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Homeless: The First Days

This is the first post in an 8 part series, by a guest author who goes by the name Dreamscaper. It’s my honor to share his story with my readers.

What would you do if you found yourself this morning being 100% completely homeless? All you have is the clothes in a backpack and a train ticket to a city you’ve lived in. Whatever got you to this point can’t be undone. You have no friends or family that you can turn to for help. The only way you’ll get out of your current situation is all on your own. While every homeless person has their own unique story, you can probably rest assured that your mental facilities might not be all there. After all, you are homeless, something that most people will try to avoid at every opportunity.

You have just exited the train. You took your current life possessions to a place you feel safe, a place you hopefully won’t get hassled by police or anyone else. You probably thought to pack your wallet and ID and maybe 2 to 3 sets of clothes. Maybe you also thought to take a magazine you can reread over and over again or a book or two to pass the time. You might have even brought with you a bible. That should give you plenty of reading time and maybe some inspiring words to get by. Maybe you had some room for some small electronics like a walkman and an electronic organizer. But that’s it. Your wallet is empty of money. Your walkman won’t last long if run only off batteries. Hopefully the clothes you packed are really comfortable and not “stylish”. If you packed any food it probably didn’t even survive the train trip, and, if it did, it won’t last terribly long, unless, of course, you can figure out how to get back on your feet quickly. So, what’s your plan?

1. Buy a PO Box. This will give you an address on applications.

2. Buy a prepaid cell phone. Look for the cheapest plan. This will give you a phone number for job hunting.

3. Figure out how to get food stamps. Being able to eat helps out.

4. Figure out where the homeless shelters are. Some homeless people won’t go to a homeless shelter because of their stuff stolen or diseases or anything else. Even if you are that type of person having options always helps.

5. You’ll probably need advice in seeking professional help for people without money. You might be facing other challenges or simply want health insurance in case something happens.

Now let’s look at reality. You probably didn’t think of bringing a pen and paper. You might be able to borrow it depending on where you are staying, but you aren’t quite ready to steal it yet. You don’t have money for number one or two. If you did, you’d probably rather keep that for necessities like food. Three, four, and five you simply might not know where to look and who to ask. Unless you “moved” to where to look for help, chances are you won’t be able to afford the bus money to travel there. If you could, you never did this before, so you would rather spend the little money you have on food than bus tickets. This probably doesn’t make much sense to any sane person, but when you have a choice, having something to eat really becomes a priority.

Next Week – The Battle Against Safety

  • Anji July 25, 2011, 8:59 am

    As I read this everything just fell away. I mean that every idea was just impossible without a home and money. I couldn’t imagine not having somthing to write with. There is a lot of food for thought I suppose you would have time – too much of that.

  • Mary July 25, 2011, 11:04 am

    Thank you for writing this. I always feel like such an ingrate when I forget how lucky I am just to have a roof over my head. I always feel so guilty knowing that I don’t do more. You have such empathy in your writing. It is just tremendous the way you write.

  • JOE July 25, 2011, 11:13 am

    Thanks for visiting, Mary. It’s an amazing story, more to come.

  • Don August 1, 2011, 3:27 pm

    Having been homeless for three months, once, and weeks, once, I am looking forward to this series to see how others coped, or are coping, with it! I hope you are back off the streets for the rest of your life!


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