Survival Guide to Homelessness

No matter where you go, there you are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Advantages of Homelessness

You'd be surprised how many advantages there are to a homeless lifestyle. While there is an aspect of difficulty and hardship, there is also an element of easy living. I was made homeless by circumstances, but I stayed homeless by choice.

Imagine working two weeks to pay for your expenses for two months. You can easily go to college with an income requirement so low. My expenses, excluding food, averaged $300 per month for the five years I was homeless. That included storage, mailbox, telephone or pager, gasoline, vehicle insurance, health club membership, dry cleaning, laundry, new clothes, and entertainment. I went to the movies a lot. Imagine what you could do with the time if your work week was two days and your weekend was five.

I went to museums, libraries, volunteered, went to concerts, went to college, watched trials at the local courthouse, spent time with friends, played chess, practiced yoga, read, went to movies, and spent time just thinking.

The freedom is awesome. It is also somewhat daunting. It is hard to be prepared for so much time on your hands. In a strange way I felt a kinship with prisoners. The time can draw out and overwhelm you, so don't be surprised by this experience. Depression can sometimes attend this amazing freedom. In the end, the freedom to do as you please is addictive.

There are advantages to homelessness. You are no longer slave to a wage.

84 Comments:

At 5:11 AM, Blogger ben said...

Nice blog man! This is some great reading. I did the homeless thing, but only for 3 months, as an experiment - could have used the book you talk about writing :). Then I moved onto a boat... sustainable homeless is what we liked to call it. :)

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger Marke said...

I agree with ben. This is all really great info! I'm so glad to have run across you ... and so early in the game, too! It looks like you just started writing this blog earlier this month.

BTW, there's a great book out there about living homeless in your car. You may know of it. Car Living Your Way by A.J. Heim. She has a whole website dedicated to the subject. http://www.carliving.com. More good stuff.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Thank you for the link. CarLiving.com does look like a promising source of advice and ideas.

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger MikeP said...

Interesting reading--thanks!

How did you get car insurance without a street address? Also, does the use of a PMB cause you more problems now that address validation is becoming more common through databases (e.g. Finalist, USPS website)?

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Car insurance companies are interested in where the car is parked, not in where you live. Tell them where it is most often parked. I didn't have any problem with insurance.

Address verification is not often practiced. When the fact that you are using a PMB is exposed, the worst that will happen is you don't get what you want. You're playing the percentages here. If one person gives you a hassle, move on. You will find someone who is not so diligent.

 
At 8:38 PM, Blogger MikeP said...

Thanks--glad to hear that car insurance hasn't been a problem. I look forward to reading more!

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger TajiSnipe said...

When I was in college one year my apartment lease ran out two weeks before the next place I was going to live was available. Curiously enough this caused me no stress at all. I already knew that all of my belongings would fit inside my car (97 Ford Escort) and I was looking forward to the experience once I made the decision. I was working at Wal-Mart part-time and even though I had offers to stay at friends' places I had decided this was something I wanted to try out. Over all this experience was absolutely wonderful. It was completely different having to occupy every moment of my day because I had nowhere I could just go to. I read a lot around the college campus and I swam a lot at apartment complex pools which allieviated my bathing needs. Often times I would buy dinner supplies and go to friends' places and cook myself and them dinner. I'd park in apartment complexes and ran into no problems at all. And to tell you the truth I really didn't find one single negative aspect for my short-term stint in my car. But everyone I talked to seemed to think I was crazy. No one had the slightest understanding why I wanted to do this. And to this day 2 years later my Mother still refers to the time in my life as something utterly horrible. I must say I found this site as a surprise, for I had no idea there were a plethora of people who lived in their cars. I can't say I'd want to stay in a small car long-term, but I do think I'd rather enjoy living in a van I personally customized. It's something I've been rolling over in my mind since that experience.

I love your blog and I really enjoy your writing. I look forward to buying your book if you ever publish it. One idea is a section on cheap food recipes. I've found making a box of $0.79 flavored rice and then adding a can of $0.50 pork and beans made a delicious and nutritious three meals for me. I mostly lived off of that and fresh fruit.

I would say some short period of homelessness would be a good experience for anyone.

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Woolfey said...

I have to agree with everything I have read on this part of the blog... There is great freedom... People do Not understand what you are doing... Everyone should try this... My landlord at the last place I lived decided that the money he was getting from me was about half of what he could get for the place... So he got an Equity loan hired some shady contractors who took him to the cleaners and kicked out two paying tenants... Two families actually.. My wife and I made arrangements for our youngest son who has adopted the Gypsy lifestyle himself off and on, since he graduated High school, without a car.. our older son made arrangements to go to school and live conventionally... My daughter made her own way with HER daughter and my wife and I became "Full time RV dwellers" we bought the cheapest RV at a big RV place in December. 495.00 for a 29 footer with a working furnace.. and started using driveways and any other deal we could swing ... our main reason was most landlords refusal to deal with tenants with pets... and we have a small dog who is as much our family as our kids.. again... most folks want to think you are living some horrible lifestyle... We are less happy this winter living with relatives in a house... But we are able to help out someone who had previously not wanted our help so it works out... All the time is a great responsibility... I find myself committing to way more than I can do... trying to stay occupied... When one of our vehicles is sick it makes me crazy .. specially in the winter... But I am looking forward to becoming mobile again in the Spring...

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger ChrisandTerrie said...

I love this site:) I stumbled upon it today googling homelessness as a choice. glad to see we are not alone here, as i have never been truly without a place to live, even temporarily, and have made the decision along with my husband to go on an extended "camping trip."
This what I told my family, who would be mortified. by the way if they knew what we were really up to... we see this as a means to relocate and start a new life somewhere else, from the ground up.

I really believe that this experience will create more depth and meaning to our marriage, and grow us both personally as well as spiritualy. I believe that this time will show us so much about who we are, and what we want, individually and together, that this is essential, and well worth the difficulties and trials will will undoubtably face. We will face them head on, as near as we are able, and learn the ways of overcomers..I hate to sound so idealistic and perhaps overly optimistic nut I am just looking forward to a change, and hopefully a big one:)
I look forward to reading more as you all post more, I will have the library for internet service. Peace Out for now.....

 
At 5:43 PM, Blogger mcgyver said...

Your blog made me think about freedom from work a lot.

Glad to know that you didn't had problems with car insurance.

I'm always fond of having the freedom to do whatever is that you want to do and not bound by work. The only problem is the lifestyle adjustment. Specially if you have a child.

I'm trying to apply some of kiyosaki's financial intelligence ideas and hopefully, with finances out of the way, I can live life to the fullest.

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger RVLady said...

