8 Tips To Facing Homelessness

The Negative Side of Staying With Friends or Family When You Are Homeless

Brian nadon
Getting Settled in the Winter

Do you have someone in your life who you know will welcome you with open arms, feed you and give you a bed? If so, run to them. You’ll need a kind ear and a shoulder to cry on as you make the transition from your previous life to the challenges that lie ahead.

Unfortunately, however, staying with friends and family is generally not a good long-term option. Particularly if you have pets, the friendship is likely to be strained for any of many reasons.

  • Their home is small, your presence will definitely cause stress and tension.
  • Your pets will have to adapt to their house rules. This may be difficult.
  • You will walk the fine line between being appropriately helpful and appearing to be ‘taking over’.
  • You risk being seen as lazy and at the same time you risk being seen as bossy.
  • Staying with friends or family in a confined space may change the dynamics of your relationship.

Planning a Better Life When You Are Homeless

Brian Nadon
Turning your back on the world

With the right attitude, losing your home can become an opportunity to make a positive change. If you have been unhappy or unsatisfied with the circumstances of your life, now marks the moment when you are going to do things differently. Circumstances are forcing you out of your home. The first step is to accept that you have to make dramatic changes. You know losing your home is inevitable. Don’t wait until the last moment, and all your money is gone.

You want a better life than most homeless people. Make a plan to create a new home. And stick to it. You don’t want to get caught in a cycle that spirals from bad to worse. Let go of the past and be positive about a bright future. Becoming homeless gives you every reason to let go of the old and embrace the new. All that old baggage you’ve carted around with you in the past is about to be left behind.

New York City Lost and Looking for Support
New York City Lost and Looking for Support

Here Are My Top Tips For Planning a Better Life When You’re Homeless

Homeless Tip #1: Move Quickly

When becoming homeless is inevitable, you have to move quickly – in every sense of the word. Make a plan quickly. Make decisions quickly. Implement your plan quickly. Give notice that you will be moving out as soon as you can arrange it. Don’t wait until your money runs out. There are many advantages to becoming homeless months earlier than it is forced upon you if it means that you’ll still have money in the bank. Don’t waste the last of your savings and incur more debt by trying to delay the inevitable. You want the ability to set yourself up before your funds dry up. By moving quickly you can stop paying rent and avoid another power bill just a little bit sooner.

Homeless Tip #2: Sell Everything You Don’t Need

Once you become homeless, you are going to lose everything anyway. Instead of waiting until your possessions are taken or sent to the dump, sell them. Have a garage sale or a yard sale. Sell things on eBay, Kijiji, or Craigslist. Stick a ‘For Sale’ sign up in your local supermarket and other public venues with photos and prices of large furniture items. Take smaller items to a local market and display them on a sheet. To sell everything you might have to drop your prices, but every item sold is one less problem on moving day.

The cost of buying things you’ll need if you’re homeless – for instance perhaps a van or even just an ordinary tent – seems unreachable when you have nothing. But you don’t have ‘nothing’ until you walk out your door for the last time, leaving everything you own behind you. Sell your possessions, apart from those you’ll obviously need like your sleeping bags, blankets or warm bed covers. Just keep what you’ll need for one very cold night – and one rather warm night – and sell the rest. Keep one pillow each. The vast majority of your kitchen items can be sold along with everything in your lounge room, dining room, laundry etc. All your towels and linen, books and CDs and DVDs and everything else that would be lost when you walk out the door should be sold to help fund the next stage of your life.

Brian Nadon - Don't Just Vanish
Don’t Just Vanish

Homeless Tip #3: Don’t Just Vanish

Losing your home can be embarrassing. Nobody likes to feel like a failure. But with more than 300,000 Canadian’s homeless in a given year there is no need to hang your head in shame and want to vanish. You really do need to keep in touch with your network of friends and family and be contactable in the event of an emergency.

Facebook can be problematic if you don’t have an internet connection, so consider a cheap pre-paid cell phone that can receive phone calls and text messages. Explain that you don’t intend to use your phone but you’ll try to keep it charged and will check for messages every couple of days. Get a Post Office box or similar service in place before you leave your home and no longer have evidence of a home address.

You’ll need to receive mail from government bodies including when it is time for your driver’s license renewal. You can have your mail redirected at a later time when you know where you’ll be based. It might be appropriate to have your mail sent to a trusted and reliable friend or family member who can forward it or open and read your letters to you over the phone.

Tell at least one trusted person where you are going. Keep them updated with where you are and how you are coping. You’ll complicate life for those who care about you if you leave everything to their imagination, so don’t just vanish without explanation. Make an effort to stay in touch.

