ContactFor contact by phone, please call Union Rescue Mission’s phone center at (213) 347-6300 and ask for the person or department with which you wish to speak.
Union Rescue Mission
545 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Kitty Davis-Walker, Vice President
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The benefits and services provided under the DPSS Housing Program are listed below:
To learn more about any of these benefits and services or to apply, visit the CalWORKs office nearest you.
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The Los Angeles County board of supervisors voted Tuesday to appoint a new interim head of the public defender's office, despite criticism from defense lawyers that the new pick has no experience in criminal law and previously defended law enforcement officers.
Six attorneys from the public defender's office publicly told supervisors at Tuesday's board meeting not to appoint Nicole Davis Tinkham, saying she knew nothing about the office's work of representing indigent clients in criminal cases.
inRead invented by Teads
ADVERTISEMENTThe board unanimously approved Tinkham's six-month appointment without discussion.
In a letter sent to public defender's office employees last week, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said Tinkham had a deep appreciation for the agency's work and expressed confidence that she could "help bring much needed stability" to the office.
Tinkham, she said, would bring a team from the county counsel's office. Kuehl's letter said the board is also considering commissioning a management audit to learn more about the challenges facing the public defender's office.
Tuesday's decision is the latest move by supervisors to find someone to run the agency — the oldest public defender's office in the nation — which has been without a permanent leader for more than a year since Ron Brown stepped down at the end of 2016. Deputy public defenders represent an array of clients who cannot afford their own lawyers, including adults and juveniles accused of crimes and people facing civil commitments for mental health treatment.
In the days before Tuesday's vote, around 390 of the office's 650 attorneys signed a letter questioning Tinkham's nomination for the temporary position, said Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes, a deputy public defender with the office for 15 years.
L.A. child molester to be released after spending 17 years in state hospital awaiting trial
JAN 10, 2018 | 12:55 PMTinkham, who has been a lawyer in California since 2003, works as a senior deputy county counsel and has defended sheriff's deputies in several lawsuits against the county.
Christine Rodriguez, a 14-year veteran lawyer in the public defender's office, told supervisors she was astonished and disappointed that they would appoint a person who lacked hands-on experience representing indigent defendants in criminal court. She said the office needs a leader who can help shape criminal justice policy at a state level.
"I understand that the label's an interim and that it's temporary," Rodriguez told the supervisors, "but this is at a critical juncture in our criminal justice system. There are issues such as bail reform, mental health issues and juvenile justice issues that require attention at this very moment."
Tinkham replaces Kenneth I. Clayman, who worked as the interim public defender for four months.
In a statement to The Times, she said she plans to uphold the mission of the office while tackling its challenges.
"I intend to foster a collaborative approach that recognizes the expertise of the staff while also bringing my own experience and skills to the issues confronting the office," the statement said. "I will have no divided loyalty as I dedicate my time and energy to this interim position."
Prior to joining the county, Tinkham was a trial attorney and partner at the law firm Collins, Collins, Muir and Stewart for 14 years where she represented clients that included the Sheriff's Department.
In one of those cases, she defended a sheriff deputy who shot a 15-year-old boy brandishing a toy gun at deputies responding to a trespassing call, according to court documents.
After Tinkham joined the county, she worked on other cases defending sheriff's deputies.
Thomas Tyler, a deputy public defender for 19 years, said he is concerned that Tinkham's involvement in such cases creates a conflict of interest, making it harder for him to build trust among clients he represents.
"This appointment makes zero sense," he said in an interview after the meeting.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the board last year offered the permanent head public defender position to two candidates. Each of them, he said, turned down the job for personal reasons. He did not identify them.
He said that the objections voiced at Tuesday's meeting over Tinkham's appointment would not be ignored.
"We listened carefully. Their concerns won't fall on deaf ears," Ridley-Thomas said.
Follow me on Twitter @melissaetehad
6:55 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement by Tinkham.
This article was originally published at 6:40 p.m.
Essential California Newsletter
Monday - Saturday
A roundup of the stories shaping California.
Los Angeles Times Metpro trainee Melissa Etehad is an Iranian American who enjoys writing about national and international issues. She received her master's in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in international affairs from UC San Diego and has reported from the Middle East and Europe. She previously worked at Al Jazeera English and the Washington Post's foreign desk, where she covered the intersections of politics, religion and gender. She’s a native Farsi speaker. On her free time, you can probably find Melissa petting dogs and reading the news.
L.A. homeless crisis grows despite political promises, many speeches and millions of dollars. How do we fix this?
http://nationalhomeless.org/FACES OF HOMELESSNESS SPEAKERS’ BUREAU
Request a Speaker in the Washington, DC metro or outside of the DC metro area.
