After six years in steady decline, homelessness is once again on the rise in the United States.
Homelessness can affect anyone, from the college-educated businessman who fell prey to addiction to a single mother who didn’t have a supportive home environment growing up.
Homelessness isn’t a reflection of your personal character, it is a consequence of circumstances that you were no longer able to control — whatever those circumstances were.
We understand that you want to learn how to get out of homelessness and get your life back on track.
This post is here to help.
In it, we’ll give you advice on how to get off the streets, as well as tips on how to avoid becoming homeless if you’re currently in a high-risk situation.
How to Avoid Being Homeless
When it comes to homelessness, prevention is often the best cure – though not always possible.
Start by taking a hard look at your budget, and being honest with yourself about the sacrifices you may need to make.
Can you move back to your parents’ house or in with a friend for the time being? Is finding a roommate an option? Should you put your house on the cash market to avoid foreclosure?
While meaningless advice like “stop eating out” and “don’t buy so many clothes” won’t really help you to avoid homelessness, you should still aim to cut out as much unnecessary spending as is possible.
Next, take a look at your debt.
Can you restructure your loans or mortgage to make the payments more affordable? If you’re currently in debt over taxes, try these tips to ameliorate the situation.
It may even be worth spending money on meeting with a financial counselor to get saving and budgeting advice.
Finally, remember that, while there are certain charities designed to help the currently homeless, there are also nonprofits that can help people close to homelessness.
Look for food pantries, charities that assist with affordable housing, give out emergency funds, and even churches that can provide free counseling.
If You’re Currently Homeless
Perhaps you tried all of the advice mentioned above and still wound up becoming homeless.
Even if you’re currently employed, you may not make enough to pay rent, especially if you live in a city with an expensive housing market.
We know you want to know how to not be homeless anymore. Let’s talk about your options for overcoming homelessness below.
Get off the Streets
The first thing you should focus on is getting off of the streets.
You may not be able to find a shelter that will accept you for a longer stay, but there are soup kitchens, programs, and even nonprofits that will give you a place to sleep for the night. Remember that most shelters give you a place to stay for a maximum of three months.
You can also get in touch with a homeless service provider in your area, through the national HUD exchange.
Depending on your unique circumstances, specialized housing may also be available. There are programs designed to help veterans, single parents, teenagers victims of domestic abuse, and much more.
This page on the Salvation Army website will help you find out about group homes, emergency shelters, transitional living shelters, and more in your area. We also suggest that you look at this directory from the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Use Public Spaces
If you’re unable to get a place in a shelter, or if you need additional resources that the shelter/group home can’t provide, you can also use public spaces to help you learn how to get out of homelessness.
Public libraries have computers that you can use to research job opportunities, apply for WIC benefits, connect with nonprofits and food banks, and much more. Public spaces may also have phones available for you to use.
Nonprofits are an excellent place to look for job opportunities for homeless people looking to get back on their feet.
Look into Free Classes
If you’re currently homeless and between jobs, you may want to explore different ways to build your skill set.
There are lots of organizations that help you with free classes designed to do just that.
Especially look for classes that help with resume building, provide a mock interview, and help you to learn how to build up your technical skills and job training. Many community centers will also have volunteers on hand to help you craft a perfect cover letter.
These volunteers can also help you to apply for housing grants and other forms of financial assistance for the homeless.
You should also look into your healthcare options when homeless, especially if you have a permanent health condition or are suffering from an addiction. There are treatment options out there for you, and free clinics that will ensure you get the care you need and deserve.
How to Get out of Homelessness: Wrapping Up
Understanding how to get out of homelessness is also a mental game.
We know that there will be some days where you just feel completely helpless, forgotten about, unloved, and unworthy of assistance. You need to tap into the communities of support you’ve created for yourself during these times, or go out and actively seek them.
Are you interested in learning more about how to help the homeless? If you’re currently homeless, would you like more advice about how to turn your life around?
We believe in you, and we want to help.
Keep checking back with our blog for more advice on how to end homelessness for yourself and others.