I have been homeless for a year. First we lived in the Mountions at Oak Flats my son works at Six Flags we were kicked out after goving over 2 weeks if we had a tent we might not have been kicked out. for the the last year we lived in an office my husband works as a programer in Van Nuys My son was in his last year of high school in special ed. I a work with parent other parents in special Education. I was my mother caregiver on weekend but got but got replaced. She gave me money for rent but her church care and my bother took away her check book
Rena the church caregiver thinks I should not ask for money from my mother as it is not christian. We get help from the churches in VanNuys, We are buying an RV I do not know any RV homeless.The the live in caregiver thinks we should live in an RV park. I do not talk to my family since my bother replaced me, they would not let my mother go to her youngest grandson son graduation.

 
At 6:50 AM, Anonymous jenn said...

wow! great blog. i'm glad i stumbled upon it. life is definitely a struggle...but what an adventure!

 
At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Owen said...

I completely understand and agree with were you're coming from man, I'm not homeless, but I've been unemployed for 8 months, and I get exactly how the freedom can be suffocating. I don't live in a large city either, so the amount of time I spent just thinking was astronomic. I'm only 18, and I have a job now, be it underpaid and unreliable, but I think I'm less happy than I was when I was unemployed. You're right, the freedom is addictive.

 
At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your blog. About 3 years ago, I was homeless. At the time, I was working at Papa John's. When I wasn't working, I would hang out at the library, the college library, walk, visit parks and friends, hang out at a bagel/coffee shop, sleep in my car. Actually, it was enjoyable. When you're homeless, you kind of own the world in a way because you can live wherever you want. I slept in nice neighborhoods under big trees with the windows down. It was fun. I would visit this deco-restored hotel that had a fancy bar and slip into the pool at around 1am in the morning after work, in order to clean off. It made me realize that I don't need to be encumbered by material possessions or anchored by furniture and decorations, tiny nightmares looking for a home, nor did I need to continue walking the treadmill of buying things I don't need to compete with people I don't even know. About a year ago, I purchased a '76 camper van and plan, after I get some more money to fix it up and get it running partially off of water, to live in it. Then, I'll dumpster dive, finish the musical I'm writing, play piano at churches and on the streets, and live in my van, wherever I want. Woo-hoo! God Bless!

Kris Kemp

 
At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After escaping domestic abuse, I was homeless with two young children. My advise--do not seek shelter with friends or family! It is better to be homeless or in a shelter.

You are safer being on the streets than facing abuse at home. It is important that your abuser does not find you so don't go anywhere familiar, places you used to frequent or places that you may have mentioned in conversation.

Being homeless is also an opportunity to start your life over. Seek help if you need. Get an Order for Protection if you need. Do not bargain or make deals in court with an abuser. Any deal means you will get screwed. In many cases, an OFP will get you a domestic violence waiver on your welfare/MFIP--putting a stop to the length of your benefits.

If you want housing your best chance of getting help is being homeless. The system does not work to actually "help" people--you have to make the system work for you. If you are homeless, living in a shelter, living in a place not meant for habitation you will be much more likely to get into housing programs or get housing vouchers. Go to the library or community resources, use the computer to apply to as many agencies as you can (most have waiting lists).

This is a great resource. I enjoy hearing from all of you.

God Bless ~ Lyren

shadowwings.wordpress.com

 
At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya'll have helped me so much.I am a home owner that has always been enticed by a mobile lifestyle.I have grown to hate all the material stuff around me and have most of it in the basement.I live in an urban area and have done some van camping in the city.maintaining an e-mail address and phone is not a problem.I would love some tips because my situation is rapidly becoming homeless.

 
At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GO HOBOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 9:42 PM, Blogger Debra said...

I live in Portland, OR. I had a successful biz until the economy fell in 2001. I share custody of my two children with my wonderful-but-well-off-who-doesn't-understand-ex-husband. He (and girlfriend who just got a huge inheritence) think "Just work harder. You're not working hard enough."
Anyway, my beautiful current husband is a truck driver. No one works harder than him. Truck drivers here locally make what they made in the '70s (my hubby's checks and his coworkers' are what my dad's were then). Every day here is a dire emergency for us. The typical water bill for here is $300. The typical electric bill in our damp and cool summer is $125. Imagine the winter. We burn what we can. Food is three times as expensive here as it is in most other states (I've been around with my husband in his truck when he was long haul so I know). There is no middle class anymore. We're now working poor and scared to death. What kills us is the media says "Oh. Portland's economy is thriving." When I talk to bill collecters they say "We hear Portland is doing great." It's great if you're from old money or have come here from California.
Anyway, sorry for the rambling. I am happy to have found this blog. Actually, someone directed me to it (Thank you, Clarissa!) because although I'm not homeless now I can see it coming. I don't want to lose my children, but I think w/in three years it will happen. They'll have to live with their father. We can't live on $400/wk in this city (yes, I'm trying to re-establish my business...no, I won't register it...I refuse to pay taxes).
When this loss undoubtedly will happen I will get rid of everything and go on the road with hubby. I love my children so much but live for the day when I can quit wondering how to pay the car insurance, electric, phone. Portland used to be so cool, but it is now run by greedy pigs. I'm so tired.
Our rent is $1,025, which is cheap for a house here. No, forget apartments: move-in fees are HUGE, and now all the apartment buildings are being turned into condos and the tenants are being kicked out.
Okay, enough out of me. I'm not homeless, but I will be soon because things are on a downward spiral here if you're not already rich or if you're a business owner who can't afford to grease palms.

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am homeless with two kids. I can understand being just Adult with no kids. I have thought about a camper. I can relate to lots that I have read in here. My question is to Lyren or anyone else that has a compliment. What did you do after leaving? I have family but, they are last people I can count on. I was married for 20 yrs. towards end of marriage it became very abusive. I mean bloody abusive. Me and my two boys lives out of my car. We have parked at parks and many places to sleep. How do you get help? What places do I go? I have been all over. Took one place almost a month to get started in a food stamp program.

Thanks,
Tina

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello-
I too stumbled upon this site while searching for more info on leaving the world of outrageous rent and utilities. I'm looking at entering the sustainable homeless realm with a small motorhome.
Thanks for being here and lots of luck to everyone.
Check out this sites:
earthclassmail.com

 
At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was homeless a few years ago, I came across a person who CHOSE to be homeless.I thought I'd never come across someone like that(especially in Michigan in the winter-time) He used to be a big-wig for a local company but after TWO heart attacks and a perferated ulcer (by the age of 35)he decided to quit the "rat race". 10 years later and he couldn't be happier...I guess there ARE advantages to homelessness...

 
At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you still actively blogging? I found your blog when looking for references to "live in your car". I had a live-in-car experience for about 6 months. I also noted your constitutional references.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

The blog is mostly dormant. I monitor comments, but that is about it. About once a year I get an itch to write something, but I have changed my lifestyle toward mainstream, a wife, a couple of kids, a full time job, sales on the side, and I haven't got much time. I work in a couple of entertainments, play some chess, pirate a dvd so that I don't have to be bothered with FBI warnings and stupid commercials, and hit the sack at 9pm most nights.

