Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How To Avoid Becoming Homeless

From all that I have seen and experienced, the best way to avoid homelessness is to surround yourself with people who love and care about you. And you do that by being someone who loves and cares about others. In times of trouble, and yes, we all can face difficulties in life that could completely destroy our lives, we need caring and loving people to help us though them. Without such people in your life, you are at a much greater risk of becoming homeless.

Having people in your life who are loving and caring isn't always an easy thing to achieve. Many factors are involved, it isn't easy to just up and change your personality, and patterns of behavior, and all the other things that effect how people respond to you. But, if you think you could ever become homeless, then this is the area of your life you should work on the most.

I have received many emails over the years from people asking this question: "how to I avoid becoming homeless." They find themselves facing homelessness and don't know what to do. Sadly, at the point when you realize that you are on a path to homelessness, it's usually too late to do anything about it. If you've been unemployed for a while, and have received an eviction notice, have tapped out all your resources, you have no one to turn to for help, more than likely you will become homeless.

To avoid being evicted from your home, the best thing you can do is to stay in communication with your landlord. Keep them constantly appraised of your financial situation, and though you may have very little money, always give them the majority of it. If they are willing to accept a partial payment from you, then you are in a good situation. It is not easy to come back from being behind on rent because you find yourself, in essence, having to pay twice as much, if not more, than you originally bargained for when you first moved in. Suggest to your landlord a repayment schedule that will get you caught up with your rent in a fair amount of time.

Be willing to humble yourself to ask family and friends for financial help. Just be very careful about this, because if you get yourself into a financial mess with them, they just might end up disowning you. If you do get a loan from anyone, stay in constant communication with them as well, so to reassure them that they will get paid back and in a timely manner. And actually repay them, don't keep blowing them off. They won't put up with it for as long as you might think.

You can try going to local churches for financial help, but don't expect much, if anything, from them. Despite what you may know of the Christian faith, most churches either can't, or won't give money to a complete stranger, especially in amounts that would actually help cover rent and utilities. What funds they may have, they will want to save for the needs of their own congregation. So, yeah. If you the kind of person who is vulnerable to homelessness, it would be a good thing to become a member of a church. But, this goes back to surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you.

Most city governments have funds available to help people with rent and utilities in emergency situations. Qualifying isn't always easy, and requires jumping through many hoops. But if it saves you from becoming homeless, it's worth it. Unemployment Insurance can help, but you will only get a fraction of the monthly income you were used to, and it usually takes many weeks for the first check to arrive, once you have qualified. And those checks will not keep coming indefinitely. The same is true with food stamps. Although food stamp benefits come in one monthly lump, it usually amounts to only 1 dollar per meal. If you spend any more than that, be ready to go hungry before the end of the month.

11 comments:

  1. Very good article Kevin. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life experince with the world. You are helping more people than you realize. Most people are unwilling to openly admit that they are concerned about the possibility of becoming homeless. Thank you again Kevin.

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  2. Yes, I think you make very good points. You can't count on government because food stamps offer barely enough to survive. Not to mention the humiliating and invasive process you need to go through just to get this pittance. Churches are more concerned with supporting their own congregation and from experience that's not even always the case. Joining a church to find support or to feel loved and wanted, a survival tactic employed by some. For me, it never worked because I found the members just a selfish and superficial as the rest of society. Friends may help for a very short time, you then become a burden and it's over. Which makes you question the nature of friendship in the first place. Family is no guarantee, many families are broken beyond repair. In the end, all you have is you, and we all know that's not enough but that's life on life's terms.

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  3. This is interesting. I have seen alcoholics, strippers and others become homeless and just be surrounded by a barrage of people who "love and care about them."

    Then I've seen nice people who care about others get kicked to the curb when hard times arrive.

    It seems that if you have a lot of potential, people don't love and care about you so much. If you're on the edge, most people would love seeing you fail.

    But if you're a drunk or so happen to have rich relatives, expect a lot of enablers to arrive. People care about what they are comfortable with. Other factors are just the luck of the draw. That's really the bottom line. Has nothing to do with how "lovable" you are.

    Taking on a homeless friend is like taking on a disabled person. You will cost them a lot of money, time and emotional energy. When people get past feeling sorry for you and that realization sinks in...that's when you become homeless.

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  4. I was homeless and as you say, no one cared as my Mom, Aunt and Grandma did not socialize. We were part of a church but went twice a month on Sunday. When Mom and I became homeless they stated they had no funds or means to help us(Mom had cancer and was one of the founders of that church). That has had me rethink religion, but also the humanity of the human heart. I had, year before this, help a homeless family. provided them with McDonalds meal once a day (parents and two kids). When our time came, no one did for us.
    I found employment after several months and the Salvation Army provided funds and furnishings so I could get the job and paycheck. Today, years later, I have a loving wife and four brats (uhm kids ;-) and life has been good. However, I just had my hours cut to the bone and a few days later given a write-up for things I did not do and do have any knowledge of. It brought back all those years ago and worse, for my Mom died, but my children and wife being homeless. It fills me with terror.

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  5. Sitting at the college in minneapolis mn right now with nowhere to go... fuck my life... I work full time but how can i continue to work with on place to live? Every apartment and every house is too expensive for me and my girlfriend to afford. Since my girlfriend goes to college she does not qualify for food stamps or housing. I don't qualify for anything either because I have a job. Were both going to be in the car for the foreseeable future... sigh* ...

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  6. I feel that if a person really has "family and friends", they would do everything to prevent the person from becoming homeless. I don't think that one really has family or friends if they allow one to be homeless. It really isn't a matter of keeping clean and fed; there are ways to do those things. It's the danger of being alone at night, hoping no one will attack you. If people cared, they would not want you to be assaulted, raped, or even murdered. I think people should be ashamed if they let a decent human being be homeless...

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  7. I may have said this before, (as it has been sometime since my last visit). I was homeless and so was my Mom. She had cancer at this time in her life and my company went under. It took good people to help us out of this mess, but we found some. Then, five years later,she died. Six years after that, and I lost my job because of company drama and politics. No one would help me during this time. I had a harsh reality check. Dug myself out of this mess after eight months. If it wasn't for online sites, like this one, I would not have survived those months. That, and a girl I met who was way more street smart then me and remained with me during all of this and even now.

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  8. I would like to help out anyone on the verge of becoming homeless. It frightens me to think that a woman with a child out there is homeless and hungry. I cannot accommodate anybody but I have a job and can buy a meal for those in need. I live in Falls Church, virginia. Email sutanuver@yahoo.com

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  9. My ex husband kicked me and my children out on the street the day after the years biggest snow storm. When I called my family for help they just said "keep your chin up, you'll figure something out" but offered no real help. Being suddenly homeless with two toddlers is terrifying beyond anything I've ever experienced. I work full time, donate plasma, even though I shouldnt because I breastfeed, and work as many side jobs as possible but it still isnt enough. Sometimes there is nothing you can do, life is just one crushing defeat after another. I fear for my boys at times and wonder if I should give them up for adoption to give them a better chance. I love my boys more than life itself, I would, and have given everything to support them, but I feel im being selfish by keeping them, they deserve better.

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  10. One person cannot "Kick" another person out of a house without a just reason. You should have called the cops. Did you give him a just reason to kick you out?

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  11. I've all too often found that the people who supposedly loved and cared about me stopped talking to me and having anything to do with me the day the money stopped coming. There is no defense as far as I'm concerned.

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