Tuesday 13 April 2010

How to Survive Being Homeless with 8 children

How to Survive Being Homeless
By harleyangelbrat, eHow Member
Article Rating: (19 Ratings)
These are a few tips on how to survive being homeless with eight children. It explains how one family coped with living outside and dealing with people who just didn't understand. It also shows ways to survive the wilder side of living outdoors and some of the ways they dealt with hunger and depression. Perhaps this will help someone know what they can do to survive being homeless, especially those who have children to feed, support, and protect. Also, there were no men. There were eight children and two women to fend for them.
.Difficulty: Moderately ChallengingInstructions.Things You'll Need:
•Canned goods, storable foods
•Paper products
•A Few large pots and pans
•Card and board games
•Tarps, tents, thick plastic
•Plenty of blankets
•Milk crates
•Trailer or car topper
•Cooler if possible
•Lots of love and patience
How to Prepare to be Homeless

When you know you are about to be homeless, you should take as little as you can, but as much as you need. This can be difficult if you do not have a place to put all the things you need. It is more difficult when you have a lot of children. There were eight involved in this journey. So, sit down and make a list of things that you have to have to survive being homeless.


Get with all of your children and decide what they will need the most as far as clothing goes. If it is going to be cold, they will need to take mostly heavy clothing. In this situation, they needed both light and heavy clothing. So, decide what you need and take as little as possible. Try to limit it to one bag per person.


Gather up all the storable foods you can find in your home if you still have a home. In this situation, they had to get away from a stalker and had only a few hours to prepare. If this is the case, everybody, young and old have to pitch in to get things loaded up. Make sure everybody understands what items are needed. Taking foods that will spoil can turn into disaster unless you have a cooler.


If you do have a cooler, make sure everything you put into the cooler is sealed tightly. If you use baggies, they will eventually get water into them unless you find some really airtight ones. Sometimes you may have to wrap them in several baggies to protect them from water seeping in. A cooler is a great thing to have if you have the room to store one in your vehicle. In this case, a van was used, so there was room enough to place a cooler between the two front seats of the van.


Some of the foods that are good to take are canned beans, soup and canned meats, canned Spam and potted meat. Vienna sausages and canned ham that is cured and doesn't have to be refrigerated are good, too. Bread should be kept for sandwiches. It can be almost any type of bread, even the long rolls that you have to cut. Just be sure you have a knife to cut it with. If you have all kinds of beans, you can easily mix them and cook them over a fire. Dried beans are good, too, but they take a lot longer to cook. If you can make your own beef jerky, it's cheaper, otherwise they sell it in bags at every grocery store. Foods that do not have to be cooked are a good idea, as well. Peanut butter and jelly, canned meats on bread, pickles, cheese if you have a cooler, and any storable food that is easy to slap on a sandwich are all better, especially if you are going to be on the road for a while.


Depending on the weather, dress accordingly. In this situation, it was in the fall and getting cooler. Winter was steadily approaching and they were going from a very hot Southern state to a Southwest state that had similar weather, but it was cooler and rainier. It ended up being very cold and rainy where this homeless family finally settled.


Have games ready for those times when the kids get annoyed with each other and bored with riding. These kids were awesome. When the adults could not find things to entertain them, the kids found ways of occupying themselves in this crowded situation. The tag game is one way of passing the time. All the kids had to try and find tags from different states. The one who found the most in a certain length of time would win. If there can be a reward, kids love candy and little games to play. One of the greatest blessings was that these kids loved to sing. This not only occupied them, but it was a blessing to hear good Christian songs in this time of need.


Rest areas are a good place you can stay for a little while. If you get to know the park ranger, he may let you stay indefinitely. As it went, they stayed for a month. The man running the place allowed them to stay until someone complained. There always has to be someone who doesn't understand. The park ranger ran a hose from his sink in his office to the bathroom so they could fill up this large container to bathe in. The public bathroom did not have hot water, so this turned out to be very generous of him and allowed them to take hot baths. The adults had to stand mostly, but the children could sit down and bathe. The restrooms were close and the tarps were used to cover a picnic area so that everyone could sleep under either the picnic tables or a sleeping bag on the cement. This rest area had cement ceilings and posts around each picnic table. This made it easier to build a little "lean-to." The tarp and cement floors kept the bugs from bothering them most of the time. But, beware! Ants do not mind cement and neither do spiders. It's a good idea to seal off as much of the area as you can. Luckily, the weather kept most insects at bay, but they were bombarded by crickets, thousands of them. Texas is known for their massive crickets in the fall and winter and the park ranger was not allowed to spray bug spray, but that doesn't mean the new tenants couldn't. Slowly, the crickets dissipated after a few sprays. It was a MUST. Crickets were attacking people and scaring small children day and night. One woman and two of the smaller children slept next to the picnic area in the van. The other woman slept in a truck that was picked up in another state where she had left it after breaking down. This happened when she was headed to Florida from Utah to help the other one get out of town and away from the stalker. A friendly man and his wife helped her get it running again as they passed through Louisiana. Here was proof that there are still good people in this world. They fed the families and helped fix the truck. They even sent some food with them on their journey. Being homeless is devastating enough and when you run into good people, it makes the ride a little easier.


