making music for a while. :)
  • If you don't have children to look after every night (or your partner can look after the kids), you could put a sign up in local music stores looking for a band to join. Then help the band get better-paying jobs.

The same principle applies if you have other skills that people want to learn. Offer to teach clients in their homes.

Homeless Tip #12: Buy Some Basic Survival Gadgets Now

Below, you'll find a full description of some of the best and most useful gadgets you'll need with links.

I love this solar panel, battery, and light which are indispensable for living off the grid.

I love this solar panel, battery, and light which are indispensable for living off the grid.

We use this solar panel nearly every day of the year!

This Solar Powered PowerPak Is Great for Outdoor or Off-the-Grid Living

You just have to look at other articles I've written to see many photos of our Nature Power 40050 Solar Powered PowerPak with LED lights in action.

Most of the year, however, we use it as part of our daily off-grid lifestyle. It illuminates my desk area at night now that we have my daughter's bedroom lights connected directly to our main solar system.

This is not a torch. You wouldn't want to carry it as you find your way from your campsite to the nearest toilet, but it is absolutely wonderful for lighting the inside of the large tent we take camping . . . and a room in my house . . . and my firebunker . . . and every other application I have turned it to.

How to Prepare Food Without a Kitchen

You won't know how affordable camp cooking can be until you go looking for stoves. You'll need a gas cylinder for a flame but it is possible to prepare healthy 'home-cooked' meals even when you are homeless.

You won't know how affordable camp cooking can be until you go looking for stoves. You'll need a gas cylinder for a flame but it is possible to prepare healthy 'home-cooked' meals even when you are homeless.

If you camp on an unpowered site in a caravan park, you'll have access to their cooking facilities. Some offer indoor and outdoor cooking options and even let you use a fridge. Choose a nice clean resort and negotiate a weekly or monthly rate.

If you camp on an unpowered site in a caravan park, you'll have access to their cooking facilities. Some offer indoor and outdoor cooking options and even let you use a fridge. Choose a nice clean resort and negotiate a weekly or monthly rate.

What You Need vs. What You Want

As difficult as it seems, it really is important to spend time imagining what you will need when homeless, where you can get it, how you will use it, and how you will transport it between the places you will stay.

Make a list of what you think your most basic needs will be. Then make a "wish list" as opposed to a "need list."

So, let's talk about tables. Do you need a table? If so, why? It will obviously need to be small and light if you don't have a permanent home. Where can you get one? How will you use one, and how will you transport it?

The next obvious question when considering a table is the issue of chairs. Do you need them? Should you put a camp table with benches on one of your lists? Which list?

Make your lists, and then see how far your money will spread. Don't buy things you really don't need.

With school-age children, I would consider a table with benches a "need." If I was only considering myself, or if I had pre-schoolers to care for, I would probably put just the table on my "needs" list (because I'd be happy to stand when preparing food, etc., and would need to keep some things out of the reach of little ones) and put the seats on my "wish" or "wants" list.

Think through each item on your lists . . . but don't take too long doing it. You need to make decisions quickly.

Tables Make Life Easier

Where to Live When You Become Homeless

Talk to most people about where to live when you are homeless, and you'll hear the same five options repeated. The five most common housing alternatives people consider when faced with losing their home are:

  1. in a car
  2. in a van
  3. in a motel
  4. with friends or family (couchsurfing)
  5. in charity shelters

But of course, each of these options has huge disadvantages. My research indicates that there are significant needs that simply cannot be met by any of these most obvious options when you become homeless. Instead of falling into these common "solutions," I urge anyone faced with homelessness to take a less obvious but more sustainable path. Below, I explore each of these options to give you an insider's perspective.

Why to Avoid Living in a Car

I am saddened by how many people are currently living in their cars. It's bad enough to be a single adult with your bedding and all your possessions stuffed into a vehicle, but many children are also living in cars.

Apparently, Walmart carparks are popular overnight accommodation venues in the US. In the UK and Australia, cars are often parked overnight on discreet suburban streets or alongside 24-hour service stations.

When it comes to comfort, living in a car is not much better than sleeping in a park or in a doorway. Living in a car gives you the ability to lock the door, but if you are sleeping in a park, at least you have room to stretch out your legs.

A car is not an appropriate home for a child. Too much can go wrong. If you are about to become homeless, explore the other options I outline in this article.

A car is not an appropriate home for a child. Too much can go wrong. If you are about to become homeless, explore the other options I outline in this article.

When Living in a Van Is a Bad Idea

If you own a small vehicle, upgrading to a van with a bit more headroom can seem like a great improvement. Because you can raise your bed and create storage at floor level, living in a van seems like an attractive option.

Let's face it, a campervan—particularly one with a pop-top and a bed inside it—can be a workable option for holidays. With a little gas cooker and a built-in sink, perhaps even a tiny fridge, the old Kombi campervan can be a trusty and reliable friend.

