What would you do if you suddenly became homeless?

I am talking job gone, house or apartment payment not happening so eviction is a definite thing, and no friend or relative with available couch. I shouldn’t have to say “no secret pile of gold bullion and no savings accounts filled with money to fall back on” (“house or apartment payment not happening so eviction is a definite thing” should be a big enough hint) but I am saying it anyway. How would you honestly handle immediate homelessness?
What do you do in the next few days, weeks, months etc.?

Get arrested

Very temporary solution…but not as easy as you think it is, and it adds “arrested” to “evicted” on your resume/housing application.

I’d sell everything I could, research shelters, and attempt to obtain ANY job, even if min wage. I’d also research which states had the most favorable policies WRT homeless. I’d use computers at the library if I did not have my own.

Longer term, I’d consider getting myself someplace warmer than Chicago.

For me I would have to be in the hospital with a terminal illness to be in this situation. I have a pension and could live off that and social security indefinitly. And hey, what happened to my 401K?

Maybe find a monistery and become part of a brotherhood of monks that brews their own beer, ale and Mead. Do these still exist?

While I’m still presentable, I could probably live unnoticed inside an IKEA for a few weeks.

Hanging out around a supermarket isn’t the worst idea. Lots of good food being thrown away every day.

Public libraries are warm, safe places to go during the day.

If I had a car, that’s rudimentary shelter that’s relatively secure and comfortable, at least in a mild weather scenario.

Check into a shelter, suffer through the guy telling me I’m homeless bc I haven’t accepted Jesus into my life. All so I can have my plate of beans and rice.

Find a job at a fast food joint.

Stay at the cheapest no tell motel I can find and hope I don’t get shot or killed before I find more gainful employment and a better place to stay.

With nothing but my golf cart left I would head for Florida 15 miles at a time, charging as I went. As long as I could stay on back roads and avoid a policeman. If I came across a small generator I would steal it so I could charge away from an electric outlet. Finding outlets would be challenging. I would park at highway exits and stand there with a sign that read, “Need money for green fees”.

I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck and so have an emergency fund; so I’m not in the same situation as most people who are homeless or are about to become homeless. I am not immune to homelessness, it just couldn’t happen all of a sudden. I’m also not suffering from alcoholism or other substance addiction problems, and I haven’t been diagnosed with a mental health condition, so I would be fairly well-equipped to get out.

I would spend the first night or several in the cheapest motel I could find, since I presumably would not lose access to my savings. I would have to immediately search for a place to live, of course. I have an actual credit card, which is relevant because many hotels and motels will not accept a debit card, Visa Debit, or cash. I suspect most homeless people have terrible credit.

I don’t know how I would save “my stuff”. I would hate to lose it, of course, but storage costs where I live are maniacal. (I pay for storage where I live, but it’s amazingly cheap. An “outside” place costs half of what I pay for rent.) I would have to save my computer, but lots of stuff would have to be sacrificed.

With my income and credit, I should be able to find a place, but it won’t be as cheap as where I live so my standard of living would go down and I would have to tighten my belt. Of course, that’s ignoring the “lack of a job” thing. I would apply for and get unemployment, which doesn’t pay well but lasts around nine months where I live.

I have a transit pass with money preloaded on it (and could put money on it immediately if necessary). I doubt I would actually spend much time outside in the cold. I would get on transit while using my data to find a cheap motel.

I would look for a job at Amazon, since apparently they’re not requiring interviews (the part of job-hunting I hate the most). Getting a job would be mandatory!

Since I’m not at risk in real life, I don’t have a prepared kit. I’m thinking I’d have to collect my body wash (for showering at a gym, and I currently don’t have a gym membership!), medications, required clothing, and so forth. I also have a “new” dog (he’s old) who is very small (not good when temperatures are extreme) and on a special diet. Pretty much the worst possible combo for a homeless person!

Sell my car and use the proceeds to buy a cheap van. Pack up my sleeping bag, air mattress, clothes, and whatever other necessities I can. Go live down by the river.

When I was much, much younger and living alone in NYC, I stupidly quit my job and got evicted. I remember sleeping on park benches or, if it was raining, in the Grand Central waiting room. I’d go into the Automat and make soup with hot water and ketchup, and maybe finish some people’s leftovers. One nice woman saw what I was doing and gave me a dollar.