There are a lot of people who give me a hard time about that, but I wrote most of what I have to say down. The rest of what I want to talk about is political, and it doesn't seem to fit with the social and pragmatic advice I've given here. If I can figure out how to marry the topics, I will start blogging again.

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger Dotchi said...

We too lived in an RV for a time. Now we live on a boat. But I was thinking of starting a non-profit organization for homeless women with children (like my friend) where we buy RV's for cheap and give them to them. So I researched RV for homeless and found this site (on the first page of the search near the top!) You inspired me. I am not sure how I am going to do it... but I am going to do!

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous henry said...

Great site. Living in my car in San Diego. I would love to do this forever but have a son to support. May do anyway. Thanks
Henry

 
At 6:18 AM, Anonymous lauren stephens said...

hey my name is lauren and i have two boys (9 and 13). since there are no dates on this post, ill date it by saying today is sunday, september 21st, 2008. for years i have wanted to get an rv and be a nomad. may be a dumb thing to do since i have two kids, but really - the world is turning to crap - like you say, all the materialism. what are my kids learning in school? mostly how to be a gangbanger wannabe (and we live in a nice place with a GREAT school!) - they have also picked up quite the vocabulary as well. i just went thru a bankruptcy because of my business and im paying $925 a month for rent and the utilities here are horrific for me (like $500 a month). im making less than $2,000 per month, actually, quite a bit less. what would be better than traveling the country and teaching the kids that there are GOOD things in life! has anyone here done this successfully? certainly i can get a good RV cheaper than what im paying for rent here. now i can go see my family (florida and california) and see the grand canyon. i am not stuck on being here. i have my own internet business (no im not getting rich but im suriving). you guys can email me if you want to info@laurenstephens.com and good luck to all! i wish the author WOULD post some political stuff (at least make a separate category for it ot something!)

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger David Haverty said...

NOV 18th-2008, Currently Homeless again living in my car in Hollywood CA... living the dream. Moved out here 2 years ago married... got separated over a year ago and moved into a van I bought off craigslist for the intention of living. I prepared for 3 weeks to move into my van. I got a lantern, cooler, ymca membership ($15 a month), UPS Mail box (looks like an actual address so I don't get questioned about it) a storage unit for my crap...which I intended to only have for a little while with a couch and stuff when I get an apartment (the storage has been full for over a year now...I don't think I will need that much space now...gotta throw out the big stuff and downgrade my unit.) I don't have the van right now because it is not registered anymore. So I am in my car and my van is stored at my night job. I have two jobs and I work on my indie films on the weekend. I can pay for all my past due bills and help support my girlfriend that is out of town working on her demo with her band...I would not be able to go out as much as I do and I probably would not be in the gm as much as I am now because I live in my car... it's all for the best...I would like to get back in the van so I can stretch out...soon enough.

 
At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homeless and having a hard time cause I wont give up my dog. Any tips on being homeless with a dog?

 
At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homeless with dog. Will not give him up, no matter what. Living in car. I am afraid that they will try to take my dog away from me, put him in a shelter. ANy advice?

 
At 7:44 PM, Anonymous christina7maria said...

I'm 51 now, but when I was around twelve my family ended up homeless for awhile, living in a park. My mother was an alcoholic, and I don't remember how long we were at that park, but it was pretty awful. It was summer, but at night we had no blankets and the dew would chill us and I couldn't sleep. We used the bathroom at a nearby 24 hour laundromat, but no baths or showers. In spite of all that, I found myself a few years ago daydreaming about being homeless. The pressures of my job and screwed up relationships had me daydreaming of solace in a nomadic life. At the time I still had my last child to raise, so it was out of the question, but now she is grown, and the idea of dropping the fetters of a "homeful" life beckon. You'd think, after my past experience, it would be the one thing I'd be most afraid of, but having survived it, I have to say it has made me a lot less fearful than most people I've known. A home has never made me feel secure, and I can't keep up with the mortgage payments of the one I'm in now, anyway. Homes, apartments, have never protected me from the worst things that have happened to me. Sometimes, when things got to be too much, I'd leave and stay out all night in my car, and frankly, I felt safe there. I mentioned this to a couple of friends, who were horrified at the idea, and I learned to keep my mouth shut.
I stumbled across this site looking for ways to keep warm, inside or out. It is utterly fascinating, and you are obviously such an intelligent and resourceful person that what you write gives a whole new meaning to homelessness. Of course it can be awful, if it's not by choice, or especially if children are involved. It's not glamorous, but why shouldn't it be a legitimate lifestyle choice? I don't know if it ever will be in this country, because if you are homeless, then someone is not getting paid for the space you are taking up, and I think that is at the bottom of why our laws are so cruel to the homeless. You are not paying a mortgage, rent, utilities, property taxes, etc. How dare you escape without being picked clean? That is one of the biggest sins in our country, not being available to have money made off of you!

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

January 2009: A big advantage to being homeless is not having to deal with landlords or nasty neighbors whether in an apartment or a single family resident.

I recently became semi homeless because I could no longer afford the $1400 a month for a two bedroom apartment on a very noisy street. The four years I lived there was a constant nightmare of dealing with lowlife neighbors that did not care about others quiet enjoyment. I had neighbors guest park motorcycles in front of my private stairway completely blocking my access. Loud parties, stealing assigned parking spaces on one instance almost led to a fist fight. Lucky for me the neighbor backed down or I might have a jail cell to call home. The police were worthless and contributed to the problem by telling the neighbors who had complained against them. The owner would talk to some of these lowlifes but did not have the balls to make anything stick. He did finally throw out a couple of tenants. These are not isolated experiences; anyone that rents whether it be a house or apartment knows all the issues you can have with the neighbors.

Then there is the landlord and all the issues with trying to get them to make repairs and trying to get them to return your security deposit when you move. I always leave the place cleaner than when I moved in and have had to sue 3 out of four of the past landlords for my security deposit. That can add up to a lot of money if the security deposit equals the rent.

I am semi homeless because I have moved into my warehouse. I do not have a restroom in the unit or running water but I do have a full size fridge and a microwave. Initially it was difficult to get used to, but I am saving $45 per day, and recently took my first vacation in seven years with that money. I will probably squat here until I can pay off all my credit card debt. I am saving over $16000 per year by not renting an apartment. I probably will never return to renting, it is unbelievably quiet at my warehouse even during business hours.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Good luck to you. I think you will eventually find that you will have trouble with the neighbors even while homeless, and the police are never likely to take your side, but I will let you discover that at your leisure. I am however concerned at your general level of intolerance of inconvenience. Houselessness requires a level of social flexibility that your comment does not display. Don't get in any fights you can avoid. The fights will cost you more than the victory might obtain.

