How to Survive Homelessness

Homelessness is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It goes deep into the psyche with feelings of failure. Society helps further this impression by classifying the homeless as "throwaways." Most people still believe that only drug addicts are homeless, but the truth hits a lot closer to home with the increase in foreclosures, job losses and natural disasters. How a person survives homelessness comes down to two elements: hope and persistence.

Don't hang out with the homeless. It may sound mean, but if you want to get out of homelessness, you cannot hang out with the "lifers," as those who have been homeless for more than five years are called. They have a hopelessness that is difficult to escape.

Do something daily. Homeless shelters still run under the outdated idea that people should be outside for 8 or more hours a day. They rise as early as 5 a.m. to hit the street. If that is the case, make sure you have something to do, such as going to school, job hunting, job training or anything else to engage the mind. This will help with the fear and feelings of hopelessness that you might be tempted to surrender to. It also helps you stay connected with the world.

Get outside support. One of the hardest things about homelessness is the feeling that you are alone and may never get out of it. By having a support system outside the homeless shelter, you stand a better chance of making it out with your mental faculties in place. Outside support means someone you can be honest with.

Maintain your hygiene. One of the first signs that homelessness has got the better of you is when you stop bathing and stop wearing clean clothes. If you do this, people will treat you like you are homeless, and that is the last thing that you need.

Look for work. Freshen up your resume and volunteer until something comes through. The point is not to think someone owes you something.

Don't tell others your business. Homeless people can become very jealous of those who are trying to get ahead.

Maintain your dignity. How you do it will largely depend on the values you hold. If you keep your values and don't give in, you will walk through homelessness with your head held high.

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