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The Homeless Survival Guide

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posted on May, 6 2008 @ 05:01 PM
Bars/pubs/saloons can be a good place to get some free food. One may have to part with some currency to get a beverage though.

Potatoes and onions are a versatile and cheap way to eat. Peanut butter is also cheap and full of protein.

This is not the most integral action, however fast foods joints can be a good place to get condiments and spices. The spices can be uses to spruce up the potatoes and onions.

A cast iron pan is very useful. It can be used to cook over an open fire. It can also be clean easily by boiling water in it and wiping it out. it can also be cleaned out on the shore of a body of water by using the sand and water. They are expensive, but sometimes you can find them at a thrift store.

Thrift stores are invaluable.

Plenty of socks and underwear are also a must. Frequent cleaning of clothing is a luxury that may not be available.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 05:49 PM
Looking at these stories, I see a HUGE degree of separation between
the circumstances of the Urban Homeless versus the Rural/Backwoods Homeless.

Me being from Canada (i.e. near Vancouver, BC specifically), I am
fortunate that I still have a "Natural" environment to hide in if I was
to ever become homeless. Those of you in Detroit, Chicago, LA,
New York, etc. require an entirely different survival mindset than
those of us in more rural environments and this is reflected in the
list of tips that details how to deal with other homeless, cops, gangs,
shelters, churches, etc.

The City People's greatest danger is from fellow human beings who
think of you as PREY while MY largest problem is that there really are
large animals (bears, cougars) that want me as dinner if I decide to
camp out homeless in the backwoods and that one need some
SERIOUS skills as an outdoorsman if you want to be able to
survive in the Pacific Northwest bush while working yourself
up into the "Normal World" during your homelessness.

The point I am trying to make here is, although SOME of you think
these lists are pointless or even untrue, they DO have some validity
as a primer to surviving in the "Urban Jungle" of modern citified America.

DO NOT simply dismiss these tips and tricks out of hand but rather take them
as a barometer of times that require some SERIOUS changes in attitudes
and habits in order to "Make It Out Alive" when you become homeless.

For those of you who have or are willing to LEARN some mechanical,
technical or outdoor skills I can offer you some tips and tricks myself.

I must admit that I am rather heavily experienced in "Backwoods" operations
so I have a considerable skill set for outdoor living in extremely harsh
environments ranging from -50F below to +120F above so some of my tips
may seem pretentious or "weird" but do take them into account
even IF you are a city person.

Things you need right away when homeless!

1) Tarps - These 12 foot by 12 tough nylon sheets
you can buy really cheap (less than 5 bucks) from many Dollar stores
or ratty department stores - Walmart has em cheap!
Or you can scavenge them from city construction sites!

These make great tents and for protection from a wet ground
and are WATERPROOF. If you get a few of them you can make
a RAINPROOF and SUN-SHEILDING tent just by propping them up with
a couple of sticks or poles or draping them over some thrown-away
chairs or shopping carts.

2) Sustenance: Your body is a machine and needs to be gassed up
and lubricated and that means you needs carbohydrates, sugars
and proteins. I suggest Apples, Processed Bread and Eggs.
These are usually cheap and MANY charitable places will
give a away a few of these items.

Apples are cheap and they have lots of natural sugars
to give you quick energy and the vitamin C will prevent some
of the worse effects of malnutrition.

Bread of course is obvious and even 2 or 3 day old bread
obtained on the cheap from a neighbourhood bakery would
work as quick energy so you can get through a day of
quick-money labour-type jobs.

Eggs - I know many of you find this strange thinking
they're fragile and spoil easy...but an empty tin can,
some cheap matches bummed off a city-slicker smoker
and some burning scrap newspaper makes for a fast cooked
meal that has lots of protein AND is pretty CHEAP
so you have enough energy to get through to the
next payday sweeping out warehouses or construction sites.


posted on May, 6 2008 @ 06:02 PM
More things you need while Homeless:

3) Knifes, forks and spoons - Thrift stores, the Salvation
Army stores, even neighbourhood garage sales usually
have some sort of cheap kitchen knives or steak knives
for like 25 or 50 cents a pop.