But try adapting a standard van to residential living. It costs a fortune to add the 'camper' elements. The windows aren't made for controlled and secure opening and are not fit with fly and mosquito screens. You could make room for a mattress, but living in a van brings many of the same restrictions and frustrations associated with living in a car.

The Cost of Living in a Motel

I watched a television documentary featuring a man who works at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida, and lives with his wife and children year-round in a local motel. Apparently, many of the local motels now house families full-time. They live in cramped conditions and heat food in a microwave. By the time he pays his motel bill and buys packaged meals or take-out from nearby eateries, he has no money left. There is nowhere for his children to play and no hope of a better life in the future.

Living in a motel is a dead-end option. How can you possibly make financial progress if your entire income is dedicated to your weekly living expenses? The cost of living in a motel includes not just the money you spend today, but the money you don't have to spend tomorrow.

The Negative Side of Staying With Friends or Family When You Are Homeless

Do you have someone in your life whom you know will welcome you with open arms, feed you, and give you a bed? If so, run to them. You'll need a kind ear and a shoulder to cry on as you make the transition from your previous life to the challenges that lie ahead.

Unfortunately, however, staying with friends and family is generally not a good long-term option. Particularly if you have children, the friendship is likely to be strained for any of many reasons.

  • If they are renting, their tenancy agreement may be for a limited number of residents. You risk having them evicted.
  • If their home is small, your presence will definitely cause stress and tension.
  • Your children will have to adopt their house rules. This may be difficult.
  • You will walk the fine line between being appropriately helpful and appearing to be "taking over." You risk being seen as lazy, and at the same time, you risk being seen as bossy.
  • Staying with friends or family in a confined space will definitely change the dynamics of your relationship.

Problems With Charity Shelters for the Homeless

Not every community provides shelter for the homeless. Those that do should be commended, but as soon as you walk through that door, you have to accept that the space is not your own.

Plus, you will rub shoulders with many other homeless individuals, and not all are as pleasant and honest as you. Your children will be exposed to other children and adults who could potentially pose a threat. You will need to supervise your children very carefully to ensure their safety and avoid problems.

Many charity shelters for the homeless require you to enter and leave at specific times. This can make finding a job and getting back on your feet very difficult.

Homeless but Not Without Hope

Good luck to everyone faced with the challenge of surviving without a home.

Many of us in the world have seen hard times and yet managed to rebuild our lives and find happiness and security again. Yes, you may be homeless for a while, but I hate to think you'd see a day without hope. Make a positive plan and do your best to stick to it.

I wish you all the best.

More Advice on Homelessness From a Family's Perspective

  • Advice For Working Homeless Families
    This woman spent eight months homeless with her husband and children. She writes of her experience and offers tips about options including shelters, and obtaining food. (She also writes about the difficulties of staying with friends.)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What should a physically disabled senior woman do when facing homelessness? I'm at the end of my rope.

Answer: Perhaps try contacting a newspaper or TV current affairs show and tell them ‘surviving Isn’t as easy as politicians would have us believe.’ Then ask them if they’d like to do a story about your predicament and the trouble you have trying to obtain assistance.

You’d be surprised how much good can come from media exposure. Politicians and government departments can become more helpful, and sometimes general viewers make donations or offer solutions.

Question: I'm not only homeless but I'm also dying. I am homeless now and my dream is sleeping in a bed one more time. Where do I go?

Answer: I don’t know where you are, so that’s a hard question to answer. If you are dying, I guess that means you have a terminal medical condition so here are a few thoughts. I hope they help.

Hospitals generally have social workers, so perhaps you can contact one at the hospital that’s been treating you. If you live in a country with free healthcare (like Australia), perhaps you could go to the hospital and be admitted for a few days to get you off the streets and into a bed while the social workers come up with a plan to find you accommodation.

I also think you should approach the ‘association’ for whatever your medical condition is, and see if they have counselors who could advise you about any support services.

There are phone services like ‘Lifeline’ or the equivalent in your country that might be able to point you in the direction of help.

And have you reached out to family members and longtime friends? You might be surprised at how willing someone you used to be close to is to open their door and welcome you in.

This is not the time to let pride get in the way. Reach out and tell those who care about you that you need help. If they can’t take you in themselves, they should be able to help you work the phone to find help.

I’m hoping you’ll receive the care you need.

Question: I wanted to thank you for your post. My name is Durval. I just turned 35 years, and since the age of 24, I’ve taken care of my mom who has suffered from two strokes. I live in the Azores (Portugal), and in a few months, I will be homeless. I will do all that I can to make sure my beloved mom stays safe in a house, but I am so lost that I am considering suicide. I don't know if anybody will read this, but thank you?

Answer: I don’t know anything about living in Portugal, Durval. Here’s one thought though...Would it be easier for your mother to be put into appropriate accommodation and care if she isn’t considered to have you as her carer? You’ve been looking after her for ten years, and now you face being homeless. Suicide should never be an option. What a waste of your life. You’re still young and deserve a chance to get back on your feet and find happiness.