Please note, as of January 15, 2016, the administrative fee has increased. For an event in the DC Metro area, the cost for 1 speaker will be $50 honorarium plus a $25 program fee for a total of $75.
We are also instituting a sponsorship program so that organizations with the ability and desire to do so can assist schools with fewer resources in bringing a Faces of Homelessness panel to speak to their students. If your organization is in need of sponsorship, please email us at email@example.com.
The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To prevent and end homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected.
NCH began 30 years ago at a convening of state and local organizations working together to ensure the right to shelter and access to affordable housing for men, women, children and families who were experiencing homelessness. NCH decided early on that it would be an organization that not only welcomed the participation of people who had experienced homelessness, but made certain that there would always be a place at the table for input and decision making.
Today, NCH delivers on that promise each and every day, most notably through programs like the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau. Throughout NCH’s history, homeless led advocacy has worked to create lasting local solutions to the national problem of homelessness.
Looking for help right now? Click here for a list of helpful resources.
¿Necesita ayuda ahorita? Tenemos una lista de recursos en español.
What to Do When You're Homeless - The Ultimate Guide
With the global recession, more and more people are losing their homes or being evicted from their apartments. It's even more common for teens to runaway from home or suddenly be forced out of their homes once they hit the age of 18. While the challenging economy out there right now is tough, being homeless definitely makes things even more difficult. There's many ways to survive when you're homeless without dying of starvation or sleeping on the streets, you just have to be a little creative or know where to go. You can even make an adventure out of it, like the real-life Into the Wild character Chris Mccandless did (just make sure that you survive this adventure and live to tell about it). I've spoken to many people who are nomads and vagabonds for advice and even did a short stint on the streets myself, so I've gathered all the information you'll need to make it out there. Though most of this guide is based on being homeless in the United States, I'm sure you'll still benefit from some of this info even if you're in other similar countries such as the UK, Canada, or Australia.
The last thing you want to worry about while being out on the open road is your belongings. The first thing you should do, if you have any, is try to find a suitable place where you can store them. If a relative or friend won't let you store them at their place, then you should look into renting out a storage locker if you have the money. They typically cost between $30 and $100 a month, depending on where you live and what size or space you rent. You should only go with a trusted storage place and try to read reviews on it online to see if it's a good place. Be careful of fake reviews, as many owners of these storage facilities will lie and pretend to be happy customers leaving their reviews. If the review sounds way too positive and has exclamation marks after every sentence, it's probably fake. Try to choose a place that looks well secured with fencing and cameras, and a building that's located in a generally safe area. If you can't afford a storage rental, you should try to sell your items on Craigslist or Ebay. Craigslist is free and it's mostly local shoppers that you'll be dealing with, so it's probably ideal for this particular situation.
How to Make Money
Knowing different ways to make money when you're homeless is easily the most important thing you'll need to know, so we'll cover this first. There are many different ways to earn money, you just have to be motivated and in some situations, a little creative. Some of the ways are a little old-fashioned, while other methods have just become available with the creation of the internet and easy to access computers and wi-fi connections. But majority of these methods will be easier for you to do if you have some type of address you can use to receive mail or open accounts. So the first thing you should do is open a Post Office box in whatever area you think you will be living or traveling to. P.O. boxes are fairly inexpensive, at somewhere around $6 a month (possibly less or more, depending on size). You will usually have to make an upfront payment that covers 6 months in advance however. For me, it cost me about $36 for 6 months, and the box was somewhat small but could probably fit around 100 letters or a few letter size packages. Once you have a P.O. Box, it will be easier for you to conduct business in numerous ways. Here are just some of the best ways you can do this.
