How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

We can find two types of homeless people: the chosen one and the forced one. There are people who choose to live in the streets, as a way to express their freedom and others who are forced to do so, not being able to pay their bills and their mortgage. They must know how to become homeless in order to survive on the street.

If someone is left homeless by choice, it is usually because people want to be free. They are tired of taking care of tomorrow’s meals, of the money they have to pay to the banks and they want to keep the latter for better purposes, such as traveling. Or they simply want to enjoy their freedom, they know something about the survival of homeless people and they can get taxes from their life equation.

On the other hand, the second type of homeless person represents the majority of this “community”. There are many people who lost their jobs, are evicted from their homes and end up living on the street. This is due to the global recession of recent years. These people need to learn how to live without a home and this is not easy to do. The number of homeless people increases every day.

You can find all kinds of people: teenagers who fled their homes, young people who were sent when they turned 18, adults who lost their jobs. Life can be difficult when you’re struggling with your work and taxes, but it gets harder when you’re on the street.

These people should know that there are many ways to survive as homeless people and here is a brief guide on what to focus on while you are homeless.

Where to sleep

The homeless can also be classified after the possession of the car: those who own a car and those who do not.

Sleeping in your car

If you have a car, the shelter problem is solved. You have somewhere to sleep, away from rain, wind, snow or suffocating heat. You will have to find an isolated parking spot, but do not let your car stand alone. It should be close to other cars, although far from the eyes of the police or the owners.

Find a place with lots of light so you can read and write in the car. This could be somewhere under a lamppost. This way, a thief is less likely to attack you. They usually avoid light. Try to choose a place where your car will not be noticed. It would be better if you do not get in the way of the morning sun. This will allow you to sleep later.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

Create a routine that is not regular. In case someone observes you and wants to file a complaint, it would be easier for the police to detect you if you are always in the same place, on the same day. In case you sleep somewhere else every day of the week, surely they will not get to put you in your hands.

If you do not have a car, you will have to try other options.


It is probably a good idea to invest some money to buy a tent. Some of them are extra light and small and can be taken anywhere. The problem in this situation is that you need to find a safe place to camp and it is not protected from the natural elements that can cause you difficulties.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

A good alternative would be to camp in National Parks, but they should be in your area if you do not have a means of transportation. Camping there is usually charged and there are few places where you can camp for free. Also be careful to place your tent in an area where you can find food and water.

Surf sofa

Another option would be to sleep on your friends or family. If they are not available, access some sites, such as, where some people register their homes as free to stay. This is a one-night only solution and was developed for travelers, so imagine that you are one of them.


These are places for young people and are usually cheaper than hotel rooms. You should probably make a reservation online or by phone to be sure you will have a place to sleep. You can find where the shelters are if you are looking for them or even in the phone book.


In case you do not have money to spend in shelters or camps, go to a shelter. You will find a free place to sleep there. There may be some requirements, such as getting up early or doing a little work so you can pay for accommodation.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

You have more chances of finding shelters in larger cities. Just remember one thing: in a shelter you will find many homeless people. This is the reason why you should take care of your belongings if you have some because you do not want to be stolen. Another risk factor is that someone may be sick with a contagious disease.

Sleeping in public places

If you choose to sleep outdoors, you will surely need some items such as a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag. You should also buy a poncho or waterproof canvas for the rainy weather.

The risk of being robbed or attacked is lower in public places and the police generally leave the homeless in this situation. As for the place to sleep, it is better to choose a park. It is warmer and the grass could be a good bed. You can put your tarp and sleep well for a few hours.

Another place considered good for sleeping is the beach. Place your tarp over the high tide line and be sure to use sunscreen so it does not burn. If you do not have sun protection, cover your body with clothes.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

When it comes to sleeping on the street at night, you have to find other solutions. Try to find places where other people already do it. It’s probably an area where the police leave them alone. Be careful not to get rubbed. The others may try to intimidate you or send you away.

If you can not find such a place, go to a place with lots of light out of the way of passers-by. There is a possibility that the police harass you, but this is much better than putting you in danger in a dark alley.

You can also go to sleep on the roofs of buildings. It is safer than sleeping on the street. There is relatively little chance that someone will find you. Find a ceiling with obstacles or alcoves that prevent you from turning around. Although this is not legal and can be classified as an illegal entry, it is a good option for you.

Choosing an abandoned building as your refuge may be an option. This way the rain will not reach you. But pay attention to the structure of the building, as it may be weak, this is the reason why it was abandoned. Also look for other homeless people because you do not want to get involved in any conflict.

You may want to find a place that is not visible and can assure you some privacy. If so, look for a populated area, with trees around. This could be a good place to hide.

