Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

The Homeless Survival Guide

page: 1
75
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join
+43 more 
posted on May, 5 2008 @ 01:39 PM
link   
I know nobody likes to think of ever being in this situation, but for most people, it's entirely possible with the economy being what it is. This is not the be-all, end-all to street or urban survival, but more like a crash course.

I was homeless myself for almost a year, and it was hard, but I managed. I missed a lot of things from my previous life like TV, phones, running water, and flushable toilets, but when put in their proper perspective, I realized they were all very inconsequential to my needs for shelter, security, and the all-consuming desire to eat.

Being homeless in a large city, is like living in an urban jungle full of predators (people). You practically need eyes in the back of your head to get by. You'll develop a sixth sense for danger after awhile, or you'll become a victim of a random, or not so random act of violence.

Street people have an uncanny ability to sense fear and vulnerability in others. If you act like a victim, you'll be a victim. Homeless preople prey on each other as well as those foolish enough to put themselves in vulnerable situations. They're not the only predators out there stalking victims though. It's especially dangerous for females who can easily become victims of sadists and sexual predators.


Street Life

Living on the streets comes with it's own set of rules.


  • Mind your own business. Nothing will cause you more problems than sticking your nose in where it doesn't belong.
  • Blend in with your surroundings. Try to dress like those around you. If you look like you have more than they do, they'll try to take it.
  • Don't look for trouble, but defend yourself if necessary. Street people have an uncanny ability to sense fear and vulnerability in others. Walk tall, but not too tall. If you act like a victim, you'll be one.
  • Never show your money or other valuables. Keep watches, rings, bracelets, etc. in your pocket, and out of sight. Keep your cash in various locations so if you do get mugged, you don't lose it all. Barter for needed items rather than use money.
  • Avoid the police. There are some nice cops out there, and then there are those who are not so nice. If stopped, be polite and courteous. Nothing will get you locked up, or your butt kicked faster than being a smart-ss! To the latter category you're a non-person, and for all intents and purposes you are. Nobody will care what happens to you.


Shelter

The options here are only limited by your imagination.

Homeless Shelters: Shelters are probably more dangerous than sleeping on the street. They're typically understaffed, overcrowded, and have no security. Your stuff will get stolen while you sleep, you may be attacked by some deranged person, or you could contract any number of diseases from your fellow roomies. At best you'll probably get lice..

Alleys, park benches, doorways, drain pipes: All poor choices.. you will be harrassed by cops, street punks, other homeless people, and may wake up smelling like piss where someone relieved themselves on you whilst you slumbered.

Drainage pipes and sewers: Also bad choices.. You'll stink to high heaven, can be bitten by rats, acquire a bad infection from all the germs and bacteria present, or at worst get drowned during a storm.

Vacant buildings or homes: A good choice if you check the places out both during the day and at night for habitation. Other homeless people, drug users, and gangs may frequent them. If occupied by any of the above, look elsewhere. If you find a suitable residence cover the windows at night if you use a light source, and make your comings and goings as unnoticeable as possible (early or late hours of the day). If you wish to stash some of your belongings, make sure to conceal them well or they may be gone when you return.

Vacant and wooded lots: Good ideas if they are out of the public view, show few signs of use like beaten down paths, collections of trash like bottles, cigarette buts, etc. I lived in a hole I dug in a secluded lot, that I lined with plastic. It wasn't the roomiest or most luxurious of accomodations, but it was safe and livable. I had a styrofoam chest filled with ice to keep my perishables like lunch meat and milk cool, a small area to cook in with a pipe for ventilation, and a shelf carved out for my bed. At night I pull some old debris over the top to conceal the entrance. I cannot stress the need for stealth when entering an exitting whatever shelter you find.

Continued..

[edit on 5/5/08 by LLoyd45]




posted on May, 5 2008 @ 01:58 PM
link   
Continued..

Food and Water

You have several ways of procuring sustenance.. You can panhandle for money, you can do daily labor when it's available, you can do odd jobs for people for food or money to buy some, you can eat at soup kitchens if they're available, or you can dumpster dive behind small restuarants or stores. If you use the latter option, make sure to wash your find off with clean water, ans if you don't know how old it is don't eat it. Figure out what times they typically discard stuff, and be waiting. Bad food can give you a variety of abdominal distress ranging from food botulism to diarrhea.

