A take on Homelessness

Homelessness+is+a+big+thing+in+our+world%2C+and+we+need+to+know+how+to+prepare+for+the+worst%2C+if+it+happens.

Sarah Hayes

Homelessness is a big thing in our world, and we need to know how to prepare for the worst, if it happens.

Sarah Hayes, Editor

In America, there are approximately 553,742 citizens who are homeless, as of 2017. These numbers likely increased drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused many people to lose their jobs or take major pay cuts, meaning they couldn’t afford to pay their bills/mortgage/rent if they didn’t have enough money in their savings to pay it off.

You might see them on the corners of the street, and think of them as filthy, gross possible drug addicts, but most of the time these people are just trying their best to survive a life where they don’t have a roof over their heads. It’s harder to get a job when you’re homeless because of how hard it is to keep up with your looks, as well as ways of contacting an employer or receiving mail. In these instances, it’s a good time to learn how to take care of yourself if you could find yourself homeless.

  • Get a cheap phone, and have a way you can connect to the internet.

You’re going to need to have a way to contact people, and cell phones have become a necessity in everyday life. Email, calls, text messages, they’re all things that have been required in everyday life. However, you don’t need some fancy little expensive phone plan, you need to be frugal with what cash you have and even more cautious with what’s on your credit/debit card.

The internet is one of humanity’s best resources, and it’s good

  • Find somewhere to stay at night.

It’s better to be inside rather than outside, especially when there’s bad weather. If you can’t spend the night in your car or on your friend’s sofa, then try to find a nearby homeless shelter. Most of these shelters allow you to stay for a couple of nights, but you have to be out and about finding ways to earn money to get back on your feet. The Salvation Army is a kind of shelter meant for helping homeless people. There are also other shelters that, if you can, you can look up online.

Something you gotta do in these shelters is to be super careful with your belongings. Sometimes homeless shelters have lockers that you can put your stuff into, to which, you want to make sure you put all of your valuables in there as well as pretty much anything you don’t want to be stolen. Here’s a video of some people who lived in a shelter.

  • Get somewhere for your mail to go

You’re going to get mail, but it’s not going to be delivered directly to you. What you would need to do is have it sent to a trusted friend that can hold on to it until you can get it, or you can have it sent to a P.O. box. A P.O box is a mailbox that unlike being at your house or in your neighborhood, the postman will put it in a mailbox at the post office. You do have to pay for these monthly, so you need to keep in mind your budget for spending when you do this.  Here’s how you can get a P.O box online in the U.S.

  • Find food

Finding food is one of the top things you need to do if you find yourself homeless. There are donation services dedicated to doing this, but if you can’t find somewhere that gives out free food, then there are tons of grocery stores that throw away food, and most of the time it’s in damaged packaging or isn’t selling, but can be nowhere near the expiration date.

There are also lists online of stuff that you would need with you, which are super helpful. You can likely go to a library and look one up and print it out there to keep with you.

I know I’ve gone through trash to find food, and you’d be surprised at what you can find getting thrown away daily . It can be fresh stuff that didn’t sell that day, or it can be stuff that you’d typically find in a pantry. If you do this, however, you do have to be careful of packaging being damaged to the point where the food inside is exposed or expired well past the expiration date.

Earlier this year, I was put into a situation where I could have been homeless. There was a lot of family conflict going on, but luckily what we thought was originally going to happen didn’t end up happening. But I still had to have that backup plan just in case. I asked my friends for help, I dug around and did lots of research, and I even asked my manager at work if she could schedule me more so that I could have the extra money in case I did end up homeless.

The world is cruel, and it’s safe to be prepared for the worst, even if you’re well off.