 
At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God-sent blog!

I am a disabled homeless individual with a lot of talents. I'm trying to figure out how to 'adopt' my '87 Dodge van for a temporary ('til I find a bigger unit/or cheap motorhome) abode.

I live in 'The City of Angels' (Los Angeles?) where the homeless rate is 500% (5 times) the national average.

I'd like to help other homeless individuals in similar situations (City of Angels area) modify their vans for temporary living quarters.

I am a former mechanic, bodyman and fiberglass component design and fabrication specialist.

I'm presently 'trying to get out of social security' by 'monotizing' my website: 007MakeMoney.com

I plan to adopt a Mercedes Benz diesel engine to my van to run on used cooking oil. I'm also working on a 'cooking oil' space/water hearter, a hydrogen generator to help in more complete fuel burning for my future diesel engine.

Anyone in the City of Angels area can contact me to form a self-hepl homeless club/group/association (??).

God Bless ALL!

 
At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

02.27.2009 - you all have inspired me...i too long for the freedom and liberation of a homeless lifestyle...i feel like a slave to my job which i hate with a burning passion because it's so stressful and demanding...i look forward to the relief of having no responsibilites or obligations or bills...take care everyone.

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I'm not entirely sure it's a good thing that I am inspiring people to be homeless. I wonder if I am like the pro-anorexia bloggers that are promoting self destruction and calling it something different. I don't mean to romanticize homelessness. It is a rough road, often brutal, often dangerous. It's just that like any lifestyle, it does have a few perks.

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger Cinamingrl said...

You know what?! the happiest most productive time in my life (okay the 2nd happiest time), was the 8 months I spent in a women's homeless shelter. I saved saved saved while living there. And I still go back there. I loved it and I loved the staff. I volunteer there now. Seriously, if i had not been homeless, I'd never have met these wonderful people. I often say that I wish I could still live there. But I now have a cat. And an apartment.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous dan said...

Wow, very eye opening indeed. I was homeless in 89 for 8 months, rejoined the army to get out of it.20 years later, im on the brink of being homeless again. Ive actually been on the brink on and off for those 2 decades.Now I'm looking at a new perspective to positively live it if thats the case.Thank you.

 
At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to become "pseudo homeless." I lost my job 8 months ago. I currently live in San Diego, CA and I'm a full time student. I'm staying with a friend and trying to find a job that goes with my schedule is not working and trying to find an apt. I don't want to be in the rat race I camped out in a tent in a backyard LA for about 4 months and liked it. Any advice for RV parking and living? I don't want to have to move everyday or two.

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work for keeping an open mind for those who are willing to take the plunge-so to speek-and try to live life as best as circumstances dictate.Has anyone heard or read of A.J.Heim's latest offerings?

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Come on, now. If you are going to boost another author on my blog, at least tell us something about what he has to say.

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger MikeG said...

Mike here...
a little background on me... I have been homeless/rubber tramp for the last 20 years. Yes, by choice. I don't have the money to buy my own land and probably won't ever. I always worked, day labor or regular jobs, and am having a hard time finding work with such a scattered work history. So here I am.
For the last year I have been living in subsidized housing for the chronically homeless, in Salt Lake City, the rent is cheap,30% of paycheck- or 25 bucks if unemployed.

After reading the blog from all of you today... I really miss being on the streets, or in my car. Sure times were tough sometimes, and I didn't have a lot of things, but I was way more happier than I've been living here at an institutional type place where I have a caseworker and off-duty police at the front desk everyday and night. I can't have friends just come over, they have to first bring their I.D.s, so the cops can check them out. Then if its ok, they can come the next day to my apt.
I long for the freedom to go where,when,how I want. This might not go over well with some of you... but as a whole...people suck in the corporate world. If I could find a place,preferably in the mountains, to live a communal life or just live off of the land, I would. I guess what I'm trying to say is,,, whatever you have, be a backpack, house, car, and its all yours, not the banks, keep it, cherish it, work it, a man's castle is his own hassle. Thank you for all you've written and good luck to you all.

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger Chris Camera said...

In response to your little article regarding the benefits of homelessness, I MUST express my disapproval and extreme disagreement on such a sensitive topic. First of all, you were living out of your vehicle which does NOT truly define what it means to really be homeless. You had clothes, entertainment, money, phones and other luxuries that most true homeless people do not have. I think you should try having no place to sleep during the cold month of March in N.Y., getting caught in a downpour as you sleep hungry in an open field and not having two nickels to rub together to dry that one pair of pants and socks that stick to your cold and hopeless body. That's what happened to me, and I am not prepared in any shape or form to glamorize such a dark and frightening experience of my life. I am very confident that if you truly experienced the topic that you chose to write about, the words you would have chosen to describe the experience would be highlighted by fear, depression, hopelessness and pain. This topic is a very sensitive one for me to discuss and it certainly angers me to hear such positivity described to something you truly have no experience on. Perhaps you may consider changing the title to "The Advantages Of Living Out Of Your Car!" That title would much better suit your experience and may offer some understanding to the true experience of homelessness.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Chris Camera, your anger at me is misplaced. I didn't start my homelessness stints with every advantage. I built a lifestyle out of homelessness, and made it a viable one with advantages, a trick I am trying to teach people in this series of essays. I was a teenage runaway, abused by police, criminals, and public. I was an adult homeless man, destitute and hungry. I didn't allow my circumstances to remain desperate any longer than I had to.

As for New York in winter, you are right, I do not know that hardship. I knew hardships of my own.

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger plalone12 said...

well let me try to tell you a little about being homeless well i was a rail tramp and it has been a hell of a time for 10 years i was homeless it all started when my wife killed her self and my son i dont want talk to much about it so i will just kind of skip it it all started in washington state i worked on the crabboats in alaska out of duchhabor i was a macanic on the boats for years and i got a call to come home there was a axedent well when i got there i lost my mind i left every thing and jumped on the first train i seen in the rail yard now keep in mind i dont drink or do drugs so i could not turn to the bottle well the next thing i new i was in yuma AZ i camped there for a bout a year and then the cops kind of toled me to get out well in some ways to get out i gess beeting me till i could just crall is one way of telling some one to go so i went to the reservashon on the caley side of the river and stayed there for a bit till the res cops found out that homeless people make ok money panhandling so after i could not pay thay beet me and put me on a train and when i woke up i was some where between yuma and tuson AZ but one problum the train was stoped in the desaert i had know foor or water at leas they could have put watter on the train with me but well hot and hungry i started walking down the tracks to talk to the workers well thay had water thay gave me but know food so off i went walking latter that night just about day light i foud a deer that must have been hit bye a train it still looked fresh so i had a little knife and started to fut what i thought was good meet and cooked it up it was ok and i dryed some for latter so after piging out i started walking latter that night and not to fare down the tracks i saw a train so i walked till i got to the workers and just asked them if thay could help you know all you have to do is ask and most of the itme thay will cool right just dont brake in there cargo and thay are ok with it if you think NY is bad in the winter tye the desert in summer time it sucks well i ended up in tuson AZ well that was ok till i ment a bull named (rail road cop) fast fredey and his dog well after he beet on me for a bit he let his dog have a go at me and back on the train i went he put me on there so nice NOT he is a ass just stay out of that yard well i ended up in elpaso TX i was there for about 4 +years it was nice then i worked my way to NY bad move on my part you know i think i am a good size guy but as soon as i got off the train got worked over agen when i woke up i was in syracuse NY that is upstate NY in the hospitle with a broke back and i lost my right eye to so well i started getting better a DR got me a apt for now but it wont last i am geting better but i will not worke agen he seid so i am trying to get disbiltey and if you can beleve this thay denyed me so i am going to have to fight so any way just wanted to tell some of my storey if any one knows any place or purson that can help me get a moterhome just let me know i might get on and tell more of my story latter if any one know where to get help for the moterhome part you can right me at plalone12@yahoo.com thanks for the time Paul just a guy with some bad luck.