Eventually, I found another job and got back on my feet.

“The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!”

I thought this would be an easy one to answer, then I realized it would require that I not have any of the family and friends I currently have (everyone I count on would make space for me), would not have my educational and career background (otherwise the answer, seriously, could be “Go to work for DARPA”), and I would not have the personal approach I currently have towards saving and living within my means.

I’d be a completely different person. I don’t know how that person thinks, so I don’t know what that person would do.

Do I see this coming? Or have I been unemployed for a while and living on the cash in my mattress, and suddenly the house burned down with all my stuff and am basically starting a new adventure with no equipment or gold? Partial or total societal collapse that wipes out employment possibilities in my current career field?

Cuz I got skillz and charm (in meatspace anyway). I could walk into any employer in my career field in town, dressed however I am dressed, and secure employment within a couple of days. “Here’s my sitch, which is why I look the way I do. Here’s what I do [explain]. Do you need any of that, or do you know anyone who does?” Meanwhile I’m knocking on doors trying to bum spare blankets or camping gear until I score or end up arrested; or in a shelter, or squatting in an abandoned house if things get too desperate and the weather is bad.

If I see it coming, obviously I can forego the begging and throw some outdoor gear in the car and live rough until payday. If I’ve got the credit cards I’m golden and can live out of an inexpensive hotel for a few weeks until the earnings allow me to get my own pad.

Ok, this thread made me wonder something. I own my house with a mortgage, as I imagine a lot of people here do. If I stopped making my mortgage payments and the bank repossesses my house and evicts me, what happens to the equity I have in the property? Like, say I still owed $100K on my mortgage, and the house is worth $200K in the current market and that’s what the bank is able to sell it for. Do I just lose that $100K in equity? Or is the bank only allowed to keep the actual amount I owe them (plus maybe some interest and fees), and has to hand over the additional proceeds from the sale to me?

I actually think about this quite often. Three days a week, I drive to work at 5:30 in the morning. It’s still dark and very cold and I always see several people walking on the street with blankets draped across their backs.

I would die if I had to be homeless. I’m very cold natured and just can’t imagine not being able to be warm enough. I’m also very clean and private and I truly can’t stand the thought. I’d probably try to rob a bank or commit some other non-violent crime and plead guilty.

I am 72, seriously overweight, with asthma and sleep apnea. Without medications (and a place to plug in my CPAP) I would probably be dead within 6 months. Are there places for indigent people to refill their prescriptions? (my asthma medication is expensive for a homeless person). I understand that panhandling can get you enough to eat so that you don’t actually starve, and there are soup kitchens, etc. around.

Do I have to imagine that, on top of everything else, my social security payments would stop? I could at least eat with that money.

That said, I live in San Francisco and have for 40+ years, and they have fairly robust homeless programs. Since I am not suffering from mental illness, and with the other factors mentioned, I might rate a SRO hotel room. Then I might be able to survive as long as I will anyway. I might lose weight, since I would have to walk around and take public transit instead of driving. Maybe it would be better for me, giving actual survival more value than it has now.

Technically equity is yours after the bank sells the house. But if you owe $250,000 on a $350,000 property, and that $100,000 isn’t going to the bank, the bank has no incentive to market the place for much more than $250,000 plus their handling and legal fees. If they sell it cheap, they sell it fast and recover the outstanding loan balance quicker. But since they don’t get to keep the profits, and profits delay the disposal of the property, why would they care?

I want to thank those who are treating the question of sudden homelessness seriously, and not either thinking of it as a joke or a story problem with creative workarounds.

Are fast food jobs available if you don’t have an actual address? Back when I was homeless the part of the application for those jobs that wanted your address and phone number was marked as “MUST BE FILLED OUT” or somesuch.

The Original Poster’s description sounds a lot like the plot of a few films. For some reason the protagonist can’t return to their home, can’t contact anyone they know, and their credit cards don’t work - because the mob, the CIA, or some other all-powerful bogeyman is after them.

When the news stations here run reports of people being left homeless after a fire they usually say that the Red Cross is stepping in to find them shelter. So that would be my first call.

There was a book written by a young man who deliberately went to another city and lived as a homeless person, then worked his way up. He started in a shelter. In one year he had a friend with whom he shared an apartment, a truck, and a job - moving people’s furniture & goods. OK if you have the stamina for it.

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