Talk to social workers and your mother’s doctor. Tell them that you can no longer care for your mother. I suspect they’ll be able to find her some care alternatives.

Then you can concentrate on getting yourself work and a room in a shared house. Visit your mother, and give her good news about your progress as you get your life in order.

Question: I am about to become homeless. How should I approach this?

Answer: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Sell as many things as you can to accumulate some cash, and pack the essentials to take with you.

© 2013 LongTimeMother


Chelseatampa on August 07, 2019:

I have finally come to the end of the road I have been on. It has been a horror story filled with violence, abuse, vandalism, theft, sabotage and destruction. I have lost everything I spent my life working for and in a few weeks I will be losing my home to foreclosure and being forced to rehome every single pet I have. I have no functional vehicles, no credit anymore and no job or income. Just about everything I had that was of sellable value has already been stolen or destroyed, and the police told me there was nothing I could do because I didn't have any proof on video surveillance or camera.

Needless to say, preparing for a life on the streets isn't something I ever thought would happen to me, especially with having to give up my fur-babies. I feel such strong resentment and frustration towards everyone who took part in destroying my life, but I also know I am responsible for my own actions (which also means I am NOT responsible for anyone else's choices/actions). I know it will be a long, difficult road ahead but at least I don't have children, I have my health and I have good memories of my past life. Gratitude is the best attitude, even when there seems to be nothing worth waking up for in the morning....God Bless everyone who is facing this terrifying reality

Will on April 13, 2019:

Ths is not very helpfull most what is said here is very obvious. I dont think we need to know the downsides of liveing in your car. This is also made with the assumption that you might have some money left over from looseing ur house. I came on here looking for help. I was looking for resources and options to keep myself from becoming homeless. We are a young couple totally dependent on each other. Our families cant help us, and we dont own anything of value. And instead of a list of resources this is a list of all the things that suck about being homeless. I know your just trying tobe helpful. Now i just feel more hopeless.

Brenda K Brown on April 04, 2019:

I was in a abusive relationship and when I decided to leave it wasn't just me I had my daughter with me she had just turned 2 the day we left. I went to Rolla Mo to a shelter for women and children thinking that we were going to get help. On the fourth of July my daughter came to daughter and one of the ladies that lived in the shelter with me had history,she liked to staff when I returned back.they didn't not let me and my baby back in we were out in a park until I found a way to get a hotel room. I made it I got a degree my baby went to daycare, there wasn't any public transportation I walk

with no where to go

Shelley on March 24, 2019:

What do you do if you have no family, no furniture or car. I get a disability check but it's not enough to cover rent and buy necessary living thing's. Im alone in the world, in my 50's. Non drug user. Afraid of being on the street. Don't know where to go. Would love to get out of Oklahoma

Daniel Demolle on December 17, 2018:

I am homeless now I got hurt on my 12/27/2017 and everything gone down hill my wife and kids are by my mother law house and I am on the street my mother law didn't have no room for me so I am at the end of my ropes I been dealing with this for almost a year but my family I feel like I am not the man,Husband,Father that how I am feeling I need help please

Nadine on September 16, 2018:

I’m going to be homeless in a couple days. I am 18 and I have a one year old dog with me and I had just moved to Portland from Iowa three weeks ago. I only know of one person here and they can’t take in my dog with me. I truly don’t know what to do.

Esther on August 24, 2018:

This is one of the most caring and practical articles I have read. Thank you for writing this.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on March 10, 2018:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Katbis. I agree with you; becoming homeless is not something people expect to experience in life. But sadly, many do.

katbis on March 09, 2018:

Such a helpful, thorough and thoughtful article. I wish I had thought of researching homelessness before I became homeless. That was four years ago and I’m in my own place now for three years but I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t realize there was any kind of help or advice. I was too stunned, shocked and horrified to be smart about it. Save your money is among the best advice. I joke that someone needs to write a Homelessness for Dummies book. I was alone, past middle-age - how could this have happened to me? My worst nightmares all came true. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone or on myself again but I did learn and grow so much.

Staying hopeful and focused is essential but far from easy. It is a miserable existence. I was in shelters and I had a job but I spent a few nights outside. The one thing, the biggest thing was after it was over it took me a whole year to come to the realization that yes, I made it through, I didn’t give up and I stayed mostly positive. All of the advocates and social workers I dealt with said “if you need to talk”...Talking was a luxury. It was all about surviving from one hour to the next - but no one one commented or addressed the fact that This Is Not Okay. Being homeless is not something we expect to deal with. Where will I go to school, what will I study, do I want to travel, do I want marriage and a family what career path will I choose? No one also asks and what do I do if I become homeless? It’s not normal, it’s not a possibility, it’s not something to take in stride, it’s not okay. Three years later I’m still being treated for the depression and PTSD it caused, I still have bad dreams. I live in low income housing and am still surrounded by homelessness every day. I can never let it go because it’s still everywhere. The stink, the begging, the garbage, the mentally unwell talking to the voices they hear, the screaming and yelling throughout the night. It’s sad and heartbreaking but also aggravating and disgusting.