 
At 8:31 AM, Anonymous hiddenvoices said...

Our current Hidden Voices project is Home Is Not One Story. We're working with folks to create an audio doc, as well as an exhibit and performance by folks telling their stories about home and homelessness. We have foster youth, women escaping family violence, returning vets, refugees, families and individuals in shelters, former inmates, and others around NC. If you're interested in sharing your story with a wider audience, we'd like to work toward that. No names necessary. If you happen to be in the state, let us know. We want as broad a picture of home and homelessness as possible. It isn't one story, though most people think so. You can reach us at infoathiddenvoicesdotorg. Thanks!

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Mary Kat said...

I was homeless at 18 on the Canadian border...so I know about homelessness up north. Really, I find it to be a matter of perspective--like anything. If I choose to look at that time period as a miserable and terrifying experience then that is what it was. But I choose to look at it as a time period where I learned about self-sufficiency, the benefits of struggle, the meaning of community and the spiritual nature of independence. Being outside of the "machine" that is our culture taught me invaluable lessons that apply to my existence now, as a person with a house. I believe that I am never "homeless", only "houseless". I have only gratitude for those experiences.

 
At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am, by societal and statistical definitions, "fortunate". I am educated, male, white, housed, and have a steady income. Still, I see a great deal of wisdom in this blog and in the comments posted. Our media, educational institutions, parents, and even often our religious backgrounds create within us a perceived moral imperative to consume and put a certain degree of wealth into evidence. While "sleeping on the sidewalk in winter" homelessness is definitely to be avoided, I see a great value in this blog telling people that living in a cheap RV on the street or parked on a cheap rural lot is absolutely OK. The advice regarding health club memberships, cell phones, car insurance, privacy (lying), staying warm, etc is not really about "how to be homeless" as much as it's really about how to get out from under the thumb of those forces which perversely influence our behavior toward needless consumption and exhibition of wealth. It is this behavior that really enslaves us. That might sound like a strong word..."enslaves"...but what else would you call it when someone works 40+ hours a week at a job they hate so they can be exhausted when they go home and they still have nothing to show for it financially at the end of the month. I, for one, have great admiration for those willing to jump off the treadmill. They are rebelling against a corrupt society by not playing the game and I salute them for it! Maybe someday I will have the courage to do it myself.

 
At 5:26 PM, Blogger Spell Bound said...

I am 24, and I've only recently started living in my car because frankly, there's nowhere else to go. It's cold as hell at night, but I've learned to make due and I count on the fact that eventually, it WILL get warmer.
Aside from the circumstances that put me in this situation, this whole thing has been... almost a relief. I don't have anything to worry about right now except keeping gas in the tank and making sure I've parked somewhere safe for the night.
I've found this... enlightening. I never really considered this a lifestyle, but a punishment. Rethinking the label makes a difference.
I don't feel quite so dismal about my situation.
Thank you.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I'm very glad to hear that you're thinking in a more positive way now. You don't have to accept the judgments of others. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

 
At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Kellen said...

Finally, someone addresses the advantages of homelessness and suggests the possibility that some members of the homeless community might actually prefer homelessness. How refreshingly honest.

I wish social services programs would consider this possibility and organize programs and services to help people who prefer homelessness live safer lives and have valuable services they need instead trying to push everyone into affordable housing.

I once worked with an artist who had schizophrenia. Because of his illness he could not tolerate public housing. Because of his art he could not tolerate the medications. His life was actually fuller being homeless. If you want to read the entire story you can see it at: http://www.kellevision.com/kellevision/2009/03/the-artistic-schizophrenic.html

At the time of his homelessness we had a Drop In Center where people could use a phone, take a hot shower in safety and privacy, fix a bite to eat in the kitchen, pick up or leave messages with other people. It was a great program, so naturally they cut it!

Thanks for the alternative viewpoint.

 
At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

$300 per month? Thats NOT homeless mate! I mean yeah sure, you dont have a "HOME" but try being homeless with $0 and see if it as fun as you say

 
At 7:45 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Well, I have been homeless with nothing, but nothing does not make a sustainable lifestyle. We are material beings. Most of us, to keep the body alive, will have to find a means of gathering material things. The most natural method of doing that, in this world, is by finding a means of acquiring currency. Please see my article on employment, or my message to teens, or even my introduction to this project, for more on this subject.

Homelessness does not equal moneylessness, although poverty does often accompany the lack of shelter. Most people in the United States would consider it impossible to live on an annual income of under $4000. I'm sorry my figures offend you.

 
At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was homeless for a year and a half, I am a woman and I had a dog, a pit bull which was part of the reason I was homeless,He was my baby and a lot of places wont take pits, not all pits are vicious and before you even think of responding with get rid of the dog,forget it ,It was my choice and you are not an animal lover and you will never understand, I dont recomend the lifestyle if you can avoid it!, But ut as a woman a dog can keep you safe from the low lifes that stalk the homeless and they are out there from every walk of life. Dogs are good company and can keep you busy, the down side is you cant leave your dog in your car and a lot of places and people who dont allow dogs, I had some good times and some bad times, I hooked up with a few people who were also homeless and I could trust, and had dogs I did have a car . We used to park overnight in park n rides, I remember watching this guy , he was young get up every morning and go to the local fast food establishment where he worked then come back to his car I dont know what he did inbetween work and bedtime he was a loner and never really talked to us just hi and bye, but I had to give him credit , its hard to get unhomeless , Maintaining a job isnt easy when your on the streets and employers arent to comfortable knowing your on the streets. For some reasons alot of people still think the homeless are that way because they are lazy ,drug addicts or criminals, If your one of those just thank your lucky stars you never end up in that situation and not that your better your just lucky,I had help getting off the streets and I dont know how I would have if not for them, Its hard especially if you dont know your future .To the people who chose to go homeless for a few months you most likley had an alternative in case something went wrong, imagine not having that and no idea how to change it, sorry to be so doom and gloom but thats the facts as I lived it, I was lucky I got off the streets some never do!