Sell Aluminum Cans
One of the most common ways that homeless people make money is by collecting aluminum cans (and scrap metal) and then selling them to recycling centers or scrap companies. This is probably not one of the best ways to make money when you're out there in the world, but if you are desperate, creative, and persistent, it might just pay for your food or lodging each day. The prices you can sell cans for are based on pounds in the United States. The price for a pound of aluminum cans varies by the day, but the usual range is between .70 cents and $1.40 per pound. The recession has greatly affected the aluminum scrap industry, so you're more likely to get less than $1.00 per pound these days. However, that could change at any time so if you think you can gather lots of cans, you should call around to recycling centers and ask what the going rate is. It takes about 34 cans to make a pound, so at the current rate, you would probably only be making about .02 cents per can. So just to make $2.00 a day, you would have to collect 100 cans every day. While you can find cans along the road and even from the families of friends who may not recycle, the best place to find them is in dumpsters behind restaurants and other companies that throw out lots of cans every day. Some busy restaurants will go through 50 to 100 cans a day or more, since many of their ingredients involve things that are canned, such as coconut milk (Chinese and Thai restaurants will often use ingredients like these in their dishes). So if you are in an urban area and can locate some of these places, maybe even work out a deal with the manager to come by and collect them, there's a possibility that it can be profitable for you. As far as transporting them, you should thing about investing in a portable can crusher and a box of large garbage bags if you think you can make up for the costs. There was one story out of Sweden that I recently read where a man was believed to be homeless because he collected cans and wore dirty clothes, but it turned out that he was a millionaire. After he died, his family discovered that he invested most of the small amounts he made each day into the stock market and bonds, and this eventually grew into a fortune of over $1 million. He even had over 100 gold bars in his possession, as well as a house that was fully paid off.
With the emergence of the internet, new ways to make money have opened up for those who are homeless but who have access to the net. To use the internet when you're homeless, you should get a library card at a public library that has lots of computers. Library cards are free and are usually approved the same day or within a few weeks of when you apply. If you have a little money, you can also invest in a netbook or cheap laptop. You can find used ones on craigslist and ebay, but if you feel more comfortable getting a new one, there's a few decent netbooks out there for as low as $250 (Target, Fry's, Walmart and many other stores sell them). Once you have a netbook, you can use the free wi-fi access at public places. Sometimes, you don't even need to be inside a store or building to receive the wifi signal. I've used Wendy's wifi from outside, while sitting in my car before.
Now when it comes to making money online, there's lots of ways to do it, you just have to be able to recognize and stay away from the scams. You should never buy into any "work from home" guides or cd's. In fact, you should never pay for any advice on how to make a living from being on the computer. By googling and doing enough research, you will figure out how many people do it. Just don't expect it to be easy. Often times, it takes many months of hard work before you start seeing any income from it. I like to think of it as like an online farm, in which you plant things and tend to them, then harvest them months later. But when you're out on the streets, you usually won't have the time or patience for something like that. So here are a few ways to make money the same day, or at least get paid within a few weeks like a normal job would.
Writing articles is one of the best ways to earn money, because there's so many companies and private website owners out there who need people to write or rewrite articles for them. If you know how to use a computer and how to talk about things, you can easily make extra money doing this. You can completely survive off doing this, just don't expect to get rich from it. Most people want articles to be between 400 and 600 words. That may seem like a lot, but it's not. In fact, I've just written close to 100 words already in this paragraph so far. There's many different websites that buy paid articles including AssociatedContent, Ehow, Hubpages, and Helium. These sites typically pay between $3 and $10 an article, though some can pay much more. It will typically take your average person a half hour to an hour to write a full article. So if you spend 5 or 6 hours a day doing this, you'll have more than enough mula to get by. When you write for these places, some of them will allow you to write about anything you want and then they will either accept or decline them, while others will give you specific topics to write about (these ones usually pay more). They will usually pay you either through Paypal, Check, or bank account wire transfer. There are also many websites like GetaFreelancer and Elance where website developers, like myself, actually pay people to write articles for us. On these types of sites, a person posts a job that they need someone to do for them, and then workers who are willing to do the job will bid on it. There are literally hundreds and thousands of these jobs out there, so even though there is fierce competition, you should be able to find some decent work. The people who post the jobs will usually specify how they intend to pay, or what their deadline for the job is or what they expect. Some may not even want original work, but may ask you to rewrite articles for them in your own words. This is probably easier than writing your own originals, though it typically pays much less (somewhere around $1 to $3 per reworded article is average pay).
Flip Domain Names
Another great way to make money online while you're on the streets is by selling domain names. The domain name industry is a multi-million dollar market, in which people invest in domain names by buying, trading, and selling them. Now some of these names can be very expensive, and you should really learn what you're doing before you jump in the water. But there's a few places like Ebay where the cheaper, less valuable ones are sold. It's here that you can make a few dollars each day to get by. You shouldn't set your sights to high, because that would involve investing more. You should focus on the names that you see for sale that have lots of bids already (check the person's feedback and inspect their profile to make sure they didn't just setup a dummy account to bid on their own items). Once you find some names that have lots of bids in the $10 to $50 range, you should try to win them if you think you can sell them again for a few dollars more. Even if you only make $5 a day, it's better than nothing and you can buy lunch and dinner with that. I sometimes look for values, such as 4 letter .com domain names. These are very popular but prices fluctate a lot between $10 and $60. So every day, I try to find one or two for somewhere in that price, and then sell them a week later for $8 to $20 more. Ebay fees are usually only between .25 cents to $1.50 when you're selling items in this price range. Paypal fees are pretty similar to these, so if you sell an item for $25, you should expect to give around $2 to $3 to Ebay and Paypal.