All of your suggestions are great. I would add - keep your appointments, show up, return calls, keep well out of the drama that others are ensnared in, stay involved with your life and your future. Cry if you can. Never give up.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on January 05, 2018:

I’m having trouble figuring out who the four are plus approximate ages, Brian. Could you all live separately if necessary?

Have you placed signs up wherever you can think of, saying you’re looking for work?

Have you sold off every item you don’t need? You won’t be able to take them with you if you have to move out without another house to go to, so have a garage sale this weekend.

Is it possible to rent your house out to cover the mortgage? Could you perhaps even rent out furnished rooms for short term accommodation... while your family shares just one bedroom if necessary?

Desperate times require desperate measures, Brian. Move as quickly as you can. Sell as many things as you can, including your house while you still have control over it. Maybe promote it as an’investment property’ and say that you (the seller) want to rent it back for six months.

You’d have to pay some of the money you get from selling it back as rent, but you’d get some extra time to pack up and move. Not sure if you’ll find a buyer quickly though.

Keep looking for a job, but I honestly believe you’d be well advised to prepare for the worst. Follow the tips I wrote in this article, and quickly turn your possessions into cash. Don’t leave it until it is too late.

Brian on January 04, 2018:

I've been jobless for 6 months. My mom has been helping but as of February she isn't able to. My step dad will no longer being getting disability. She is unable to continue helping. That means I need a job by the end of January or else we will have to sell out home to avoid foreclosure. We are already in middle of a chapter 13 bankruptcy so it makes it tough.

We don't have anywhere to go. Nobody we know has the room to take all 4 of us. Either we all live on the street or we live separately. For 6 months we all held out hope our situation would improve but it hasn't. For the first time in my life I'm facing a real possibility of being homeless.

If we get foreclosed on we will stand to lose 35k in equity. Something I refuse to do. But don't want to deplete it all on a motel.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on August 04, 2017:

Good on you, GalaxyMountain. You're absolutely right to not wait until the last minute to acknowledge a crisis situation. Put your brain into 'survival' mode now, while you still have the chance to make appropriate decisions.

You know I'm wishing you the best of luck ... but you also know you can survive whatever life sends your way. There's many of us who endured unexpected changes in our circumstances and lived through bleak times, but have come out the other side 'better' for the experience. Best wishes, and stay strong.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on August 04, 2017:

I don't know, Helen, but I'm sure glad I stuck around and battled through my own stage of homelessness. I'd have missed out on way too many great times that came after it. Plus my friends and family would no doubt have been incredibly angry and disappointed in me if I'd considered such a 'lazy' option.

Homelessness doesn't have to be the end of the road. I'm incredibly proud of a number of my friends who have endured homelessness and come out the other side. I helped and encouraged them, and now they're helping and encouraging others. If you're facing homelessness, Helen, reach out for help and support. There's bound to be someone who'll help you keep your eye on the future ... and when you get back on your feet, you can pay the kindness forwards to someone else in need.

Helen on August 03, 2017:

I wonder how many people, when faced with homelessness, kill themselves instead.

GalaxyMountain on August 01, 2017:

Thank you for writing this. There is a great deal of comfort in knowing that the world doesn't end when your money supply does. I have struggled through a rough year and a half, and it looked like I was getting back on my feet, but my time is running out to get a job that will keep me in my place. I went through this for two months last year and was able to find a place to live eventually, but I wasn't prepared. I was in denial of my situation. I tried to hang on to ideas and things I didn't really need to survive. Now I know it for what it is. I am facing homelessness again if things stay as they are for the next two months, but I'm not going to wait until the last minute to call it a "crisis". It's just stupid to assume that your luck will change before your time runs out. Of course, luck can change and that would be wonderful, but it's always better to make decisions based on what you know about your situation. Thank you again for your words of wisdom.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on July 21, 2017:

That's a shame if you are already homeless. I specifically wrote this for people who are soon to be homeless, to help them prepare and avoid some of the problems. Good luck getting back on track, Selena. It can be done. It just sucks while you're waiting.

selena Gomez on July 20, 2017:

this doesnt help i am alreadt homeless

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on January 23, 2017:

Hello my Ohio friend. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Life must be tough with two babies! I am so pleased your mother is willing and able to help you.

You'll get back on your feet again. Just take as long as you need

Anonymous on January 22, 2017:

Hello from Ohio!

I googled "what to do when you're about to become homeless " and this wonderful article came up. Thank you for all of the tips, I have been teetering on the edge of homelessness for a while now with two babies. I will be moving into my mother's home soon. She is well off with extra space, and I'm being evicted soon. I did all that I could to avoid this, but it wasn't enough.