 
At 8:17 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

I have been homeless for most of my life, it just took time to realize it.I was raised by a teenage mother who found welfare and decided to stay on it until she was no longer eligible due to my age. My formative years were spent in housing projects or where ever they are willing to accept a housing voucher. It left a definite impression on me and I promised myself to never have kids I could not support. Then I had the stroke. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine I am now considered an invalid by most employers and a leper by others. My meager check from SSA will not pay the rent and my applications for low income housing is just that- an application and nothing more.It seems that I will be always homeless.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Gina said...

Date: Aug. 20, 2010.

I am 60 years old. My husband got laid off from his job of 26 years about 14 months ago, and we lost our home to foreclosure. (We lived in Georgia, the fastest state for foreclosure in the world.) We have been married 32 years. We raised three children, put two through college, and still have one 15 year old with us at this time. We own 9 dogs (we showed them at AKC dog shows all over the country.)

My husband bought a piece of land out in the boonies that was on a stream for $16,000, the money he got when he was laid off. We already owned a 33 foot Holiday Rambler camper with a slide out livingroom that we used for dog shows, so we put the camper on the land, dug a septic tank for it, got a temporary electric pole, and made a "water ram" in the stream to pump water up for washing clothes, bathing, and toilet flushing. I buy drinking water from Kroger. We have the dogs with us inside the RV. They are under 7 pounds each, so we keep them in ex-pens, and pet crates. The boys wear Pampers, to keep them from hiking their legs on the carpet, bedding and furniture. The girls are easier to train, and are let outside in ex-pens three times a day to releive themselves. So far there have been no accidents. I keep a 6 x 14 foot of lineoleum where the dogs run, and mop it down once a day with a solution of bleach and water. The dogs are bathed twice a week, and coats are groomed daily, which helps keep odors to a minimum in the rig.

We lost a very nice middle class home in an executive neighborhood, but I don't miss it!... I lived there for 20 years and hardly spoke to any of my neighbors in all that time. Everyone was too busy working to be friends, I guess.

All my furniture is in storage (two 20x40 units) I am planing on selling most of it at the local flea market this fall. We also plan to build a rammed earth home in the next two years and have already excavated the area for the house slab. We NEVER want a mortgage again, so we looked at alternative "do it yourself" homes, and rammed earth was our choice (18 inch thick walls will certainly cut down on utilities, and the earth is free.) There are lots of people with rammed earth experience online.

Husband got new job last month, and is making more money than the old job...However, we still don't want to join back with the mainstream as you never know how long jobs will last....I have come to realize that living the "mainstream" lifestyle has it's consequences....It steals our freedom from us, and keeps us addicted to "stuff." Currently, I have never felt so relaxed in all my grown up years, and I don't miss my old life or have a yerning to go back to it any time soon.

 
At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Date: Aug. 20, 2010.
I am 60 yrs old. My husband got laid off from his job of 26 yrs as electronic engineer about 14 mths ago, & we lost our home to foreclosure. (We lived in Georgia, the fastest state for foreclosure in the world.) We have been married 32 yrs. We raised three children, put two through college, & still have one 15 yr old with us at this time. We own 9 dogs (we showed them at AKC dog shows all over the country.)
My husband bought a piece of land out in the boonies that was on a stream for $16 thousand, the money he got when he was laid off.

 
At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We already owned a 33 foot Holiday Rambler camper with a slide out livingroom that we used for dog shows, so we put the camper on the land, dug a septic tank for it, got a temporary electric pole, & made a "water ram" in the stream to pump water up for washing clothes, bathing, & toilet flushing. I buy drinking water from Kroger. We have the dogs with us inside the RV. They are under 7 pounds each, so we keep them in ex-pens, & pet crates. The boys wear Pampers, to keep them from hiking their legs on the carpet, bedding and furniture. The girls are easier to train, & are let outside in ex-pens three times a day to go potty. So far there have been no accidents. I keep 6x14 sq foot of vinyl flooring where the dogs run, & mop it down once a day with a solution of bleach & water. The dogs are bathed twice a week, & coats are groomed daily, which helps keep odors to a minimum in the rig.

We lost a very nice middle class home in an executive neighborhood, but I don't miss it. I lived there for 20 yrs & hardly spoke to any of my neighbors. Everyone was too busy working to be friends, I guess.

All my furniture is in storage (two 20x40 units) I am planing on selling most of it at the local flea market. We also plan to build a rammed earth home in the next two yrs & have already excavated the area for the house slab. We NEVER want a mortgage again, so we looked at alternative "do it yourself" homes, and rammed earth was our choice (18 inch thick walls will certainly cut down on utilities, & the earth is free.) There are lots of people with rammed earth experience online.

Husband got new job last month, & is making more money than the old job However, we still don't want to join back with the mainstream as you never know how long jobs will last. I have come to realize that living the "mainstream" lifestyle has it's consequences. It steals our freedom from us, & keeps us addicted to "stuff."

 
At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gina,the next time that you are the library,check out the article list for "Backwoods Home Magazine" on the net.You could find some ideas there.Good luck and take care.

 
At 3:05 AM, Blogger Ray said...

I liked reading this post and all the comments. I've been living out of RV's on and off since the late 90's.
I can appreciate the freedom of mind. I am an artist and the sort of outsider perspective frees creativity. It's the poverty that's killing me. I've gotten work for periods of time, and those are good times. But these Minnesota winters when I'm so sub poverty, it's very difficult. Lucky, my friend is saving my life right now, letting me sleep on the couch while it's deadly cold. But I'm looking to go back to the RV in Mach when it's 40 degrees or so during the days. If anyone can help me, I need to do some fixes to the rv to get it running. It's parked without a battery at an apartment complex right now. The complex owner wants me to move it ASAP. But I need to buy a battery and I have no clue where to go.. Anyhow, I have a blog called homeless artist survival journal, you can find via my name.. I haven't updated in a long time, because it never worked. It was kinda depressing (and a security risk) to keep telling people what I was doing if they weren't going to help me out anyway. But now I have to ask again. If anyone out there can help me buy a battery or has any spare bucks for food and laundry, please click my name and look for my Survival Journal. I have a paypal donation button there.
You can ignore the other blogs. They are just experiments to try to get adsence income. That never worked to well either... what DOES work well, is that I take amazing photographs if anyone needs a service like that. (I never know, maybe I can be the Ted Williams of Photography and some institution would fly me in to construct a photosynth for them.. good dream) But right now I just need a battery and to MOVE before the guy tows me and I loose EVERYTHING. Please help? research me and decide. I'm a good person that could be doing much better. Peace

 
At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this site.. gives great idea's that can help. I would like to know if anyone has internet jobs, those like work from home typing, billing, etc. That actually work (Please not the scams online). This would help the cash resources for living homeless. Please contact me for this type of info.. bandittoll@yahoo.com (Have my campervan and so close to being homeless)

 
At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in an rv is not homeless. It is just not living in a "regular" home or apartment. Living under a bridge, freezing to death, starving, not being able to brush one's teeth, and facing the police are actually more like it.

