Sorry I have been gone so long. I have had a very productive week. I have had several job interviews and I met with a social worker that has real experience dealing with the homeless. This is one of the first people who fully understands what I am going through, but more important she has been able to give me leads on the resources that are available to me. This is a maze and you keep bumping into walls trying to find your way out.
She did tell me that I have depression. You know I am thinking that is a positive sign. Wouldn't it be odd that I did not? To me I think that would mean that I have accepted being homeless and it would become my life. I am still fighting being homeless.
I also have a lead on church that will help finish up my car repairs. I still have several things that need to be taken care of so it is drivable for more than just very short distances.
So as I said, I have had a good week. One of the best that I have had in long time. The down side is that it was really bad at work and the next paycheck will be joke. But I am dealing with that the best that I can.
I am a little behind on some bills, but I am doing the best that I can.
The yeast infection has not cleared up completely. It is better, I don't have the stinging anymore, but I am still itchy and uncomfortable. So I was able to get another round of the anti-fungal so I am hoping within the next day or so it will clear itself up.
I am not sleeping all that great, but I have gotten used to that the best that I can.
I heard from someone that is about to become homeless. Here is best advice I can give you:
Get a can opener. You will need it.
Have talc/baby powder/cornstarch. Keeping your feet warm and dry is vital.
I have really fought the shelters. I don't like them. But, they are necessary for you. They will help you with medical problems among other things. Make sure that at least one of them knows who you are. They are also a resource if you need clothes.
You will need bug spray, toothpaste, toothbrush, and get small containers to put your hair washing supplies in.
I have found having a small container of soap for your hands is also a good idea. Using all different types of soaps on your hands can be rough. It is better if you try to have your own supply.
If you can possibly afford a storage unit, get one. The more obviously homeless you are the more difficult your life will be. They don't want you at malls or restaurants. The police will hassle you more. Carry as little as possible with you and stay as clean as possible, and change you clothes as often as you can if you are unable to do it daily. There is no reason to be dirty.
Most states have a 2-1-1 service. Use it. They can get you the info for shelters in your area, the clinics that can meet your medical needs, they can find you a pro bono dentist for minor things.
Try and find the drop in centers in your area. They can help you with laundry and showers. Some offer mental health services too. They will help with specific needs financially, such as adding minutes to a pay as you go phone. They won't give you money, but they will add minutes if you need them.
If you are picking and choosing which bills to pay, make sure one of them is your phone bill. You must have a phone. Even if it is just one that gets you to 9-1-1. The streets are dangerous. Some of the homeless are severely mentally ill. But you will find the biggest hassles comes from the non homeless people. You will be looked at like human trash by many. I have met several others who have been beaten up and robbed. Be aware of your surroundings all the time. Keep track of the street names so you know where you are if you need to call the police.
Keep yourself as clean as possible. It is easy enough to do if you put the effort in.
There are plenty of places that will help you with food. Most are only open several days a week, but once you get it down, you should be able to find a meal most days. Sunday's are hardest. You will not be able to find three meals a day, but you should be able to find at least one a day.
Talk to the churches. Many won't help, but some will.
Avoid using public restrooms at a gas station if at all possible. They are the least likely to be clean. They are also the most likely to ban you from using them.
Get used to being cold. You won't be able to shake unless it is very hot out. Even then you will find the air conditioning will make you cold.
Figure out where the libraries are. They are a good resource for you. Internet access, clean restrooms, and most of the time if you fall asleep they won't say much.
Figure out where the grocery stores that have a microwave for you to use are. You can eat much more cheaply that way.
Always carry with you something to keep you dry in case it rains. Once your stuff gets wet, it takes days for it to dry.
Always carry with you at least one small bag. You will find that need them for a variety of things.
Keep your money in the safest possible place. Inside your sock, the deepest part of your bag. Don't bring out your cash unless you really need it.
Clean up after yourself always. People will figure out that you are homeless eventually. They will be much more tolerant of you if you are clean.
Move around. Don't sleep in the same place all the time if you are sleeping in your car. You are far less likely to be hassled. And the police will hassle you.
Remember, you are poor. That does not mean that you have given up your constitutional rights. It is not illegal to sleep in your car. They have no right to force you to show ID if you are parked on private property. Unless the owner called them, they can't even ask you to leave. They can and they will if you are on public property. Learn the difference.
When you sleep, program your phone to call 9-1-1 with one touch. It will make you feel safer.
Believe it or not, you really don't need toilet paper, unless you are going to the camping route. If you go the camping route, you will find other homeless that you can join, you will be safer. At least in this area there are many of them. More than anyone wants to admit to.
Your skin will get very dry. Try to get lotion.
There are lawyers that will help you protect your rights. They work for free for you. I am not sure how they make an income or they just do it on the side. But they won't charge. Find the phone numbers of at least one and program it into your phone in case of an emergency.
The most important thing I can say is that you still have human dignity. Don't forget that. The shame and the guilt is normal. But even then, don't lose your dignity. You dont' have to break the law to survive. You are still a human being, even when others don't treat you all that well. Tell yourself screw them. Remember, you are able to survive a difficult time. That is something to take some pride in. But learn the difference between pride and dignity. Dignity will always help you, pride sometimes will get in the way.
Good luck to you.