If You May Become Homeless in a Few Weeks
If you may become homeless in a few weeks, one of the first things to do is to see if there are any prevention or assistance programs near you. Read the above section. The Directory page can help you find local programs.
In addition, Russell Sjoblom, who was homeless with his family, has compiled a list of suggestions for people who are in danger of becoming homeless. Russell offers advice on money, food, transportation, shelter, storage, help paying for medications, social security and disability. Read Russell’s suggestions and experience.
If You May Become Homeless in a Few Days
If you only have a few days before you may become homeless, it is helpful to start making plans. The goal should be either to avoid going to an emergency shelter, or, if that can’t be avoided, to make your stay there as short as possible. Depending on how much time you have before you might become homeless, try one or all of the following:
Some agencies provide homeless prevention assistance. These programs may have waiting lists, require an appointment/interview, or have certain restrictions on who they serve. For these reasons, the sooner you can find a program that may be able help you, the better. If you do not know of any programs near you, the Directory may help you find one.
Waiting lists for public and Section 8 housing vary across the country, but in many cases, the waiting list for public housing is shorter than for Section 8 housing. You can find out how to apply by looking for the number of your local public housing authority in the government section of the phone book.
In some communities, transitional housing is an option for people who are homeless. Transitional housing programs vary greatly across the country as far as who they serve and what their requirements are. You will have to fill out an application and make an appointment for an interview. Follow through with as many of these programs as possible.
If your driver’s license has expired, or been taken for a traffic ticket, etc., reapply or get your State ID processed. If you only have a printout of your Social Security Card, get a new card to replace it as soon as possible. Many shelters and employers have strict ID requirements, and it will make things easier if you have these things ready or in process. Set up a P.O. Box for delivery and mail if that is possible.
If you have more than two bags for yourself, or one for each child, try to find someone you know who can and will hold your things for you. Almost every shelter has limits on the amount of baggage people can carry with them because they don’t have enough space.
Pack the things you can take with you. Try to arrange a ride or some sort of transportation for the day you’ll have to leave. If there is anyone who can lend you some money, now would be the time to borrow it. Try to keep at least $20-$50 with you in a safe place just for emergencies. Make sure your ID is in a safe and accessible place — you will want to take it with you. Some shelters charge money, or have strict ID requirements.
These recommendations are just suggestions so that you will have the most resources at your disposal when you need them.