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Anonymous said Living in an rv is not homeless. It is just not living in a "regular" home or apartment. Living under a bridge, freezing to death, starving, not being able to brush one's teeth, and facing the police are actually more like it.

So, I guess you are saying that there is no way to make homelessness sustainable or survivable. You would prefer that homeless people live miserable, desperate, dirty, and brutal lives.

You'd like me to agree with and reinforce the stereotypes? Yes? Well, friend anonymous, you can forget it. I've spent years of my life homeless. I've many times found myself down to my last dollar without a plan or a friend or a roof to my name. Yet, here I am writing this guide, a guide of optimism about how to live well in the humblest of circumstances.

I'm terribly sorry you don't like it. Why don't you go read something else?

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger GregoryB said...

I really like the writing style of mobilehomemaker, but I am afraid I might upset him in a comment or email. He has a certain way of putting people in their place with his writing ability.

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

What you say, Gregory, is fair criticism. I write with more authority than is my due. I hope everyone who reads the blog takes their own counsel above mine or anyone else's. It is your life. Only you know how to best live it.

 
At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm homeless, in a 35 foot rv, but no one wants me to park a 30 year old rebuilt school bus. i fear the city will come after me, it.

 
At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous comment,have a look at the book *Travel trailer homesteading under $5000" by Brian Kelling.It has some good ideas in there that could be of some use to you or any one else in the same situation.Take care one and all.

 
At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of the info. I'm a middle aged woman looking at possibly becoming homeless next month. I have some fear but also a sense of adventure in making this work. I have my car, a gym membership and a job. The job unfortunately does not give me the finances needed to rent. I'm looking at a small storage unit to keep my extra belongs and clothes which will cost only about $25 a month. I really appreciate everyones helpful info, but I'm also nervous about living a lie and making all of my friends and family think that I'm living the good life in south florida, but actually sleeping in my car. I know I can make it work. I refuse to deplete all of my resources just to live up to other peoples standards. I know this will allow me to continue to pay off my lingering student loan and save some money for a better life down the road.
06/13/2011
Please keep posting everybody, It helps alot.
Namaste

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger heydawghey said...

I was never homeless but there were a few times after college where I was floating on credit cards(underemployed and only paying rent and credit card payments in cash, everything else on credit). Thankfully I had great credit at the time and high limits. I always thought about what would happen if I knew that I only had 6 months or a year before my credit cards ran out and I would have been homeless. I figured if I had to, I could pay for the things I would need way ahead of time and be ok. I would've done all car maintenance I could've, paid for a year or two on a storage unit to keep my stuff, paid for a 24 hour gym membership in the area. During this period where I was running on credit a lot, I was planning ahead by buying 100 or 50 dollar gift cards at the gas stations I used whenever I got gas, so in case I ran out of credit, I could afford gas for a few months or more. I also bought ahead on all clothes I needed. Luckily now I don't have to worry about being homeless, but it's good to know I have everything I need so even if I go underemployed again I don't have to worry, and I have a plan in case I become homeless.

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I've gotten some comment that really verge on pure grift. They're solid techniques that work, but they aren't sustainable, and they certainly aren't moral. While I have avoided making moral judgments in this guide, I really don't want to be detoured. This isn't a guide to stealing from corporations or casinos or credit cards or others. This is a guide to sustainable homelessness, a survival guide to do homelessness right. That doesn't include theft, or anything like theft.

My daddy didn't always teach me right from wrong, but when I was young he spotted me shoplifting a radio from a drugstore. Rather than bust me outright, he sat me down later and told me, "Son, you need to know something. They catch one hundred percent of thieves. People think they don't, because they get away with it over and over before they get caught, but they only have to catch you once to completely tear down your life."

He had a point.

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. I'm 51, have worked hard since I was 12 at physically demanding jobs. Got cleaned out in 2000 by a cheating wife in a divorce and custody battle. Been living with my elderly parents so I'd have the money to pay child supposrt. Been unemployed for 2 years, UE ran out, and I' being hounded by State Treasury, IRS, FOC, and UE office has questions about a claim. I'm in trouble not for what I did, but rather what I'm unable to do. I've not had medical care in over 12 years, knees are shot, hips are going, elbows hurt, shoulders pop more than Rce Krispies in milk, and I've got tumor that's sore to touch. I'm hitting the road to get the only thing I value anymore: Peace. 2 wool blankets, tarps, a tube tent, Kaadyne Combi water filter, knives, fishing gear, 12 MRE's, fire starters, Water containers, Hatchets, saw blades, breakdown .22 rifle and 1000 rounds, and some knowledge and experience. I'm going to the bush to get peace for my last days. My needs are simple and few, but I MUST get away from the artificial stresses in my life; I'll live in peace, till I die. My Choice.

 
At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im thinking about becoming homeless ill just hike everywhere im only 15 years old but im already a survival expert so i should be ok.

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just became homeless a few days ago. At first I was panicking, but then I stopped and thought about it. I have a job still, I can buy a tent and sleeping bag, and I will have more than enough for everything.

I'm acutally looking forward to this.

Goin' on an adventure.

 
At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My unemployment is about to run out and I will probably become homeless if I don't find work in the next few weeks.

I'm currently living in Orange County, California.

Where can I legally sleep outdoors? I would prefer a place that was out of the way - sleeping on a bus bench doesn't sound like much fun.

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Legally and homeless are a contradiction. I would encourage you to read more of this guide.

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger Goldenrod said...

People like me who own land but don't have enough income or savings to build a house on it could benefit from this site.

I'm building a truck camper for my pick up next spring then building a small camper trailer after saving up for the lumber, wiring, plumbing, and double-tandem trailer. It is good to have skills in home repair and maintenance when on a fixed or low income. My little camper will be small and have only what I need. Nothing fancy, but built to last a good long time.

I've lived in manufactured campers from 8' slide-ins to a 20 footer since late 1995. When Mom had her stroke last year, I moved in with her to take care of her. She's 92 and in failing health. Don't see her around much longer. Her house is severely falling off the foundation, full of termites (up into the walls), and needs tearing down. Will use it for a storage place after she's gone until I get rid of this stuff. Cutting the power and gas off to save some bucks.

Got rid of my old camper trailer. Feels strange living in a house again after living in campers for so long. Still sleeping in military surplus sleeping bags though.

