How To Survive Being Homeless In America

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posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 08:42 AM
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reply to post by Apollo7
 

4 years in a dead end relationship? I feel for you. Moving on may be your only path forward. Best of luck!




posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 09:28 AM
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As I said yesterday, working off of Craig'slist provided me with a decent income. Nowhere near what I used to make, but much better than working 40 hours for $10-$12/hour. I do have a bunch of skills, but many gigs required very little in the way of "skill". Anyway, I still had tons of free time and you can only watch so much Hulu or play so much Evony. Eventually, you need real mental stimulation. That was when I discovered free online classes from MIT. I also discovered free youtube videos on HTML/CSS/Javascript etc... After a few weeks of playing around, I built my first website.

Now that you know the basic history, let's get down to brass tacks. Why homelessness over seeking help from the "government"? How do you actually live? Where can you sleep? How can you cook? What about food? How do you keep clean? What about Urinating/defecating at night? Staying organized? Staying on my own or finding a group? My new philosophy of "stuff".

The first question I had to answer to myself was: Why homelessness over seeking help from the "government"?

The second question I had to answer to myself was: Did I want to let people know I was "choosing" to be homeless?

I will address all of the above in separate posts. Feel free to ask any questions at anytime though. Let's start with some helpful links.

When it came to the "mechanics" of being homeless, I did my research first.
I went to carliving.com(now seems to be car living). I watched youtube videos created by other automotive denizens. I checked local ordinances to see where I could legally park overnight.

Wiki

Someone's Blog

Youtube

Enjoy, more to come.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 10:03 AM
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With the introduction out of the way. Let's really get going here.

Why homelessness over seeking help from the "government"? This came down to several things.
1) First and foremost, I am a Libertarian. I believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility. It is not society's fault that my life got screwed up. I do not have the right to steal from others to fix my mistakes. I need to address my own mistakes.
2) I am a Christian. The apostle Paul said "He who WILL NOT work, the same shall not eat." I could work. Jobs were scarce, true. However, I was quite capable of working. I just had to get over the devastating blows of losing my marriage and my career in a span of a few weeks.
3) I hate shelters. Even if I could get in to one, I would have the loss of personal space, privacy, and self respect that would be part and parcel to staying in such a place. I lived in very close quarters while in the navy. While I knew I could survive it, I would hate every single second of living like that. Plus, shelters aren't free. They charge a nightly fee that isn't much cheaper than a cheap motel.
4) I just don't trust the government to have my best interest at heart. Mainly because governments don't have a heart. The have bureaucracies.

Knowing all of that, seeking "help" was just not an option. I believe that families, friends, and private organizations should help those who cannot help themselves. I had only 2 real problems. I was severely depressed, and I had major cash issues; I didn't have any. My family was hundreds of miles away. I could go back and live with them, but I moved out at 17. At 40+ it would be very difficult for me to live with my parents again. My friends did what they could, but their spouses would only allow so much. My church was actually her church before we got together. I stopped going there when we split. So it was really just up to me.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 10:30 AM
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Did I want to let people know I was "choosing" to be homeless?

The short answer was NO! The reasoning was simple. The "normals" don't like the homeless. Regardless of why they were homeless, it is just not an accepted lifestyle choice(for those who actually choose it). "Normal" people automatically assume that you are either lazy, a criminal, have mental issues, are sick, or just worthless overall if you are homeless. There are some exceptions, and I was able to share my secret with a few people.

One of the secrets to not being hassled by the police is mobility. If you park in the same place and never move, you will be noticed. Some places are more tolerant than others. Wal-Mart(for all of it's other failings) is very tolerant of people sleeping in their parking lots. I have seen families of four sleeping in their suv at walmart. I have seen single women sleeping in the front seat of their pick up truck(once I got to know them, I always had them park near me at night so That I could watch out for them. I have a daughter, they are someone's daughter).
Here in Central Florida, there are streets where you can park overnight and not be bothered by the cops. There are other places to stay away from. Hospital parking lots seem to work ok if used intermittently. Rest areas work also. One guy I know got permission from a church to park in their lot overnight and did so for 6 months before getting back on his feet. He had the side benefit of them giving him food and a place to clean up as well.