On the trip, make sure you always have enough gas. Of course, gas was not so expensive as it is now, but it was still a struggle keeping the vehicles full. You do not want to run out of gas in a strange area, especially at night. Also, if you get lost, ask a policeman or stop at a gas station and ask directions. Never just keep riding around using up unnecessary gas. Take the shortest, but safest route. If you have to stay off the highway to keep from being followed by someone, like a stalker, try and stay close to truck drivers. This will be explained in the next step.


Staying close to truck drivers is usually the way to go. When they run into you at rest areas, chat with them a little. Most of the time, if you are in trouble, they will look after you. They stick together in most situations, so if you explain that you are running from someone dangerous, they will stick by you as much as they can. When they have to leave you, they make sure other truck drivers look out for you. It's almost like you are traveling with family. In this incident, the stalker tried to follow and had his own truck driver friends because he owned his own trucking company. The truck drivers helped them stay safe and get away from his little convoy. Truck drivers are mostly out there to do their job, but just be careful. Some of them want the wrong things in return for helping you. Make it clear that you are not that kind of woman or even a man, if there is one. Most of them have sympathy for you and your children and will help you in any way they can without wanting anything in return.


When you arrive to your destination, which in this case was Texas, you will have to find a place to rest. Texas turned out to be a kind state for this family. When they arrived, they ended up sleeping in the parking lot of a well-known superstore. The people that worked there were very kind and generous. They realized it was a bad situation and offered as much help as they could. Someone finally told them about a park in another small town in Wise County. This is where they ended up staying for a month and a half, as explained in the next step.


Large parks in the woods on the water are great places to camp out. Of course, they usually charge you a fee, but in this case, the park ranger started out a real jerk. He knew we were homeless and tried to be rude at first. Evidently he had a conscious because the next day, he came back and apologized and brought back the check. He had spoken to several people at a little store and some who lived in the area. He found out that they were not just moochers, but a family who were in trouble. He also noticed that the women took turns looking for jobs every morning. This was no easy task with 30 degree weather and no hot water. He realized they were struggling and observed them enough to know that they were trying real hard to get on their feet. He even brought them some fish to cook on the fire. This is another blessing that will be mentioned in the next step.


You need to be sure you have some way of cooking. This almost became a problem since there was a fire ban in the county at the time. That is why it pays to talk to people. They spoke with the police when they came to tell the family that there was a fire ban. When they explained that this was their only way of cooking for their kids, they allowed them to keep their fire as long as it was only a small one, not a huge bonfire like some people were trying to do. This other family kept burning bonfires and almost caused them to lose their small fire when the police charged the others a fine for disobeying the fire ban. You have to be careful of this because people can be really mean. These people almost caused trouble for these women, but after explaining things to them, they managed to keep peace among them. Try to be friendly and courteous to all others to keep from causing conflict. This is important, especially if you are going to live there for a while. In this case, not only were there a few other campers, but fishermen arrived every morning and there were mobile homes with people living in them. This is another reason to be respectful of others. Don't be too loud and let your children run around without supervision.


Remember, being homeless draws attention from city officials, too. They have concerns about the children. It turned out well for those women. The Family Services official came out and saw that the children were being Home Schooled, sitting at the picnic tables, doing their work. She was impressed with how this woman was making sure her children were educated even in this difficult situation. She also noticed how well-taken care of they were. She told her that someone had called them saying that there were children living in the park. She complimented the women on how well-behaved the children were. She reported back that everything was fine with this family and went on her way.


Acquiring a job can be difficult when you have only freezing cold water coming out of the shower. It is better to wash off in the sink. In this bathroom, the women managed to close one stall door backwards across the sink to have privacy. Cement floors are not the most comfortable floors to put your bare feet when its freezing temperatures. It's best to have a piece of rug to stand on. That way, your feet do not have to hit the cold floor and they also stay clean while you are bathing. You can buy small remnants for a buck or so in some discount stores. Keep all of your bath supplies in a carry-all container that you can also buy at many dollar stores for a buck or two. This way you do not have your arms full just in case you need them. Just remember, the outdoors can be dangerous. Not only do you have to watch out for wild animals, but strangers wandering up, as well. This is why it is never a good idea to go to the Park bathroom by yourself.