Water can be found just about anywhere in a city. There are usually plenty of water fountains to be had, or hydrants on the sides of homes or businesses. Some people take off the knobs, so don't forget your pliers. always carry an empty bottle that you can fill up, so you don't get dehydrated.

Protection:

You will definitely have a need for protection when living on the streets. What form it takes depends on the location, your natural ability to defend yourself, and what risks you're willing to take. I'm not giving any advise here, but a good knife, fixed blade or folded is a must. It should be of a legal size and able to serve several roles. In a bind it can be used to defend yourself, but will main be useful for food preparation or cutting things like cloth, plastic, cardboard, etc.

As far as guns and other items go, I wouldn't recommend it. If you happen to be stopped and searched by the police, you just bought yourself a one-way ticket to jail. The city Jail is not a place you really want to go. Every dreg of society will be there, waiting to make your acquaintance. The streets won't seem so bad after a night or two of their accomodations.

Hygiene:

Staying healthy is hard to do when you're homeless, but it's still possible. Some suggestions are:

  • Brush your teeth regularly. A painful cavity or an abcess can be unbearable and possibly life threatening
  • Wash frequently. If nothing else, at least wash your hands before you eat. I used to buy baby wipes for this purpose. If you're personable, you can probably befriend a convenience store clerk who will allow you to clean up ocassionally in their wash room.
  • Wear layers of clothing. It will allow you to regulate your body temperature by adding or removing layers depending on the situation. Layers also protect you from serious injury from blows and cuts.
  • Shoes: Good shoes, that fit well are a necessity. You will be using your feet a great deal, and you don't want to get blisters or open sores if at all possible. If you can't scavenge a serviceable pair, break down and buy a cheap pair that fits.
  • Wash your clothes. It's easy to get lice and other pest if you don't.

Money:

Money can be acquired in numerous ways. There's daily labor places, doing odd jobs for locals, recycling, and panhandling, if you have the stomach for it. If you choose the latter, you can do well for yourself, but it comes at the price of your dignity.

There's a lot more I could go into, but these are the basics, and I'm tired of typing.





[edit on 5/5/08 by LLoyd45]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 02:12 PM
link   
This is an awesome thread.


These are very useful tips, especially for me because i'm kind of headed in that direction.

Thanks


+10 more 
posted on May, 5 2008 @ 02:31 PM
link   
A timely thread, indeed. I am an educated, hard-working person who just became homeless. I don't have drug/alcohol problems, mental problems, or an abusive mate. In short, I fit none of the stereotypes. I got laid off from my job in September. I spent six months searching for a job in two states. I have an exemplary work record and a hard-to-find skill set. It was worthless. The last two months I was filling out applications at fast-food restaurants and couldn't get hired. The stress triggered a serious illness, I wound up in the hospital. I got evicted from my house the week after I finally got a job located 75 miles from my "ex-home". I sleep at rest stops and parking lots in my car terrified some sociopath is going to break in my car and rape and murder me. I fear the police almost as much. I put on nice clothes every morning and go to a job and pretend to be Little Miss Professional. I dread someone finding out the truth-that I'm exhausted from lack of sleep, malnutrition is beginning to take its toll and the paychecks I'm earning are going entirely to keep my car running. I can't envision saving enough money to rent a place to live. The worst part is I'll bet there are others just like me.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 02:35 PM
link   
reply to post by rourke
 


I know it's crazy I have been trying to find a job at fast food places for awhile now, and I haven't even got a call back. This thread did come up at a very good time.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 02:45 PM
link   
reply to post by LLoyd45
 


I was homeless for a year and if I had your guide and took it serious, no offense, I would not have made it. I don't believe that you were ever homeless. I think you came up with this little plan with no experience. If you are homeless the number one thing you need to do is try to find a new home. If you adapt to the "street life" you might not get out of it. Stay with family or friends. If you don't have any, make some. Get a job as soon as you can and save as much as you can. And don't sleep in a hole thats for fighting men. Joining the military or peace corp. is also an option. But if that isn't for you, just use your brain and find somewhere decent to stay. It isn't hard.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 03:10 PM
link   

Originally posted by devildogUSMC

I was homeless for a year and if I had your guide and took it serious, no offense, I would not have made it. I don't believe that you were ever homeless.
Being homeless isn't the same experience for everyone, and whether you believe me or not, is really inconsequential. I know what I did, and I have nothing to prove to you or anyone else.