Another of the secrets to not being hassled by the police is not hassling others. If you must panhandle for cash or food, do not do it near where you sleep. Try not to park near where you panhandle. People who just gave you money are much more tolerant of you riding away on an old bicycle than they are of watching you climb into an operable vehicle. Check local laws, but some people have made decent money panhandling. I could never bring myself to try it.

Basically, if you want to keep your homelessness secret, keep a low profile.



posted on Sep, 5 2012 @ 11:27 AM
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How do you keep clean?

If you want to stay off the radar of the police and the "normals", you must stay clean. This is uber important. Smelling bad is a dead give away that there is something wrong. Keeping clothes clean is almost as important. I had purchased a membership at the local rec center which was a major boon. However, not everyone will be able to pull that off. There are other options. Many beaches have showers right on the beach. You are just supposed to rinse the salt water and sand off, but an early morning shower is easily doable. With a little preparation, you can wash up fairly well in some restrooms. It is best to split some of the grooming up where possible though. By this I mean wash your body in one place. Go to another or wait awhile to wash your hair. Then later on shave. Brushing your teeth in a public restroom right after you eat is fairly well tolerated if done in the same restaurant where you just bought a meal. Bathing? Not so much. Exercise stealth and common sense. I have done it, so can you. Some places are better than others like the handicapped stall at a Barnes and Noble for example. DO NOT do it at Wal-Mart. One friend of mind got arrested for shoplifting because they caught him with a sample bottle size of a brand of shampoo that they sell. Just don't risk it.

If you are roughing it, [www.walmart.com...]These[/url] work fairly well. I used liquid soap for hair and body. I also keep my hair very short. Short hair is much easier to wash on the sly, and a ball cap can hide the fact that it is damp after you wash it.

Keeping clean clothes without money is nearly impossible. On the other hand, it is fairly cheap. I washed and dried 2 loads of clothes every two weeks(sometimes I went longer, especially in winter when you sweat less) for $3.75. Cheap dish detergent from the dollar store works just as well as laundry soap in a pinch. Used right, a small bottle can last a couple months.
edit on 5-9-2012 by DarthMuerte because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 08:42 PM
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reply to post by DarthMuerte
 


Much respect man. You've done well with yourself. A true role model for struggling people of which there are many. Thanks for going to the trouble of writing all this up. I think your lesson is to keep a cool head and you can get out of any situation. That's the best thing about being human - being able to think outside the box and approach problems creatively.

Living for a while without a home is a massive test of character and an exceptionally valuable experience if it doesn't break you. Definitely a humbling experience that brings you back down to earth and gives your ego a healthy reset and forces you to remember an important forgotten truth: that you are not what you 'own'.

Peace brother and best of luck in the future



posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 11:39 AM
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So, I was homeless. I had little money, and especially early on few prospects for making money. Eating out is expensive. Even fast food restaurants get very pricy very quickly. On the other hand, I had a fishing pole and a license. I also had SERE training level B. One good thing about central Florida is that food is everywhere if you know where to look. I did get some strange looks when I was digging up cattails in one of the local parks, but I didn't get in trouble. Catfish, cattail root, wild onion, with salt, pepper, and some Frank's hot sauce wrapped in aluminum foil and baked in the coals of a fire was my first "homecooked" meal in weeks. It wasn't great, but it was filling and hot. It was also nearly free. After that, I got more adventurous. Fish, rabbit, turtle, and squirrel all graced my plate when money was tight. I usually added rice to the mix since it is so comparatively cheap. The hardest part was cooking the rabbit and squirrel without getting caught. Then I discovered solar cooking. It was cheap and easy, but took time. Solar Funnel Cooking later, even after I started making money, I still would use the solar or grill methods to cook everything from eggs to chicken, to even a small Stouffer's Lasagna. The lasagna was edible, but didn't come out as well as I had hoped. The best thing about solar cooking is that it is much more "stealthy" than cooking on a grill in the park. Cooking regular foods in the park is fine. Cooking Squirrel or rabbit when you don't even have a hunting license of any type will get you in trouble if you get caught. Definitely do not get caught harvesting baby gators or other exotics. Not that I ever did that, just friendly hypothetical advice there.





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