A previous comment mentioned 24 hour gyms. Some of them are only $10 per month, that seems like a good idea. A hot shower can really get your spirits up when you're feeling down. If you keep your hair dryer, you probably won't look out of place using it there. One thing that has come in handy for me was a cooler. We had our electricity shut off this summer and it was our lifeline. Childcare is another hurdle that I'm not sure how to approach. I was paying more for that than I was for rent. It all stems from that and a low-paying job. Hopefully I can regroup myself and make our lives easier away from the city. Good luck everyone.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on September 05, 2015:

Joe, in years to come you'll look back at this stage in your life with hindsight, and I'm hoping you'll be have a positive view of some of the life lessons you learn. Thank goodness you and your wife have each other. Look out for each other, and take care.

Unfortunately I don't know anyone in Kansas either, or I'd send you to knock on the door of a friend. Perhaps you could go to a hotel with accommodation or a motel, and offer to work in return for accommodation and meals. Bar work, cleaning rooms, painting areas that need a fresh look. Anything that can get you off the streets.

While one works there (for whatever number of hours you negotiate), the other could be looking for a paying job.

I truly hope things pick up for you very quickly, Joe. Stay strong, and don't take each other for granted. Best wishes.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on December 13, 2014:

Thank you, Au fait. I live in Australia, although I have lived in the UK ... and spent quite a bit of time in the US between the 1970s and 2008.

Like you, I thought all job applications would be received online in this day and age. However I am occasionally asked to help young people create CVs they can print, ready to hand in to possible employers.

One young lady phoned yesterday to thank me, with the news she now has a job in an outdoor/camping store - and gets a staff discount on all their goods. She had phoned last week, told me the key points of her past work history (not really relevant to retail but I highlighted her skills rather than her previous employers) and I emailed her the draft. She printed it in a library ... and scored a job.

I believe her initiative was rewarded. She walked through their door with the right attitude. Not sure how many places she applied, but she only needed one to say 'yes'.

Her job is in a city. Most cities in Australia have camping and caravan sites. With a tent and sleeping bag, she'll be all set to start saving money for the next stage in her journey. :)

C E Clark from North Texas on December 12, 2014:

Lots of interesting suggestions and advice here. I'm not sure many of them would work well in the city, and there are no jobs to speak of in more rural areas. I thought you lived here in the states, but it sounds more like you're in GB.

In fact attempting to get a job here in the states as you describe would require a miracle. Most employers want an application online and then you wait for them to call. Some want resumés emailed to them. In all my years of job hunting since the 2008 crash, no employer has been willing to accept applications on paper. Not even for the low pay jobs.

I like the ideas of tents, I just don't see how they can be feasible where most homeless people are -- in the city. If you have family or friends who will let you set them up in their backyards that's good, but what about those people who don't? If I were to attempt that, my daughter would probably allow it in her yard, but I would still have to rely on public bathrooms, etc., because she has 4 cats and a dog in her house and I'm deathly allergic to them and wouldn't be able to go inside her house even long enough to wash my hands, much less anything more. I should think the tents could get a little chilly, or hot, depending on the season, too.

One thing that could be considered for use of a bathroom, exercise, television, Wi-Fi, and some other amenities are the 24/7 gyms. I have a friend who utilizes those services at a gym.

I know nothing is ideal and you're trying to give ideas that will make things better, not likely perfect even if such existed.

I don't understand why someone with money to invest doesn't think of building very small accommodations that include a shower, outlets for charging, Wi-Fi for computers, toilet, and a bench to sleep on to be rented by the day or longer. I know some homeless people wouldn't be able to afford them, but some could and at least they would be far better than nothing, or even homeless shelters.

Agree people should plan for the possibility of becoming homeless as so many people live from paycheck to paycheck it could easily happen. Determine one's true necessities and figure out how to manage them.

An excellent article and lots of things to consider and think about. Going to share this in hopes that people who need this information will find it more easily.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on June 23, 2014:

Hi peeples. So pleased to see you. I understand that you feel stuck, but I am confident you'll come out the other side of this tough time.

Perhaps you and Cirno and other friends who visit me here might be able to replicate the success of a woman I heard about on television this morning. Apparently she 'sells mascara on facebook' and it took while to take off but she now makes 30K a month from it.

Yep, that's right. Thirty thousand dollars each month from selling mascara on facebook. I have no idea how one sells items on or via facebook but the name of the seller sounded like 'Yon-eek'. If you have a chance to find that successful little business and see how it is done, perhaps you could think of some other product you could promote and sell in a similar way.