I think you came up with this little plan with no experience. If you are homeless the number one thing you need to do is try to find a new home.

Unfortunately, new homes aren't that easy to find when you're broke. Maybe you could tell everyone how you managed to do it.. Or better yet, write your own guide and post it, based on your experiences..
If you adapt to the "street life" you might not get out of it. Stay with family or friends. If you don't have any, make some.If you don't adapt you die, that's the way life works. My family at the time was spread all over the country, and I really had no desire to tell them how badly I had screwed my life up. That went double for the few friends I had. Pride is a sin I'm definitely guilty of. I'd rather have ate sh-t and died, than go back home begging for someone to take care of me.


Get a job as soon as you can and save as much as you can. And don't sleep in a hole thats for fighting men.
Getting a job is hard without a phone, but it's possible. Trying to save up enough cash for an apartment deposit, utility deposits, and still manage to eat is the hard part. Holes are also for people without homes, I'm sorry to say.


Joining the military or peace corp. is also an option.
It seems millions of others in this country have done just that out of desperation. Is that how you extracted yourself?


But if that isn't for you, just use your brain and find somewhere decent to stay. It isn't hard.
I seriously doubt if you have ever been homeless a day in your life. No offense intended. You're way to cocky, and make it all seems so simple.



[edit on 5/5/08 by LLoyd45]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 03:29 PM
link   
Thanks for the thread Lloyd!
I too was homeless (1-1/2 year). Many of the things you mentioned were SO true! I "camped" in a few locations during that time. One thing I would like to insert is that if at all possible stay out of the city for sleeping!
Another thing I found usefull is to have a friend (fellow homeless) to camp with you. While I was camping I had a friend who set up his camp under a nearby tree. We each had our own tents set up under the cover of evergreen trees whose branches drooped to the groung leaving a covered place around the trunk to set up in. Another good point you made was leaving trails! Every hunter knows about game trails! Yes, there are "hunters" out there.

Thanks again!



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 03:33 PM
link   
reply to post by rourke
 
I'm sorry to hear about your troubles rourke, and I hope thing get better for you soon. I know the feelings of guilt and shame that go along with the situation well. Keep your chin up, being homeless doesn't make you a bad person. If you do have family that you get along with it might be worth asking for a help. I wasn't on very good terms with any of my relatives. I'd burned all my bridges behind me.

You're definitely not alone either. On another thread of mine, a poster said he has found himself in the same condition recently. As the economy worsens, I'm sure many others will be joining the ranks of the homeless too.

I guess there's always the military as Devildog suggests, but getting shot at for a living seems much worse than being homeless. It wasn't a consideration for me.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 03:57 PM
link   
I was a bum for quite some time, but I never lived in a big city. Why did you stay in the city limits if you don't mind me asking. To be honest, I enjoyed the life of hunting/trapping/fishing far more than working my butt off for little pay. Infact I think I'm going back off grid in the next year or so. I needed to work for a few years to stock up on guns &ammo, as well as the research time to build a small portable electricity station(solar&wind to power a battery source).

I guess I just don't get why anyone would stay in a city when its more easy to live out in the woods. No cops, other bums,ect. Lots of food and shelter if youre willing to look.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:04 PM
link   

Originally posted by DenverMan
Thanks for the thread Lloyd!
I too was homeless (1-1/2 year). Many of the things you mentioned were SO true! I "camped" in a few locations during that time. One thing I would like to insert is that if at all possible stay out of the city for sleeping!
Cities are a lot more dangerouss than the woods for sure. But even the woods have there problems.
Another thing I found usefull is to have a friend (fellow homeless) to camp with you. While I was camping I had a friend who set up his camp under a nearby tree. We each had our own tents set up under the cover of evergreen trees whose branches drooped to the groung leaving a covered place around the trunk to set up in.A buddy is a good idea, If you can find one you trust. I never was much on making friends, and at the time I had a few problems that made trusting others hard.

