No one ever expects to be homeless. I know I sure didn’t. But yet, here I am, without a permanent home and barely surviving on the graciousness of others. How could this happen after 15 years of marriage?
Well, the answer is simple. She’d decided she’d rather be single so she could be like her single friends. She let me keep some of my clothes and told me I had to take the dog with me, as she wouldn’t be home long enough to take care of him.
So the loyal family pet and I found ourselves outside- with no money and no food, in an old car with no gas- on the coldest night of the year. What were we going to do? How could we survive the night in temperatures well in the negative range, and if we did make it through the night, what then?
These were the questions I found myself facing. I’m still facing them, but I’m surviving. But if you found yourself suddenly homeless like I did, what would you do? What can you do?
Thankfully, there are resources you can utilize if you find yourself with no place to live.
Knowing where to turn to for help if you find yourself homeless could mean the difference between life and death. I had no way to keep myself or my dog warm on the coldest night of the year. We had no food, no shelter, and no way to get any. I was very much concerned that this particular Friday was going to be my last day on Earth.
Luckily, I did have my phone. With no one to turn to, I began looking online for help.
The first thing I was able to find was food. FoodPantries.org was a Godsend. Using their database (searchable by state), I was able to find a meal my dog and I could share. We might freeze, but at least we weren’t going to starve. They have listings in all fifty states, and I was so thankful to find my town had a soup kitchen.
But what could I do for shelter? Any other night we could have simply stayed in the car and been fine. But on the coldest night of the year with no gas to keep the car warm and no cash to buy any? Again I turned to my phone.
I found quite a few places online that I could turn to. The National Coalition for the Homeless has a lot of information on their site. With sections for people who are fearful of or expecting to become homeless, and lots of information about where to turn to, nation wide, if you find yourself in dire need of help. Being after 5 p.m. on a Friday, I was extremely lucky to find any help in my small, rural town. luckily, I found a local church who gave me $20 to put gas in my car, so my dog and I wouldn’t freeze to death so soon after Christmas.
Most shelters won’t allow pets, so having my dog with me put me at a distinct disadvantage when it came to finding shelter. But I couldn’t get rid of him; He is, after all, a part of my family- dwindling though it was. Fortunately, it was only a few days before I had a little money start coming in from my various freelance writing gigs, and was able to find cheap accommodations to keep me and my dog safe until I could secure he and I a more permanent and comfortable place to stay.
But without the resources I found online, I’m not sure what would have happened to my dog and I. If you suddenly find yourself homeless, a quick internet search ca help point you in the right direction. But I urge you, if you think that there is any way possible that you might end up homeless, learn about your options and resources now.
If you find yourself in need of help, you may not have the option of searching the internet, and the knowledge you gain from researching your options now might save you life- and the lives of your loved ones- should the unthinkable happen in your life.