Peeples from South Carolina on June 23, 2014:

I find myself reading this Hub often now that we are back in a home. Getting out of our current situation of being in a home that is attached to the landlords home, not having a place for my children to ride bikes, not having a place for a garden, and not knowing how we are going to save up for a car to replace the one that will likely be repoed soon because we are paying for housing and food and misc makes me feel almost as stuck as we did before when we were homeless. I constantly remind myself that I should be thankful for the roof, but when I think back to just a year ago, when we were in OUR home, I miss it, and start hating our current life. I'm hoping that by constantly reading Hubs like this one I can keep my brain where it needs to be to be thankful and get us to the next step in our lives. Thank you for creating this Hub, if I had not said it before.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on May 18, 2014:

Hi Silva. It would be just too much of a small world if your visitor had been Patrick. lol. It sounds like your visitor was in a similar position to Patrick. Instead of staying home alone, he's out in the world meeting nice people like you.

I am so pleased you described him as 'the coolest guy'. It is great when we meet and appreciate total strangers. :)

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on May 18, 2014:

Patrick, I imagine there are many who would envy your lifestyle ... particularly those who live alone in isolation without family. Yes, I can see a definite advantage in your choice at this stage of your life. :) I love that concept of being house-less, not homeless! I hope you'll drop in from time to time and give us an update.

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on May 17, 2014:

Once on vacation, we met the coolest guy; he came over to our KOA camp site and asked if he could have a cup of coffee. He lived in his pickup and camper. His wife died so he sold the house and started driving. He kept busy with his metal detector. He had dozens of interesting stories about finding coins and jewelry on the beach, under the bleachers, and in the parks.

Patrick on May 17, 2014:

2 yrs ago my wife passed away so I at age 50, retired Army and no kids left Indiana on Thanksgiving and arrived in Ft Myers Florida for warmer weather and been here ever since. Or at least until the heat gets unbearable then back up north for traveling.

I live in my truck camper shell and Do Not consider myself homeless just house less. I have a retired income of $1,700 a month so the rules for me aren't the same as for everyone else. I enjoy the extra $800 I have versus rent. I stay at different motel / hotel parking lots for 3 days free. June 1st I'm gonna take scuba lessons. I don't live in my truck but rather just sleep in it. Most would disagree with that concept but I can think of a million things to do besides peeping out my windows and sitting in my truck doing nothing. Im the exception to the rule I guess. The homeless I see at Walmart just want to drink, pan handle and NOT work. That's a waste of life. Occasionaly I will run an ad to do electrical work for extra income. The only difference between me and a retired 65 yr old couple is that they paid a half million for their rig and I paid $7, 000 for mine. It's a life choice for me besides after spending 20 yrs in the Army and living in tents while eating out of ravioli cans the truck life is a cake walk.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 21, 2014:

I can see that would be a problem. Try a bakery or a small cafe. Ask to see the owner or manager. Introduce yourself and tell them you are looking for work. Perhaps they'd like you to come in and lift the chairs, mop the floors, clean the coffee machine etc at the end of their busy days.

Tell them you are a student going through hard times, and that you would really appreciate their help in giving you a job.

Offer to stay away from the cash registers and to wear clothing without pockets. Be a hard worker and impress them. You could offer to let them try you out for a few days without paying you if you think it will get you the job.

Bakeries throw out a lot of fresh food when they close their doors. I'm sure they'd let you take some for your own use. You'd want to be careful you don't get in trouble for taking too much or spreading the word though.

If you are confident you can be trusted in a workplace, you just have to convince someone to give you a try. :)

cirno on April 21, 2014:

Idk ill apply regardless but I got a burglary 2 charge for that felony I mentioned but it was for a stupid reason I didn't even steal anything it a really stuuuuupidthing at 18 so employers don't really trust me?

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 21, 2014:

Can you pick up work at a fast food outlet or some other place that gets busy during the summer holidays?

Cirno on April 21, 2014:

I will def think about it, esp if it can get some of that [[worry]] out of my life. I did setup a personal blog but that's just that, personal, for friends and family not so close to me (geographically) to read for them to have an insight in what I go through in my day to day. Maybe it will put some kind of perspective on things if I have to think about something differently in order to reach a broad audience. I don't know really. In any case I will look forward to your new hub & I could try writing something on paper just to see if I have anything really relevant that people could actually -use- (if they find themselves in similar situations) otherwise its nothing more than a public journal :p. You are right though I will have nothing else to do in the break unless I decide to ditch Seattle and vagabond it for the entirety of summer but that's a bit scary ?

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 21, 2014:

Yes, it was wrong. It is now after 2am local time. I rarely bother keeping track of any activity by others on this site, but I'll make an exception for anyone who is homeless and wanting to seriously write. (I'm a professional writer, not a computer guru so I have no real appreciation of how links are structured. lol.)

Here's the link I should have provided. By using this one, I'll be able to see how the traffic flow is going and offer you feedback, encouragement and advice. I won't be able to see your earnings or anything too specific, but it will give me enough of an insight to be able to see if your hubs are attracting readers.

