Surviving Homelessness

Have you ever thought about what it would be like if you suddenly lost your home? How would you survive? What would you do for shelter, clothes, food, and the other items you need for daily living? Recently in our part of the country we had tornadoes that produced a lot of damage to our neighboring city. There were several lives lost and many, many homes damaged, if not completely destroyed. There were many who suddenly had nothing and were not prepared to be homeless. While tornadoes are not seen every day, people do lose their homes more frequently in other ways. Couples who live paycheck to paycheck are one mishap, one illness, or one job loss away from being homeless.

Surviving Homelessness

Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. His pyramid is fairly self-explanatory, with the bottom being most basic for sustaining physical life.

In other words, one could live and breathe without four and five but the further towards the bottom of the pyramid, the more essential the items become. For someone who is suddenly homeless, the first order of business would be to satisfy the physiological needs, which consist of air, food, water, shelter, clothing, and sleep.

Maslows Hierarchy Of Needs

Maslows Hierarchy Of Needs

If you are fortunate enough to still have belongings that you are able to get to, the most reasonable thing to do if find a place to keep them for the short-term or consider selling them if time permits. By doing this, you will either have some items to start over with or you will have cash to help you survive until you can start over.

After securing any belongings you may have, shelter is the next thing to think about. You need a place to sleep and, depending on the situation, one place may be a better solution than others. Maybe you have friends or family who would be open to letting you stay with them until you can find your own place again. If not, there are still other options.

You may have to consider living in your car. While it wasn’t meant to live in, it will do temporarily if there is no other place. It is a basic form of shelter that can keep you out of the elements and can be heated or cooled for short periods of time.

Another option is a homeless shelter. Most larger cities have at least one shelter and sometimes several. It is not a permanent solution and those who stay there are usually required to leave first thing in the morning and are allowed to come back to sleep at night. While this may be fine for some, keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of people who can stay and families normally are not allowed to sleep in the same area together. Furthermore, if you have any belongings, they may not be secure.

If you are fortunate to have any money put away elsewhere, another option would be to stay in a hotel until you find a permanent place. Some hotels offer weekly or monthly rates to those who need a place to stay for more than a night or two. There are even some that are set up with a personal kitchen and living area. This option would be feasible for those who have lost their home to reasons such as a fire or weather but who otherwise are financially stable.

There are also some social agencies that will help if you find yourself homeless in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services is the principal agency that partners together with local agencies to help those who are in need of essential services, including housing. HUD or the Department of Housing and Urban Development is another agency that is dedicated to helping those who need housing. The Volunteers of America is a different type of agency that helps with temporary housing and stop-in shelters for those who live primarily on the streets.

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