General Question

nikipedia's avatar

What would you do if you were suddenly homeless?

Asked by nikipedia (27327 points ) January 21st, 2009

You come home from work, put your key in the lock and—what the? It won’t go. You realize the locks have been changed.

You reach into your pocket, pull out your cell phone, and start making phone calls. No one in your entire address book answers.

It’s winter, and it’s getting cold. You head back to your car and, sure enough, it won’t unlock.

This is weird. Really weird. But you can puzzle over that later. Right now, you’re freezing, and you haven’t eaten since that sesame seed bagel you had at 10:30. You should have packed a lunch. Damn.

You walk to a corner store and try your ATM card. Nothing. Credit card. Nothing. Backup credit card. Nothing. Scrounge up some change and get some Doritos.

I bet you can guess what’s going to happen when you try to go to work in the morning, if you can even get there. The whole building has been vacated.

What do you do? Where do you go? Where do you sleep? How do you eat? How do you start over completely from scratch with no help from any friends or family?

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35 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

i’d learn the ways of the streets. then i would forge a bum kingdom, using fear and cups of change to rise up and overcome.

rated pg-13 for intense action sequences, brief sensuality and zombie-related humor.

tinyfaery's avatar

Too hypothetical; I need a context. Is the world still the same? Why is the 20 story building where I work abandoned? Where are my wife and cats? I’d just go to a shelter.

I find Ayn Rand ridiculous.

elijah's avatar

First I would build a fire in the nearest trash can. Then I would push all the indie hipsters who are looking for clothes out of the dumpster and find a box to live in.
But seriously, I don’t know what I would do. It would be scary but I would make it somehow. Homelessness (is that a word?) is a sad situation.

nikipedia's avatar

@tinyfaery: The rest of the world is still the same. It’s just you. And as for your other questions: you’ll never know. Isn’t that weird?

I do too.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@tinyfaery the world is the same, but everyone has a pigface…....except you. how charmingly WICKED!

tennesseejac's avatar

i would do something to get put in jail (like assault one of the pigface people) and just live there until i figured out what the F has happened and what im going to do next. eventually, i would start a rock n roll band with some of the coolest pigface people.

Siren's avatar

I would get really depressed, and start asking total strangers for help. As they start looking at me weirdly, over time (since my appearance will deteriorate over time) I will notice I am no longer like them, and stop bothering to ask them for help.

I will then start to seek comfort from people in the same situation as myself to commiserate and find out how they survive. Some people will scare the heck out of me and appear crazy – I will avoid those types. I will notice the more optimistic types will be very friendly, for a while. Sometimes I will find myself totally alone, like one morning the whole crew will be gone and I will wander around the area, then run as I spot a police vehicle lingering on my street.

Eventually, I may start talking to myself to alleviate boredom, loneliness and total depression. I may find stimulants to keep hunger, depression…generally the world, away. I will feel like I am on an island, all alone, although there are people all around me.

I will realize I never needed all those pairs of socks in my drawers, a hairbrush, toothpaste. Warmth in the winter, coolness in the summer, some shelter and food occasionally will be my short-term, and long-term goals.

I will be homeless until someone offers me a way out.

TheBox193's avatar

Life would be simpler in a way. I think I could be at peace in a way. They say that the homeless are at average more ‘happier’ than the middle-class American because their life is simpler. naturally how does one measure happiness… in grams?

jonsblond's avatar

I am sooo glad that my husband hunts! We would snuggle up (naked, duh! )to keep warm. Probably talk a lot more too, without the distractions of tv, video games, and fluther. :)

asmonet's avatar

That’s actually a very real possibility for me. At least being homeless.

jonsblond's avatar

@asmonet Sorry to hear that. We were behind on our mortgage by four months before our tax return helped us. Hope everything turns out ok for you. The stress kills, doesn’t it!

buster's avatar

First I would go to the grocery store and steal some food. Then I would steal a shopping cart. I need a sleeping bag. Ok I can steal a dirty sleeping bag from some other bum’s camp or buy one with money made stealing copper wiring. Im stealing the other homeless guys bag because I need a forty. Hangout downtown and fly a sign. Collect change. Buy fortys. Pass out in the parking garage stairwell. Repeat. Wake up one day ten years later and realize this lifestyle sucks. Talk to a social worker. Get in rehab. Then comes the halfway houses. Stay in AA off the hooch and don’t act like a damn bum.

TheBox193's avatar

Can I have a laptop if I’m homeless? I still want to get to fluther/facebook/youtube/other internet tubes. please? if you say no, beware, I may come steal your computer

Nimis's avatar

I think it would go something like this:

I go to the public library, get online and ask Fluther what I should do.
We You guys suggest going to a shelter. I give you lurve for the good idea.
Then I get sucked into reading/answering all the ridiculous questions
and do not get to a shelter in time. (They have a max capacity, right?)
I spend the night shivering on the streets, trying to think up good questions to ask.

The next day, I go back to the shelter to Fluther some more.
You guys suggest going to a soup kitchen. My grumbling stomach agrees.
But, once again, I get sucked into spending countless hours just fluthering.
By the time I get to the soup kitchen, it’s already closed.
I resort to begging for scraps.