Give it some thought and only use it if you think it is a good idea. :)

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 21, 2014:

There's a distinct possibility I have made a mistake in the link, Cirno. It is late and I didn't look properly so if it doesn't work in my eagerness to be helpful, don't worry. I will advise you of any change. :)

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 20, 2014:

Hi Cirno. Thanks for that. I'll write back to you when I get a chance. Have to race out the door right now. Will be at the computer again in around 8 or 9 hours from now. :)

Cirno on April 20, 2014:

Hi LTM I am a 22 year old (youngish) male in seattle. I currently go to school full time, yes while homeless, but it gives me a sense of normality a calm feeling. Makes me feel not so bad. The school is paid by finaid and they actually give me a little bit left over not a lot but it helps me for about a month with anything I need. I study computer science. I am very good with computers and sometimes hop on craigslist and offer my skills for sale but not so many biters idk if its just that im bad at craigslisting or what. Anyway its hard to get a real job because of a 4 year old non violent felony and I can't go to temp agencies because they all require me to go early in the morning... when I have class so I have to choose between the two and school always wins and I don't know if that's backwards but I feel good about the choice. I talk to my dad maybe once or a week or two but I barely know him e just entered my life. My mom is only a state away in portland oregon but I cannot stay with her. I was never homeless as a child however both my parents were homeless in their lifetime as well as my uncle and various other family members. I was however sent away when I was 12 to a home for mental/anger issues and I ended up escaping that 5 months later and was on the street alone for about 3 days idk why it took so long for the cops to find a 13 year old alone in seattle but whatever. I don't really know what else to say. I keep my clothes in my locker at school and change in the bathrooms there, shower and wash clothes at a place called the urban rest stop, I figured out where the food is and what days the food will be there even volunteer as to get more for later and have also gotten clothes this way as well. I go to the library to study/charge my electronics(phone/computer) and provides a resting place, not sleeping but rest from all the walking I do. I seem like I have things figured out but if that's the case why do I still feel so lost? I feel like I have nothing under control except when I am at school. That's why I would love to hear whatever it is you have to say LTM like I said im youngish and confused :p.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 19, 2014:

Hello cirno. I'm glad you stopped by. I hope you get a chance to chat with me sometimes when you get near wifi. That's a clever idea, to do volunteering. How old are you now? I'm sure you are young, but I doubt you are stupid. lol.

Yes, you are right. Cities can be good for single childless people who are not on drugs. (If you're not on drugs, you are definitely not stupid!!)

I'm happy to share a few thoughts with you that might help. Just give me a few clues about yourself so I know where to begin. Were you homeless as a child as well? Do you still see your parents? Did you go to school, and how old were you when you left school? Do you have any interest in studying, if it was possible?

I don't even know if you're a male or a female. That would be another good clue. :)

I don't sit on the computer all day every day, but I will watch for an answer from you - and I will write back as soon as I can. Tell me about yourself.

cirno on April 18, 2014:

Hi LTM I enjoyed the post however do not agree with all of it but it's mostly good. I however come with the disadvantage of coming from a dirt poor family and being homeless young and still am homeless p sweet that this shelter has Wifi .. the tent suggestion was good however is only good if u can walk around with it or store it. I would like one for the rainy streets of Seattle if I could not make it to a shelter but other costs make it impossible for me :( still things that have helped me was the library for charging battery computer for job search and volunteering. I do the last one for food Amd things I wouldn't have access to otherwise and distracts me from things. Why do u suggest to stay out of the cities I find much more help in Seattle than in. small town America tho the job comp. is more fierce double edge. sword maybe? I am young and stupid tho but still I think the city us kind to single kidless people that r not on drugs. If u have any other advice for people like me I'd appreciate it, from a non family point of view that is :)

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on April 18, 2014:

Thanks, GetitScene. Your perspective is very important to me. I am pleased you rate it so highly. Personal experience makes the world of difference when writing (or reading) about this kind of topic.

Thanks for the vote and the encouragement, teaches12345.

Marisa, you are right about selling a house if you can't afford it. We sold ours when the gfc hit, and had enough to set ourselves up elsewhere. Fortunately my family welcomes change and believes that home is where the heart is.

Sadly, however, many other families don't make the decision to sell (or move) quickly enough. I do hope this hub helps those in need. :)

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on March 28, 2014:

WOW! What a GREAT hub. voted up, interesting and useful. I have been homeless and I can tell you personal experience that this is VERY useful information. Bravo!

Kate Swanson from Sydney on January 16, 2014:

I do hope I never need this information but it's great.

In particular, the idea of taking action early. I've never been able to understand people who let their mortgage fall into arrears, ever. If you know you can't pay your mortgage SELL THE HOUSE! If you delay until the bank repossesses it, you'll get nothing. If you sell it, at least you'll get something - and you may be able to afford to rent somewhere.

Dianna Mendez on January 09, 2014:

Thank God I am not needing the information, but I know this is valuable advice and will help many who do need the hope you offer through your article. I love the trailer tend idea, it may be something for all of us to consider for such times as these. Voted way up and sharing!