How to eat

This is one aspect of your homeless life that should worry you a lot. If you earn some money, look for cheap restaurants or fast foods that provide all the food you can afford.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

If you do not have money, you should consider one of the following options:

  • Go to the grocery store and ask for the free samples they give away, for example, the old bread. This can be a weekly supply of food.
  • Dumpster dive is another solution. You can find good food that is thrown by people in stores or food places. Make sure you do not immerse yourself in other people’s dumpsters to avoid being in a dangerous situation.
  • A good option is to get free condiments from McDonald’s, for example. You will have barbecue sauce, mayonnaise and mustard. Find free sugar packs almost everywhere. Get a bottle that can be reused and make a gallon of drink with Kool-Aid powder.
  • Good food can be found at the farmers markets. In closing, it is possible to obtain crushed items that farmers no longer want to take with them.
  • Other places to find free food are shelters or churches. You can work there for food donations. Arrive early to find a meal, as they do not have unlimited supplies. The principle is first in, first served.


It is obvious that you will not have access to a toilet or a shower as much as you would like while you are homeless.


Use the public restrooms of large shopping centers or stores. Try to get there during the day when it is less noticeable. Make a map so you know where these stores are located near you. You can also use the McDonald’s toilet, it’s free. If you are a man and have a car, keep a bottle inside during the night. Empty it the next day in a public bathroom and then throw it into a trash can.


When you want to take a shower, you can go to a shelter, it is likely to allow you to do so even if you are not sleeping there.

The best option is to obtain a membership to a local gym. That would be possible if you are making money to pay for it. You can use your showers and stay in shape at the same time. It would be even better to obtain membership in a national gymnasium so that you have access to a shower in all the places you travel.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

If you go near a beach, you can use the public showers. They are placed there so that people can eliminate the salt that remains in the body after swimming in the ocean. Buy a swimsuit because bathing naked is illegal.

When you know that you will not be able to get to a shower very soon, you can buy some baby wipes. These are soaked in cleaning substances and you can find them in almost any store like Walmart. Use them to clean certain parts of the body so you can maintain a minimum level of hygiene.

How to make money

There are several ways to earn money while you are homeless. None of them will make you rich, but you can survive and buy different things that will help you.

Aluminum cans

You can look for aluminum cans, collect them and sell them to recycling centers. The best place to look for them is the dumpster behind the big restaurants.

Pick up the change

Collect all the coins you find.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

When you have enough, go to a store and exchange them with tickets.


To access the Internet, you can get a card at a public library for free. This way you will have access to your computers. There are many ways to earn money online, such as writing articles.

Selling sperm or plasma

If you are perfectly healthy, you can sell plasma or sperm to get money and help other people. When it comes to plasma, take care to eat first and do not do it too many times. Most centers that collect it from donors will not allow you to donate more than twice a week so that your cells can regenerate.

You can request to be a sperm donor, but not all applications are approved. The sperm must have a very high quality. In some centers you can donate anonymously.

Participate in essays and surveys.

There are certain companies that will pay you to try some new drugs or products. First you must apply and wait for them to call you. Be careful because some of the products could be dangerous to your health.

Get a job

Your appearance is very important if you want to get a job and keep it. Keep your clothes clean and ironed. You may not have friends to help you with your washing machine, so you will have to go to Laundries. Washing your clothes can be quite expensive because you probably will not have many of them. Try to protect the “good guys” and wear a shirt under them so they do not get sweaty.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

Buy a cheap cell phone so your employer can contact you. You can get a particular address through a mailbox from a UPS store.

Have a good haircut, smile and do not forget your skills. This is a sure way to get a job.

Medical care

Health problems can occur when you are homeless. It can be presented in any emergency room of hospitals in that area. You have the right to be treated even if you can not pay.

For non-emergency situations, you can look for clinics that offer medical care to people with low incomes.

How to Be Homeless: Short Guide for Survival

Try to stay away from the direct rays of the sun. Use sunscreen because, otherwise, you could suffer burns, infections and eventually skin cancer. The radiations are very powerful and can affect you even on cloudy days. Wear a hat that protects your face and neck. That hat can be used to cover your face while you sleep during the day so that the sun’s rays do not enter your eyes. It can also be effective against mosquitoes.

His final purpose when he is homeless is to get back up and finally get back to his previous lifestyle. Homelessness can be seen as a good way to save money.

There are many shelters and churches that can help you find a job. Or you can talk to a job agency that deals with part-time or full-time contracts.

Another way to earn more money is to start your own business selling virtual things on the Internet.

The most important aspect of this whole situation is your mental state. Do not despair and keep calm and lucidity. This is the way you will survive and overcome this difficult period of your life. Make a plan and stick to it. Eventually you will get to live better days.


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