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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Homelessness survival guide

Seek out homeless assistance programs to ease the difficulty of homelessness
Homeless persons risk exposure to bad weather and crime
A multiplicity of programs and services in the U.S. provide homeless people with some personal finance reprieve and a possible way out of their situation. The first thing to do is to assess the severity of your situation. Where are you located and what resources are available?

Survival situations require fast action, and will challenge your wits as much as those who are not homeless are tasked by a different set of obstacles. The most important thing for you to do is find help or quickly learn how to survive in adverse circumstances.


After dealing with your immediate needs, the next step is to find a way out of your situation. This involves honestly evaluating your psychological condition, capabilities, and physical health. If your health is compromised, seek medical assistance via mental and other health clinics with free or sliding scale payments. Places to look include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration, Needy Meds, and Find The Best.


Numerous programs exist to help disabled people, the homeless, and those in poverty. Vocational rehabilitation, government and not-for-profit social services are available for this purpose. The Department of Labor and the National Resources Directory provide online help with locating such services. Individual municipalities also operate programs that are of assistance. Local government Departments of Homeless Services, or similar such administrative divisions provide information about these programs  


Homeless shelters offer temporary relief from weather
Males comprise the largest percentage of homeless people
If you have exhausted your personal resources or are seeking additional help, a good place to go is a local library. This will give you access to important phone numbers and addresses that could set you in the right direction. For example, The Homeless Shelter Directory and Shelter Listings detail homeless assistance by city throughout the U.S. These social services have the potential to save your life. The HSD website also provides useful tips and guidance about dealing with homeless survival situation.


According to the Food Research & Action Center and The Legal Aid Society, homeless people have the same rights to food stamps as people with homes. However, in the interim period, or if for some reason you are unable to qualify or receive food stamps, other sources of food will be needed while homeless. Apart from hunting game and eating wild edible vegetation, public works offer some help. For instance, Food Pantries and Feeding America provide directories of these services.
To avoid frost bite, homeless shelters loosen restrictions during cold periods
Pan handlers can supplement income with social assistance


Additional programs exist to help individuals and families cope and overcome their financial hardship. Such programs include the Department of Health and Human Services' Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or TANF, and other programs offered via the Department of Housing and Urban Development. To see if you qualify for assistance such as Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children or TAFDC contact your state department of health and human services. To learn about additional or alternative services, the federal government's Benefits Finder is of assistance. 

• Image 1 attribution: US-PDGov
Image 2 attribution: Vermont Housing Finance Agency; US-PDGov
• Image 3 attribution: Ed Yourdon; CC BY-SA 2.0