Another good point you made was leaving trails! Every hunter knows about game trails! Yes, there are "hunters" out there.

Thanks again!
No Problem DM, and thanks for your post.


[edit on 5/5/08 by LLoyd45]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:17 PM
link   
reply to post by LordBaskettIV
 
I don't mind saying. That just happened to be where I was living at the time. I'd lost my job, ran out of money, sold my car, and ended up on the street. I was a little messed up too, so I guess I just never really thought about going anywhere else..

I didn't know much about wilderness survival either at the time, and would've probably died from starvation or exposure if I had tried. Living in the woods is probably safer overall, but it takes a lot of knowledge and skills to make a go of it. I'd have never made it.

I appreciate your post LB, and good luck on going off the grid again if you decide to do so.


[edit on 5/5/08 by LLoyd45]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:18 PM
link   
reply to post by LLoyd45
 


I'm not being cocky lloyd, and I mean no disrespect. I didn't mean to call you out and I am sorry. I just think the guide you have provided is not exactly practical. Maybe for a person with no family, no friends, no skills, no ability to utilize resources, too much pride(living in a hole or on the street)
, a drug addiction, mental disorders, or no desire to live somewhat comfortably. And no I do not mean a "new home", I mean a new place to rest your head at night. There are low cost rooming houses, livable squats protected in NYC under the squatters' laws, church programs, and as a last resort a government program even. The options are endless. I'm not saying don't adapt, you absolutely need to adapt, but not to the stereotypical "street life". Adapt to the situation you are in, which will be different for everyone. You are describing a scenerio where all is lost, the end of the rope. That is not where most newly homeless people will be. Odds are they will have many options to choose from. Maybe they won't be great but better than living in a hole without a doubt. If you have half a brain and you haven't given up, it's easier than you think to get back on your feet, not easy, but easier than you think.

[edit on 5-5-2008 by devildogUSMC]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:23 PM
link   
reply to post by LLoyd45
 


By the way starred and flagged.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:35 PM
link   

Originally posted by devildogUSMC

I'm not being cocky lloyd, and I mean no disrespect. I didn't mean to call you out and I am sorry. I just think the guide you have provided is not exactly practical. Maybe for a person with no family, no friends, no skills, no ability to utilize resources, too much pride(living in a hole or on the street)
, a drug addiction, mental disorders, or no desire to live somewhat comfortably.
Those were exactly the conditions I found myself in, aside from the mental illness part or wanting to live comfortably. You'd have to have been in my shoes at the time to understand. It was an overgrown vacant lot, and my hole wasn't really that uncomfortable, and it was free.

And no I do not mean a "new home", I mean a new place to rest your head at night. There are low cost rooming houses, livable squats protected in NYC under the squatters' laws, church programs, and as a last resort a government program even.
I didn't live in New York, the rooming houses were worse than my hole and less safe, and I've never relied on charity from churches or the government even when thing were really screwed in my life. If my family gave me nothing else, they gave me pride. I'm not saying they were bad people either, I was the problem.

The options are endless. I'm not saying don't adapt, you absolutely need to adapt, but not to the stereotypical "street life". Adapt to the situation you are in, which will be different for everyone. You are describing a scenerio where all is lost, the end of the rope. That is not where most newly homeless people will be.
I hope that isn't there personal scenario, but if it happens to be, what I've wrote may help.


Odds are they will have many options to choose from. Maybe they won't be great but better than living in a hole without a doubt.
Possibly they'll have more options available to them, but I doubt it. The country is going broke and cutting out more and more social programs all the time. There are presently over 1,000,000 homeless people, and the numbers are growing rapidly.


If you have half a brain and you haven't given up, it's easier than you think to get back on your feet, not easy, but easier than you think.
I have got on my feet again DD. I own my own home now, I have a college education, and a family. Was it hard getting from point A to point B, yes. Luckily I did accept help finally, and from all people a police officer. Go figure..

PS: No apology necessary. You have a right to believe whatever you want. Thanks for your post, and the star and flag.