It's hard to eat out of (or even OPEN) cans without a knife, fork or spoon.
I like steak knives from neighbourhood garage sales
because they're generally tough and will work as a food utensil
AND as personal protection plus cops will think you're using them
to eat rather than as a weapon if you've got a few spoons
and forks in your collection of kitchen utensils.

4) Boots - NO RUNNING SHOES...At the Sally Ann or local Church
see if you can ask for or buy a set of used WORK BOOTS.
If they're steel toed, it'll be easier to get Paid-on-Same-Day
manual labour work and for use as personal protection
when you need to kick people off your stuff.

5) A shopping cart...Shopping cars are BOTH your personal
carrying trailer AND as city transportation.
Their tough construction and unobtrusive looks
won't get them stolen out from underneath you
and if you know how to "Ride" them correctly,
they're pretty fast down city streets.
Better than a bicycle in my opinion.

6) Can Do Attitude!
Homelessness ain't no easy pickle to get out of,
but some choice words to a Downtown Eastside
social worker to the effect of:

Help ME out instead! cuz It's better and more
gratifying to spend a few bucks and extra
time on a guy (or gal) like ME who WANTS to get
outa these streets than to keep chucking money down
the drain feeding the bums who keep drinking themselves
blotto and really WON'T EVER get outa the hood!

F*** Pride! - It's All About Survival and Getting OFF the streets!
So make sure that when you ASK for help you give them a
GOOD REASON why THEY should HELP YOU MORE than the next guy!

And the best way to do that it to feed their socialistic egos
my making them feel they should SPEND MORE RESOURCES getting YOU
off the street - And the Way to do That? Swallow your useless pride

Trust me, Social Workers WANT to HELP, otherwise they wouldn't do
what they do, AND if you give them EVERY REASON TO THINK you are
NOT a Futile Case of a Street Bum, You'll GET WHAT YOU NEED
or least the information on WHERE ELSE or HOW ELSE
to get off the streets.

These are simplistic tips but they ACTUALLY DO WORK, it just that some
of you are gonna have to swallow your pride in order to DO WHAT IS
NECESSARY in order to become one of the "Homed" and NOT the Homeless!

NECESSARY in order get the job done --- And that applies to ANY field
of endeavour be it Getting and Keeping a Job, To Getting Off the
Drugs & Street all the way to Finding an apartment or a friend!

isn't going to keep you fed or dry --- DOING those things WILL!
And that means being WILLING to swallow your pride and
concetrating on getting the job DONE regardless of the methods
required in order to accomplish the tasks at hand.

If cooking some eggs in a tin can over a fire of scrap office paper
will keep you fed, then THAT is what is NECESSARY AND DOABLE.
If you have to sleep under a tarp near (or IN) a construction
site in order to WORK so you can get PAID, then that is
what is NECESSARY in order to get yourself into a REAL APARTMENT.

As a person who has eaten fire-roasted Garden Snakes, Rats and
wild Apples as an emergency meal many times, I can assure you
that the city (and Nature) offers quite the many pickings for those
who know HOW & WHERE to look. If YOU can look at your surroundings
in a different light, and are WILLING to do what it takes,
then YOU CAN get off the streets into your very own HOME!.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 06:58 PM
This is a very good thread. everything Lloyd45 says is true. My senior year in college I was homeless for only a few months but it was pure hell. I lived in subways to stay warm. luckely the cops wouldn't mess with me because I wasn't that far gone and could blend in with the populace like I was some respectable citizen, but in truth I was homeless and had too much pride to admit it to anybody. WHat you said about pride is very very true. I wouldn't ever panhandle but dumpster diving was always an option. the hardest thing about recycling was trying to get to the can faster than the more seasoned homeless recycler.