Technically not homeless, just financially challenged. My income is definitely below poverty level at the moment and in this economy, it will be a miracle if I ever get back up to what I use to make before being laid off in 2008.

In my mid-fifties now and a woman living in Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union. Only jobs around here are minimum wage or not much better. But, it's an income. I'm grateful. Buy only what you think you need and save for tags, taxes and truck maintenance. Keeping my old 12 year old truck up and running is a big concern for me. It's the main reason why I save a part of my income each month.

This blog has some great ideas on how to live well on less so please keep giving out ideas whether homeless, couch surfing, or financially challenged.

I agree with the poisoning of materialism and what it does to the soul. After Mom passes, getting rid of a lot of old stuff and living lean for the rest of my life, God willing.

October 22, 2011 Jackson, MS

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I feel as though i may be on my own very soon with only a car and a little money...you have a very positive outlook on it and i appreciate your support

 
At 4:04 AM, Blogger AsianGypseh (the food lover) said...

I certainly am enjoying reading your posts. I agree with the guy who read Robert Kiyosaki. I applied the one thing I remember from his books which is "always pay yourself first." In my case, I'd rather spend my money on ME rather than have most of it go to rent which I now view as crazy. I eat better, healthier and enjoy life more because I can afford more things. Ironically, I don't need as many things as I used to.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger shademann said...

Hopefully someone here can help me. I live in PA and have been homeless for 6 months now. I do handyman type jobs to earn income but not enough work to go the whole apt route. My major problem is this. Nationwide has just learned i no longer at my former address. The letter stated I must update to a current address or they will drop me. I need my van to be road legal. I work and live out of it. I can't use a PO box. WHAT DO I DO??????

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

@shademann Get a private mailbox at a UPS store or similar establishment. Provide that address. Tell your insurance company where you park your vehicle physically. That should answer all of their concerns.

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Larry said...

I don't get how you were getting work two days of the week. Maybe you got a part time job. Part of my problem right now is that I am about to lose my job.

I'm considering going homeless, but I want to be sure that I'll have some income. I have no car and I'm a male in his early twenties, btw.

Thanks for any answer.

 
At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed how many people writing on this blog are older; in fact most of us. Despite years of working, I was never able to own a home and have been at the mercy of landlords too. I retired last June; now I hae 1/2 the income I used to have. Unfortunately, due to high stress job (which is why I retired) I have diabetes 2, recurring shingles and have to take Synthroid every day. I had hoped to continue working past age 70, but it looks like I will have to find something else as an independent earner and I am grateful to have a pension.


This means I need some health care, must buy this medication and have to keep my life low key. I want to have a business too; making things, selling things on line. I got some good ideas from folks on this blog.

In childhood, we had been homeless several times, and in fact I was placed in an orphanage. As a young adult I was homeless but managed to get through college and get employed. Being homeless left me very anxious and driven. I rented all my life and hoped to be able to own; but maybe its best not to own in this climate. Either way it does not matter as I still can not afford a home.

I get what you are trying to do for people when they become homeless. Depression and despair do more to destroy people in difficult circumstances and you are helping people by changing their mental and psychological perspective to a positive view.

I think this blog is offering some positive constructive advice. Thanks for offering it.

 
At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I SLEEP in my van, not live in it. Big difference. I was in the Army for 20 yrs sleeping in tents & eating out of Ravioli cans 3 times a day so for me van living is a piece of cake. I make $2,500 a month so I have money to rent but why? First off lets define what homeless is. If you have a structure that has 4 walls, floor & ceiling then your NOT homeless. My van is a structure. Would you call a truck driver, soldier or a 65 year old retired couple living in an rv homeless? No, I wouldnt. Its all a state of mind really. I have a membership at the 24 hr fitness center for only $10 a month which is where I shower twice a day. Ive NEVER worked out but rather use the showers & free wifi instead. When its hot out I simply go to the mall or Mc Donalds for the free wifi while sitting in the Food Court watching free Youtube movies all day. For breakfast I just go to the motel / hotel, act like Im staying there & eat for free. I always pick up an extra danish & fruit for my free lunch later. Most of the time I sleep in the motel parking lot anyway. Ive never been caught but if I were I would simply say that I didnt think I could check in until 11 am. Big deal $40 for a well deserved night anyway. I live in Indiana but in Florida for the winter. The weather here is GREAT! Once it gets hot then I'll go back up north. Ive got solar panels on top of my van for electricity to run fans & a 12 volt coffee maker as well as my radio. Ive NEVER paid for coffee or tea at Mc Donalds because I re-use my cups. LOL! Its my little way of sticking it to the man! In the end its all about the money saved and nothing else. I pay NO rent, very little for food & use very little gas because I only put 10 miles a day on my van. No one here even knows I live in my van. Im very clean / cut with a button up shirt & lap-top every morning. Im a little different then most people living out of their van in that I dont scrounge, dumpster dive etc because I have money. If I need something then I buy it period. So for $7,200 in savings & $138,000 in 401K. All from staying in my van for the past 9 yrs. PS, I dont work because Im retired from the Army. Im 51 now but retired at age 37. In at 17 and out at 37 = 20 yrs.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Jennifer Price said...

1/11/2014; Great info and comments here, thanks for sharing.

I'm going to be buying a sailboat within the next month to live aboard with my teenager and our cats. I just can't afford the rent any more, even if it is reasonable. I already stretch our tiny income by not having pay tv or a smartphone or a car and being frugal about our energy consumption.

I'm not working the hours I used to and haven't had even an inquiry into my ads for my housecleaning in months. I lost a lot of clients a couple of years ago when I got injured and was out of work for 7 months and never really recovered the income I lost.

I'm 48 and no one seems to be hiring people my age, plus I've been living on less than $13,000 for years and haven't gotten child support in over 5 years. My little bit of savings got eaten up by 'involuntary time off' due to injury and illness and I am now living on $550 or so a month.

I live in Martin County, FL by the water and still have a few cleaning clients left here. I've decided to buy a sailboat with my tax refund and fix it up while living on it. We'll get a small storage space to keep some things but get rid of mostly everything.

I was going to do this anyway next summer when my teenager graduates high school and turns 18. I want to travel and don't have a lot of money so the sailboat cruising/liveaboard life appeals to me!

It's really sad when hard working people get lost in the system of greed. I'm glad to be fortunate enough to be able to do something about it that's a reasonable alternative.

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been homeless since i was 19. Technically, I've became homeless at 18 when my adoptive mother passed away. I refused to stay with her family. Moving on, I'm now 21 in college and I pretend I'm not homeless and no one knows my business. I am embarrassed and angered. I don't see any advantages in being homeless. It's surely nothing to be proud of. I go to stay in an all woman's shelter when the college closes for breaks. I'm sick and tired of it.

 

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