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How To be a Successful Homeless Person

Updated on July 18, 2011

If you lost your job and had no money, how long could you survive? What if you don’t qualify for unemployment insurance payments? What if you can’t find a job quickly? Thousands of people are facing that situation every morning. Could you survive in poverty? Would you know how to find the necessities of life or how to find safe places to sleep? Being homeless is scary. Too many people have been homeless in this country. Too many people are on the streets right now.

A close friend of mine and her child went through a brief time that she refers to as their “homeless period”. It lasted about two weeks, and she says she has compared every experience since then to what that felt like. They had a car, but had to park it in a strange town because they had no gas in the tank and no money to buy more. She could not find a job, so after about a week when her food stamps that she brought with them from another state ran out, they were scrounging. She wanted to find work, so she didn’t go to apply for more food stamps in the new state. They learned to cash in aluminum cans for money to buy food, and they also learned what days the grocery store gave away free food samples, and visited the stand more than once, while pushing a grocery cart around that had a couple of boxes of cereal or canned food so that they would look like “real” customers.

They found the local library and spent many hours there. The library had just gone to computers so she could check for jobs, see newspapers and do recreational reading to forget about her problems for a little while. She finally called her mother and sister who lived about a thousand miles away, and they mailed a money order to her care of general delivery in the town in which my friend was stranded. She filled up the tank and was so glad to be headed somewhere. I can only imagine what it must be like to not have those resources. To wake up in your car or on a park bench and know that today is going to be a struggle to find food and keep going.

So many families live paycheck to paycheck. And in this economy, this recession, losing a job is all it would take to make many families homeless. Don't close your eyes to homeless people. They once may have, but probably never will again.


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