I vividly remember how my personallity changed because I was constantly hungry. Being hungry especially trying to sleep your days away because you are hungry and frankly didn't have the energy to even go through a whole day awake was really hard. I remember I sorta went feral. Humans like animals can easily become feral. I was quick to watch for chances to be opportunistic, and chances to steal. I remember in boston where all this happened I was frequently sneaking food from the local supermarket chain up there. Potatoes were easy to shoplift and provided some energy. once store security was on to me and I had to bail fast. I ran down the ice patched street shoveling raw potatoes in my mouth so that I could at least eat before the local got nothing better to do cops caught up to me in their cruiser. I managed to keep all the food raw potato down and the store had no cameras in that part of produce. something I know about because I was part of Tower Records loss prevention before and knew what to look for security wise. so the cops catch me and search me only to find nothing. they called me a punk and a piece of S### and let me go with nothing but somebody elses word against me. A few minutes later I puked up all the raw potato. and went to bed even hungrier. I was pissed because I knew i couldn't eat for another 24 48 hours. in fact I only ate maybe once ever 24 to 48 hours at the time I was homeless. my budget was .76 cents a day and I had to walk about 6 miles just to get to school in dirty f'ed up clothes where I smelled like ass. people would move away from me in class because i smelled so much. I ended up loosing about 40 pounds. I was over weight at the time and suffering (still do) from minor diabetes. which wasn't a good thing.

I was so embarassed by my situation that I didn't even tell my parents when my college graduation was. they thought it was the next semester, because I didn't want them to see me in the condition I was in. again too much pride. they never got to see their only kid who graduated from college actually graduate, I stole that from them in a way too I guess.

I remember the look on my moms face when I finally got off that plane in early may after collage and came home. My mom didn't recognize me and almost walked right past me. it took her a few days to stop crying whenever she saw me. it was not good.

I didn't turn to anybody for help because I had too much personal pride. I was smart, educated, talented and came from a good family, this couldn't happen to me, but it did.

So whenever I see a homeless guy asking for change I always give it to them. I was there once to. and I don't care if they spend it on booze. hey thats self medication. something you need when you are homeless to take away the intense, intense pain. I see a part of myself in them, cause at one point I was.

Thank you for this thread that you have started it hits home in a lot of ways. and to all of those who poke fun at this thread. With the way this economy is going you too could be next, better pay attention!

[edit on 6-5-2008 by BASSPLYR]

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 07:24 PM
reply to post by BASSPLYR

Excellent story but I have one question that I maybe didnt get from the thread why didnt u just call and ask your parents for a little money. I mean it might be out of line or maybe they didnt have hell my mom didnt. Im glad you made it out ok .r

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 07:37 PM
my family was is the type to kick the men out at 18 to fend for themselves. my dad the summer he turned 18 lived homeless under a bridge in waikiki, not a bad place to end up homeless, but all he had was his dignity and a bag of rice to get by. same thing for me. it's hard to get over ones pride, hard to explain to people who you look up to as to why you are homeless and screwed up.

To this day i can't ask my parents for financial help. the strings attached are not worth it. i'd rather have been homeless. like i said pride. I simply couldn't put myself in the position to be asking for help. I was the smart one in the family the one who actually went to college. growing up I was expected to be and almost went off to become a doctor. I was my parents little pride and joy, my sister was just the other kid, I was the main show. Being a failure wasn't something I could admit to my parents. and not something I could allow them to admit to their friends and the parents of the kids I went to school with.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 07:58 PM
reply to post by BASSPLYR

I think thats for everyone anytime you have to ask family for help there are strings attached trust me I know this. I dont ask my family for anything..not that they have anything and not that I really need anything. But I was once in your guys shoes also so I know. The only difference was I stayed at friends to friends there were a couple nights though I had to sleep outside it was a life changer....

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 08:04 PM
There is a lot of gray area when it comes to wondering where your next meal will come from.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 09:17 PM
reply to post by BASSPLYR

Wow, BASSPLYR, very good read. I felt like I was there with ya. Big Ole Hug comin at ya!

I don't know who said the different types of people that wind up homeless, but I don't think there was in the list for "Bad stuff that happens to good people."
I admire your amount of pride and understand it.
On another note, and I think I already know the answer to this, why, if you decided to steal to survive, did you settle on potatoes? Why not a few cans of Tuna, or Chicken, or something likewise? Again, I'm betting I already know the answer, and I , sir, Salute you.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 09:30 PM

paraSITE: Designed by Micheal Rakowicz, uses the waste heat-air from the exhaust ducts of air-con and other heat-exhange unit to inflate a plastic balloon like a structural airbed to protect from the elements and provide a source of warmth and insulation in winter.