There are other dangers to consider as mentioned in step 16. There are wild animals in most parks where woods surround it. In this case, one woman kept watch all night while the other slept. She encountered many dangers. There were wolves and foxes looking for food left by other campers and even raiding her camp, as well. This lady encountered a wolf scratching through their food supplies many nights. She had ran foxes off before and they seemed more afraid of her than she was of them, but this wolf turned on her. She had only one thing in mind and that was to protect her children. She picked up a large tree limb and held it up as if she was going to pound him. This is what saved her life and possibly her children, too. He ran when she snapped it toward him. It is a good idea to keep an air pistol or pop gun around. Since weapons are not aloud, its good to have some kind of protection just in case some wild animal decides to attack. Do not think that a deer will not charge you, either. Deer and does, especially those with babies, will charge right at you and tear you up. So keep your distance and always carry some form of protection. It is suggested that anything that makes loud noises without discharging actual bullets is a good idea.


You will need to be prepared for most anything when you find yourself homeless. Be sure you are well equipped with everything you may need, but never keep a lot of junk that just takes up space. Always clean up the area you are staying in. This gains a lot of respect from the Park Ranger, especially when there are a lot of children involved. It amazed this Park Ranger how clean this family kept their area. People tend to respect you more when you respect the surroundings lent to you.


It is better to be homeless in a small town. People tend to be more helpful. You need to find out where they have places to help people in your situation. In this case, it was called "WARM". "WARM" is a place where you can get free food and sometimes clothing, books, and even games. They were very kind to this family. They offered them warm clothing and good food. You can also check with local churches. A large church in the small town helped this family find shelter when the park closed for the winter. This meant they had to leave. When the woman went to "WARM" for food, they found out that this family had to leave the park and had nowhere to go. A woman made a few phone calls and within a day or so she had a place where the family could stay. That is why it is always good to let people know your situation. It doesn't mean you are a beggar or bum. Everybody at some time in their lives might find themselves in this situation. No one knows what could happen. As long as you try and put forth an effort, people respect you.


Get a job where you can. That doesn't mean a bad job or indecent job. This means if a fast food restaurant is where you have to work, do not be ashamed. Do whatever it takes to feed your family without lowering your standards. That is what happened to this woman. She was hired on the spot by a very kind man who found out her situation. He was the manager and after hiring her, he told her to bring her children in and he would feed them for every meal until they got on their feet. He also told them to go to the park and get their things and move in with him temporarily until they found a place. This kind man opened his home to all of them. There are truly nice people in this world and if you find yourself "Homeless", don't hesitate to take the help you need. Do it for your children. Always be sure that everything you accept is safe. In this instance, the woman found out that this man had a very good reputation. The woman was told by several people that he loved children and was very generous. This proved to be very true. They finally were able to move into their own apartment with the help of the local church. The church even donated all the things they would need to set up a home. It was only a two bedroom apartment and a little crowded, but eventually the woman rented a nice home large enough to accommodate her family. It turned out to be a very special blessing and many lessons were learned. The one important thing to remember...."never lose your faith".

Tips & Warnings
This is just one person's version of what it was like to be homeless. It may not cover everything you might encounter. It might even cover more than what some people dealt with. It was a tough situation. This family encountered storms from damaging winds and hail to freezing ice and then snow. They had to deal with their outside beds filling up with water and wild animals lurking over them as they slept. Worst of all, they dealt with a stalker who would not leave this one woman alone. This is what caused them to be homeless. Maybe this can help other people understand why some people are on the streets. There may be those who choose to be that way, but there are plenty of homeless people who have a very good reason for being that way. This was written in hopes that this experience will enlighten more people and open their eyes to a very serious situation. There are some events in our lives that cannot be helped. There are people who cannot be stopped. People think there is a solution to every problem, but from experience, there is not always a way to stop things from happening. If you come across someone on the streets, do not be so quick to judge them. Realize that bad things happen to good people. Know that there are some real crazy people in this world who are getting by with causing these horrible events and sometimes no one can stop them. There are really times when even the law cannot solve your problem and you just have to be strong and pray that someday soon, an answer will come..If you find yourself homeless, do not sleep in a dark and deserted place. Never argue with the police if you are asked to leave. Do not put up a sign that you need food, just speak with certain ones who are qualified to help and a few others who offer it. Never beg! If you are seen by people trying to get a job, especially in a small town, more than likely people will offer help especially where there are children involved. Do not take beverages from strangers. If someone offers to buy your family some food or drink, make sure you see what it is and where it came from. DO NOT TRUST STRANGERS! There are people out there who have only one goal in mind and that is to hurt others. They are like vultures waiting to attack their prey. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never leave by yourself or even with your children with a stranger. This woman found out the hard way what can result from this. In desperation she accepted his offer to get a hot shower for herself and her kids from the Rest Area Park Ranger. She had known him for a month, but she learned to never trust anyone unless you know them well. He raped her with two of her children sitting in the next room. He threatened her and because she had already been through rape before and was stalked by the jerk who had raped her, she was afraid to tell anyone. Now, advise to any woman, if you are afraid to tell someone because you feel your life is in danger, try to think of someone you can trust to tell and hopefully you will tell someone who is in law enforcement. This woman's problem was that the man who raped her was in law enforcement. Now, another city official had done the same thing; a Park Ranger.
Skip Newby on Facebook alerted me to this.

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