Sell Plasma and Sperm
These are two ways to make money while helping others who are less fortunate. The only downside to these methods of getting paid for your time is that you must be healthy and disease free in both situations. To locate plasma or sperm donation centers, you can use google and you should have no problem finding them. There are thousands of websites out there with maps and directions on where to find them. But of course, if you live around bigger cities, you're much more likely to have these types of companies in your area. Plasma locations seem to be especially populated on the east coast, as I've looked at several maps and noticed a stark difference between the number of companies on both coasts.
Plasma is basically a substance that is found in your blood, that other people may need when they get into accidents or have diseases and their bodies are unable to produce more. There's medical clinics and labs all across the country that accept plasma donations and pay cash out upon each visit. But how much you can make depends on the company and how much plasma you can give them. The average rate of pay for each visit is around $30-$40, but I've read reviews on the internet in which some people state they've been paid as low as $10. I've also read that some places don't pay at all, so you should call around if you can and ask each place if they pay or not. It will usually take around an hour or two for them to collect your plasma. During the collection process, you are put in a room and they hook IV's up to your arms. As one IV is pulling your blood out and seperating the plasma from it, the other IV is pumping that blood back into your body so you don't lose any blood. Apparently, plasma will regenerate in your body within hours or a few days. Most donation clinics won't let you donate more than 2 times a week, because they want to give your body time to regenerate more so you can remain healthy and still have some to donate the next time you go. People who decide to do this should eat before they go, as it can drain your energy levels and make you feel tired afterwards. The only main danger that a person may encounter in doing this, is when you go too many times and the people administering the IV's or needles don't know what they are doing. Too many needle pokes in your arm in the same place can cause your vein to become damaged. But I think if you only do it once or twice a month, you should be clear of any risks of this happening.
Now when it comes to donating sperm, I've never personally done this and there isn't as many donation centers for this as there is for plasma and blood. Also, only a very low percentage of people who apply to become donors are actually approved, because they require that your sperm is very high quality. If you don't mind the idea of knowing there might be a kid out there with your genes in them, you can make some extra bucks by doing this. The typical pay is anywhere between $5 to $60, depending on the quality and quantity of your sperm. Some companies advertise that they pay thousands a year for people who donate regularly (like a few times a week or more), but it all depends on where you go. You should always check a company out to make sure it's a qualified place before going. If you're worried about what people might think of you, there are many places that allow you to donate anonymously. You'll just have to call around and ask them if that's an option, and what methods are available for you to do it that way.
Become a Human Guinea Pig
If you don't mind going through experimental trials and surveys to help further science and medicine, there's a few companies out there that will actually pay you to do just that. The most well-known one would be Benchmark Research. They are only located in certain cities though (Austin, Fort Worth, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Angelo, and San Francisco). Basically, they will pay you to try out new types of medications, or just to track your daily routine and how things affect you. They have all different types of trials and things to participate in, but you must apply first and they will call you when something becomes available that you can do. If you have a certain disease or medical problem, such as chronic headaches, bladder problems, HIV, insomnia, then you are probably more likely to receive a call from them then if you are a healthy person. But they do have trials and surveys for healthy people as well, so if you're game, it probably wouldn't hurt to apply. I've never personally gone through them or known anybody who has, so most of my research on them is from things I've read on the internet and in the news. I've read from a number of different places that they do not run first-test trials on people. In other words, they aren't testing medicine out for the first time on the people who apply to be participants. Apparently, everything has been tested on people and animals already and determined to be safe, but if they want you to engage in a medication trial, it may not be FDA approved. I can't say if any of this is true because my sources are primarily from the internet, so you should definitely do some investigative work on this company first before you decide to participate in any of their trials. The pay seems to be very good however, at anywhere from $50 to a couple thousand dollars for each study. I heard that people who participated in a swine-flu vaccine trial earned around $1,300 just for that one study. So it does sound promising, but I would proceed with caution.