[edit on 5/5/08 by LLoyd45]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:45 PM
link   
Although I have never been in your exact situation I imagine the guide would be helpful. Congrats on getting through it, that had to be tough.I didn't mean I was sorry for my opinion on the guide, I meant I was sorry when I said I didn't believe you because I do. That was foolish and rude of me and an apology is necessary. I am sorry. I have no reason to doubt you. Pride is a weakness though. Have you not had so much pride, your situation may have been drastically different. How much pride can you have living in a hole and eating out of dumpsters anyway. That isn't a shot at you either, I just don't understand. Anyway, nice thread.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:49 PM
link   
Been there, done that.

Twice.

Depending on what region you are in, finding a place to sleep isn't bad.

And I agree, the shelters are not the best places to sleep, however, (depending if your male or female, and age), it's nice to have a roof over you head and don't have to worry about some punks playing bum baseball with you.

Problem is they are a money waster.

They ask for a 'donation' every time you sleep there, usually five to ten dollars.

If you forget any of your belongings in the shelter the night before, it's going to get 'recycled' and will be given to someone else.

Washington State (Seattle) was one of the better places I've been to due to the fact that there was a 'free' train going back and forth from the shelter in Everette and back.

Lot of woods to hide out in too...

The second time was here in Las Vegas,Nevada.

the job market here is okay, especially as an unarmed guard.

I worked my butt off every at day labor joints and had a motel to sleep in every night and cheap casino food after I was paid.

If you are going this route, be very careful with your money.

Motels are not cheap, especially on the weekends.

Also, if you have a car or a motorbike, and you are out on the street, you better keep it.

Nothing is worse then not able to get money due to the fact you don't have your own transportation. I have had a good job offer to me (20 US dollars an hour) but was turned down due the the fact I didn't have car. It also beat walking, which you are going alot of.

You are also going to have problems with not having a address, so check out the local UPS store to solve this problem.

If you don't want to sleep on the asphalt, but still want a roof over you head, check out the new building projects.

That's all I could think of....

Hope this helps.

[edit on 5-5-2008 by Ihavenoidea]



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:50 PM
link   
reply to post by LLoyd45
 


I agree with both you and devildog to a certain extent. My experience with homelessness sounds like it was probably a bit more like devildog's but if you did end up being homeless for a long period of time I imagine the guide you have provided is quite good. It is certainly logical to me anyhow.

In my situation I was booted from my parents home with no money, none of my possessions, but I did have a car and a cell phone. I was able to sleep on friends couches a few nights. The other nights I spent sleeping in my car by a lake. Luckily I had a job at a restaurant and could get food when they closed at night. I used my cell phone to get some credit cards to help me in my crisis. About a month and a half into my ordeal I managed to rent a room that was a converted garage for $280/month. Ruined my credit while trying to get daily essentials, but eventually I managed to get back up on my feet. It was not a fun experience but I don't think it was nearly as horrendous as what you have probably been through Lloyd.

Probably the most interesting experiences I had while being homeless was a result of sleeping by the lake in my car. I woke up one morning, had enough money to get a sausage biscuit, ate breakfast and then drove back to the lake because I was still tired. I fell asleep in the back seat and woke up to knocking on the _ It was the police. It just so happened a fisherman had been walking back to his house and came upon my car. He took a look inside and assumed that I was dead. Called the police saying that there was a dead body in a car by the lake, and the cops had come to check it out. They checked my ID and told me I was free to stay there if I wanted, but it was still odd for me. I've never been mistaken for a corpse before or since. Anyhow good thread, hopefully we get more people sharing their experiences and insight.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:51 PM
link   
Oh yeah, don't forget to pack a swiss army knife with you.

Those food banks will give you lots of canned food, but they will NOT give you a can opener.

Took three days for me to open a can of dinty more on the sidewalk.



posted on May, 5 2008 @ 04:56 PM
link   
yeah, debt will get you out there.

Especially if you get hurt.

Some people can't work and are out the street due to the fact that they disabled for some reason.

That's the most scary part.
Being down and out, and unable to work yourself back up.

I'm glad I have parents that helped me out...

God bless them





new topics

top topics



 
75
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join