Homeless Tip #4: Photograph Everything You Want To Remember

Be happy we live in the day and age of inexpensive phones, digital cameras and gigabytes of storage. When I moved from one side of the country to the other in 1989, taking photographs required film and processing. And guess what, I don’t remember much from those years.

Homeless Tip #5: The Time Will Come When You Are Ready To Fly Again

Brian Nadon - Time to Fly Again
Brian Nadon – Time to Fly Again

When you lose your home, your lifestyle and your routine, it is natural for your confidence to be shaken. Take time to reflect, but don’t be afraid to try and fly again. You don’t have to be homeless forever. When you lose your home, your lifestyle and your routine, it is natural for your confidence to be shaken. Take time to reflect, but don’t be afraid to try and fly again. You don’t have to be homeless forever.

Homeless Tip #6: Take What You’ll Need To Look For A Job

Homelessness is a short-term proposition. You don’t want to be without a home for longer than necessary. Before you can get yourself and your family a new home, you are going to need an income. Despite how hopeless life may seem at the moment, the sun will rise one morning and you will be ready to go out and get a job. Make sure you have everything you need when that day comes! Very few employers will be impressed by someone who walks through their door in tracksuit pants and a t-shirt. When you apply for a job, you have to dress for the occasion – and when you begin work, you need to be dressed appropriately. Fold your work clothes flat and tie them up in a plastic bag. Put a copy of your references in the bag as well. You need these important items to stay clean and dry until they are needed. If you’re an office worker, pack at least one appropriate outfit for work plus a second shirt. If you’re unskilled and have no idea what kind of work you might find, pack a black shirt, a white shirt and a pair of black trousers … along with a pair of comfortable, clean shoes you could wear if working in a cafe, a bakery, a variety store or any other store that might require staff.

Brian Nadon - Looking for Warmth
Looking for Warmth

Homeless Tip #7: Move to a Safer Place With a Better Climate – Preferably Not in a City

If you live where snow falls, that’s not a place to be homeless. Flooding rains, severe cyclones, raging bushfires … there are many dangers that can be avoided if you are prepared to pack up and move to a better, less threatening climate. Do you really want to re-establish a home in the path of regular cold fronts? Even if you have friends and family in the area where you now live, don’t you think they’d be happy to come to visit you if you establish a new home in a safer place? While you are assessing where you will go, give serious thought to the type of environment you want to be in. If you have always lived in the heart of a busy city, imagine your lifestyle if you no longer have a house with a living room, a kitchen, a dining room, a shower, a door to lock and a place to park your car. Pitching a tent or parking your trailer is not going to be easy in a city.

My suggestion is to head for a country town that is large enough to have businesses likely to be needing staff, but small enough for young people to leave when they want to get a university education or pursue their careers and dreams. This type of community often welcomes newcomers and the locals are more likely to be aware of who needs workers (in shops or on farms or in orchards at harvest time). Local caravan and camping sites are likely to have lower rates than bigger towns and large cities and may have free camping areas alongside rivers or parks. Talk to a friendly local and ask for advice.

Brian Nadon - Fishing For A Future
Fishing For A Future

Homeless Tip #8: Keep One Eye On The Future

Sometimes even the greatest optimist can have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Homelessness can be one of those times. Coping with the challenges of being homeless takes a lot of effort but if you can always keep one eye on the future the process will be easier. Be confident that you will find work, save money and establish yourself in a new home.

Dream of buying a cheap block of land, moving your trailer tent (or another tent if you really can’t afford a trailer) onto it and ultimately building a house. Be nice and pleasant to everyone you meet. It’s a small world and today’s stranger might be tomorrow’s employer or a relative of your future landlord.

Ask for help if you need it. Don’t wait until a bad situation becomes worse. Make new friends. Be an interesting person. Don’t just be a victim of the global economy or your mental health. 🙂

Accept help if you are offered it. Learn to say, “That would be great. Thank you.” You will get the chance to repay or pass forward any kindness you receive, so there is no need to feel uncomfortable when somebody lends you a hand.

Actively seek out opportunities to learn, grow, work, save, and build your new life. Today’s experiences will help create the person you become tomorrow. Make it your goal to become wise, not bitter.

Brian Nadon - Homeless
In The End – Homelessness Can Happen To Everyone – Including Brian Nadon

Homeless But Not Without Hope

Good luck to everyone faced with the challenge of surviving without a home. Many of us in the world have seen hard times and yet managed to rebuild our lives and find happiness and security again. Yes, you may be homeless for a while … but I hate to think you’d see a day without hope. Make a positive plan and do your best to stick to it.

I wish you all the best!!

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