As the inflatable shelter takes-down in minutes and packs into a medium size ruck-sak it would make the perfect solution to urban homeless survival!

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 11:37 PM
reply to post by citizen smith

I think it would attract too much attention, and you would always be worried about getting a hole in it while you were lugging it around. At the very least they should go with black plastic. Plus, some of those fans would be far too powerful.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 11:44 PM
this is a great post!

I live in arizona and the homeless population from what ive seen is predominantly vet's who are disabled either mentally or physically and cannot live on the next to nothing income our gov. gives them.

Ive also noticed alot of "hippy" type communes tucked away here and there across the southwest and more so in n.california and oregon. Im guessing these types of "communal living" situations are in just about every state. Might not be anyones cup of tea but it could be another option to the harsh streets. Ive never lived on the streets nor a just throwing in my 2 cents.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:10 AM
Communes can be selective, as well as ashrams.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 01:49 AM
reply to post by kthulu

Sorry, sorry... Only that first part was directed to you, mainly on the point that you are familiar with this area and stuff. The rest, really not... Sorry for lacking the clarification!

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 02:15 AM

Originally posted by trig_grl
this is a great post!

I live in arizona and the homeless population from what ive seen is predominantly vet's who are disabled either mentally or physically and cannot live on the next to nothing income our gov. gives them.

I have heard that many of the homeless here are vet's also... Or just disabled people. Mentally disabled as well..

People who cannot possibly take care of themselves. It is sad, is this not what DISABILITY/SSI was meant for? It's sick that people who fought for this country find themselves on the streets with no dignity.

Not gunna add more at this point.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 02:22 AM
Santa Monica, CA is a haven for homeless:

- So Cal weather
- Access to beach
- Beg for money from tourists
- City hall provides free food from the local restaurants
- Very lax laws against homeless
- Free entertainment at the 3rd St. Promenade

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 02:23 AM
Wow what a very captivating thread.

I am pretty fortunate that I was never in such a position. Reading these threads really sheds the light on such a lifestyle and provides valuable information.

The economy can turn pretty bad and a lot of people might find their way on the streets. You guys are giving great advice in case the possibility arises.

keep it up.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 02:32 AM
If I ever become homeless, I'll commit a minor crime and go to jail. In jail I'll have food and water, shelter, TV, time to exercise, read a few books, and I might even make a few friends.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 02:35 AM

Originally posted by LostNemesis
reply to post by kthulu

Sorry, sorry... Only that first part was directed to you, mainly on the point that you are familiar with this area and stuff. The rest, really not... Sorry for lacking the clarification!

No worries, man. I haven't been up in the Northwest in many years, which is also a fact to consider.
When I was homeless in Vancouver for a short time, I had a van, a cel phone, and a 24 Hour Fitness card I had gotten for my birthday. I think it was my friends way of telling me I was getting fat.

I don't want to imagine it for anyone who doesn't have decent shelter during the winter up there. The Summer is fairly decent, but the winters can be fierce.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 02:49 AM

Originally posted by Impreza
If I ever become homeless, I'll commit a minor crime and go to jail. In jail I'll have food and water, shelter, TV, time to exercise, read a few books, and I might even make a few friends.

I met a guy who was "A traveler" long ago. When asked how he survived when it gets cold, he said he makes due, a campfire, or layered clothing, etc. But one time it was horribly cold, like in the negative numbers. Not to mention he hadnt eaten in days.
He finally couldn't take it anymore, stowed his stuff in a well hidden place, and went to a nearby Steakhouse, ordered a huge meal, and then told the waitress he couldn't pay and they'd have to call the cops, which they did, and off to jail he went, to wait out the weather with a full stomach.

It may be illegal, but neccessity has other rules. I personally liked the story. Actually it kept me from ever doing a dine-n-dash ever again. I figured I'd save those kinda punishments for guys who need it.

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