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on January 04, 2014:

Hello DzyMsLizzy. So pleased you managed to avoid losing your home. You are very wise to keep your camping gear and truck. We never know what the future may hold.

Regarding the PO box issue ... I had a Wells Fargo account in the US that sent all my mail to a PO box in Australia. (I only ever visited bank branches when I was visiting the US.) My one regret is keeping the US dollars I was paid during those years in US currency. With the benefit of hindsight I should have changed them to Australian dollars because the exchange rate plummeted by the time I closed the account and withdrew all my money. I had thought at the time it made sense to avoid fees exchanging currencies when I knew I'd be back in the US again. (US to Aussie with a fee - followed by Aussie to US with another fee before spending it.)

When the US dollar first crashed, Aussie dollars were looking extremely healthy. Yes, I kicked myself!!

To obtain a PO Box you certainly have to prove your current address which is why I suggest people do it before they become homeless, not after. Once the box is in place, you simply have to remember to go and pay the annual fee. For an additional fee, the PO (in Australia at least) will redirect your mail anywhere you want. There's no need to physically remain within the locality of the PO.

Wishing you all the best for 2014. Hope it is a good year for you and yours. :)

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on January 04, 2014:

Hello, RTalloni. If this means you've nominated this hub for HOTD, I thank you very much. :)

When the global financial crisis made life difficult even in Australia, we chose to rent our big house out including all our furniture and became 'homeless' for a while until we could sell it. We sold the house (fully furnished) at a ridiculously low price, but had enough cash left over to buy our few acres without any help from a bank. Since then we've created a lovely home and lifestyle off the grid and we are self-sufficient enough to survive any future financial disasters.

Of course a natural disaster could still take us out, but I much prefer to be at the mercy of nature than men in suits. Thanks for your feedback. :)

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 03, 2014:

Interesting points.

We narrowly escaped losing our home about a year and a half ago, thanks to being able to get a mortgage modification. With my husband's health issues, homelessness would have been a death sentence for him.

I'm not sure a P.O. box is an option, however; I had one for a while, for my former business, and I was required to also provide my actual street address for the record. Ditto bank accounts. You might be able to arrange mail sent to 'general delivery,' but I've never tried that, having no need. I don't know if banks will accept that.

I have all my camping gear, even though we feel our camping days are probably over; it is our emergency kit, and would all fit into our truck nicely. I won't give up the truck.

Voted up, interesting and useful.

RTalloni on January 03, 2014:

An interesting read filled with practical concepts that could be helpful to people who expect to be or have already become homeless. Comments thus far have initiated good discussion--a sign of a good hub. I'll be surprised if it's not Hub of the Day soon. Thanks for all the obvious work you put into this post.

This hub's integral theme of taking responsibility to plan and do what can be done to help oneself/one's family from a hopeful perspective makes a huge difference in outcomes. You have not simply emoted about the issues but have provided a positive look at useful possibilities. Some people have actually chosen homelessness as their preference because they could implement these ideas.

Looking forward to checking back on incoming comments.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on January 01, 2014:

Hello, aviannovice. It can certainly be difficult to apply logic and rational thought to a highly emotional problem. Sometimes it just becomes too difficult to 'think'.

Thanks for your feedback too, Gary M Moore.

Gary M Moore on December 31, 2013:

this is very good advice

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 30, 2013:

All very sensible advice for someone that wants to think with their emotions instead of their heads, which is a natural thing to do.

LongTimeMother (author) from Australia on December 28, 2013:

This hub was inspired by a question asked by another hubber a couple of months ago. Peebles posted a question asking for advice about what to do when faced with homelessness. I regret being too busy with other issues to have answered her question promptly. I notice her absence from HP and hope she's coping okay with her children.

It can be really difficult to think clearly when you're in the middle of a crisis. I just hope this list helps someone in the future.

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on December 28, 2013:

A wonderful, thoughtful, practical hub. Thank you on behalf of all the people who are living on the edge. Facing the future and selling all one's belongings in preparation for the next step is invaluable advice.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 28, 2013:

This is a a fantastic hub LongTimeMother, you didn't miss anything. Everyone should print this out and keep it as a guide for if they ever do become homeless at some stage. Great job, voted up.

spiritwood from Wales, UK on December 28, 2013:

This is a great hub- i have several friends who live in vehicles all year round and it can be done cheaply and safely. There are some great tips in here and unfortunately more and more people are likely to need them with the way things are going. Stay safe and thank you.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 28, 2013:

Incredibly practical information which I hope people won't need but if they do, you've laid out considerations perfectly. Well done.

Beth Eaglescliffe on December 28, 2013:

You give some good tips about how to cope with becoming homeless. However, the reality is that alcohol and substance abuse are often linked to homelessness and so making rational choices is not always possible.

The US National Coalition for the Homeless cite research carried by Didenko and Pankratzout in 2007; two-thirds of homeless people questioned said that drugs and/ or alcohol were the root cause of their becoming homeless.