After digesting the food, I really have to go number two.
But seeing as how I haven’t been homeless very long,
I’m still embarrassed about the idea of going on the street.
The only public bathroom I can find requires a quarter.

I decide to beg for said quarter from a couple walking by.
One of them says to the other:
Don’t give them any money. They’re just a bunch of addicts.

To which, I angrily reply
I can stop fluthering whenever I wanted to!

Couple walks away in confusion.

jlm11f's avatar

Well. I don’t think I would be homeless. I mean, like you said, a whole building has been vacated. Enough home space for me. There would be bathrooms in the building, so no worries about that. Now, food would be an issue of course. hmmm will come back to this when it’s not 3 am

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

This happened to one of my daughter’s friends his freshman year of high school. He came home to find he and his father had been evicted from their home, and his father disappeared.

Nimis's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock That’s crazy.
What did your daughter’s friend do?
And did he eventually find his father again?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

He came to my house, and told me. We went back, got all of his clothes, family pictures, etc. and then came back to my house. I took him to school the next day, and went to the counselor to see about his next of kin. His mother’s deceased. We contacted his uncle. His uncle was made his court-appointed guardian, and the young man is now in college, and doing quite well. Just recently, his father contacted him from a mental health facility in a nearby state.

Nimis's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock Wow. He’s quite lucky
to have had good friends with good mothers.
I wish his father well too. It was probably rough
for all of the parties involved.

wundayatta's avatar

I think I’d focus on shelter first. If the house were in the burbs, I’d be looking for a garage or a barn or something where I could get warmth. I’d work on food next—begging, dumpster diving, whatever.

If I lived in the city, I’d check in at the homeless shelter. I might also see if there was a church that would give me shelter. I’d definitely dumpster dive when I got tired of the shelter’s food. I’ve heard that the best places are in the alleys behind good restaurants. There are a lot of half-eaten fancy meals in the dumpster, and if you get to know the service staff well, they might hold it for you, and give it to you directly, instead of throwing it in the dumpster.

Later on, I’d work on identity, and a new job. I have a suspicion, that in this scenario, nothing would ever work for me again. So I’d probably try to figure out what agency had it in for me, and try to fight back, if I could.

Judi's avatar

I’d at first be thankful that I live in California!!
I spent Monday handing out lunches to the homeless on Venice Beach. If I had to be homeless, that’s where I would want to be.

loser's avatar

I’m pretty sure I would kill myself.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@loser if you do, could you go and crawl off somewhere? i hate tripping over dead bums on the street.

loser's avatar

@eponymoushitster: No, I hope you do trip over me.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@loser well, if i see you, i’ll try my best.

pekenoe's avatar

First… I’d do my damnedest to place my butt way south of here, homeless and 20 below just don’t appeal to me. Then I’m thinking thievery, to old to work and too ugly to beg.

nikipedia's avatar

Did any of you read that book in elementary school about those kids who run away and live in an art museum? I think that would be kind of cool.

90s_kid's avatar

Live in the streets, and beg for food. I would try to do it. Could I walk to my grandmothers (who lives 90 miles away)? Does that count? Either way, iit would be a hard, cold life.

90s_kid's avatar

@nikipedia
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Weird book, but I liked it.

Jeruba's avatar

This is very similar to the beginning of Neil Gaiman’s Jungian journey of a novel, Neverwhere. What the protagonist did is go below London to an alternate London he hadn’t known existed.

If this happened to me, right here, right now, and my memory were intact, I would begin by going to some agency that serves the homeless population. I would do my best to stay clean and not lose my dignity or sanity so I would have the best chance of pulling out of it. If that failed I would probably go looking for the folks who live in a tunnel beneath the freeway and offer to trade them anything that I know how to do in exchange for their protection.

mellow_girl's avatar

i would call a locksmith to unlock my car, i would pay him with a check that i keep in the car, then i guess i would just live in my car…

Joybird's avatar

I’m going to hustle my backside down to the nearest shelter or soup kitchen who will tell me where there’s a woman’s shelter. I used to know where they all were when I was actively working as an LCSW. Now I’d have to just take a shot that the same ones are still open. I know I have to get there early to get a space and stay clean and follow their rules. But it’s a roof and food and clothes, medical treatment and resources for those who are willing to make use of them.

AshlynM's avatar

I’d try and find some type of shelter or a homeless shelter. If not, then I agree about going to jail, even though it’ll be on your record. At least in jail you’ll be warm and have food.

gr8teful's avatar

I would cry like a baby for My Mother and my Family and I would pray somehow I would find a gun and I would shoot myself .I would miss my Family so much I would pray to Jesus please Jesus have mercy and endmylife.If It was impossible to end my life I would be grateful for a homeless shelter but i don’t know how long I would survive.I would be so lonely and terrified I wouldwanttodie. In sub-zero temperatures in Winter chances are I would die of pneumonia.

Ela's avatar

First I’d cry in disbelieve then I’d get really pissed off ‘cuz I would have walk to my exes.
>: ( I hate having him help me for any reason but he is in walking distance and always leaves his house unlocked (which totally bobbles my mind but is a good thing in this case).
I’d voicemail and text my sister then wait. She will answer eventually.

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