How to Eat
Eating cheap will be crucial to your survival as a nomad. If you're making money, then it shouldn't be too difficult to find cheap sources of food. You should definitely locate all the Mcdonalds restaurants in your immediate area and take advantage of their dollar menu. Try to not eat more than you need each time you go. If you're a vegetarian, or a pescetarian like me, it may be tougher for you to find cheap food. You can also buy Ramen noodles in a cup from most convenience stores like 7-11 and Circle K, but it may be cheaper if you get them in a grocery store. You can then use the hotwater from the coffee machine in those stores to fill your cup up so the noodles can soften. But keep mind that this is very unhealthy and should only be something you do once in awhile. There are virtually no good absorbable nutrients in a cup of Ramen noodles, so you should make sure you eat normal foods in between eating those.
If you don't have any money, there are many soup kitchens and homeless shelters across the nation that can supply you with food. The only problem is, many of these places have a limited supply, so they are on a first-come,first-serve type system. So if you think you won't be able to afford food on a specific day, you should get to these places early to ensure you get a meal. Some of these types of places may require you to help in cooking or cleaning up if you eat there. Some churches may not shelter people, but give out bags of food to those who are needy. The best way to find places like these is to google "food for homeless" and put your city name next to that phrase, or to visit your local Department of Social Services. If you're low income or have no place to stay, you should also realize that you may be eligible for food stamps. You can also ask about these or apply for them at the same department, or go online and visit the Government's website.
Where to Sleep
As far as sleeping, you need to setup a plan and lay all your options out. If you don't have friends or family who will let you crash there, you'll have to think of something else. There are a few websites online where strangers will let you stay in their home, such as couchsurfing.org, but you must join the website and become a member. Also, these aren't places where you can stay for more than one night, so you shouldn't expect to get too comfy. It should only be used as an absolute last resort, and you will probably have to pretend that you are traveling because clubs like that are based around traveler and backpack communities.
Sleep in Your Car
If you have a car, it may be best to just sleep in your car, or trade it in for a small van if you can afford one, just try to stay in a small area so you don't waste too much gas. For instance, you could leave your car parked in a large grocery store or Walmart parking lot, and move it at night (unless it's a 24-hour Walmart and you think the manager wouldn't have a problem or notice your car out there every night). While it's not really safe to sleep in your car in certain areas, you should do some research to locate some areas that are more upscale that have free 24 hour parking. For example, San Jose, CA is a pretty safe city and there's places where people can leave their vehicles in the parking lots near the light rail train stations. These are called "park and ride" lots and they were designed for people who are meeting others or who are leaving their cars at the lots. I believe the maximum time you can park there is 24 hours, but it may be more.
If you don't have a car or vehicle, you can invest as little as $30 and buy a tent. The beauty of a tent is that they can be packed up and smaller ones are pretty light, so you can carry it everywhere you go. The only downside is that you are more exposed to the elements outside and it may be hard to find places to camp, as well as dangerous in some situations. National Parks are probably the best bet, but can be very expensive and isolated from places with food. You should check the camping rates online for the National Parks in your area. In California the lower priced spots cost around $15, with only a few in the $5 range (which are probably miles away from any type of civilization and food). If you search enough on the internet, you'll find websites that list free places to camp, but they are usually far and few between. If you have a reliable mode of transportation, such as a car or a motorbike, there are even more isolated areas in the United States where people can camp for free, which are known as BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) or public government land. BLM land is owned by the government and you don't need a permit or permission to camp there, but you should first check some credible maps to ensure that where you are camping is indeed BLM land. It may even be a good idea to check with the Bureau of Land Management themselves, though it's not necessary if you feel that you have a credible map that outlines which areas are private property and which areas are BLM. If you decide to camp for free on BLM land, then you should contact the Bureau of Land Management to see what rules there are for the general area in which you plan to camp. They will usually require you to leave the area after a certain amount of days, such as 15 days, and stay out of the area before you can return again. But if you keep a low profile and nobody notices you, I doubt you would have any problems staying for longer lengths of time. One of the most famous BLM areas where many people camp is called Slab City in Southern California. It's located in a desert region that is far from any major cities, where the heat can be unbearable during summer. However, many travelers in both tents and RV's camp in this area year-round and especially when during the winter season when the temperature is a bit cooler. There is a small town nearby called Niland, so if you ever decided to camp in this area, you could ride a bicycle to Niland whenever you need supplies. If you've ever watched the movie Into the Wild, there's a few scenes where the main character visits Slab City and stays there for a little bit. Just keep in mind that when you're in the desert, the hot weather isn't the only problem you may encounter. There are many poisonous black widow spiders, rattlesnakes, and a wide range of other dangerous critters that you should know how to recognize so that you can avoid them.
Another option is youth hostels, though they aren't as common in the United States as in other countries and not as cheap either. But hostel rates are pretty similar to camping rates, between $5 and $15. You may get a private room, but for those prices in the U.S., that would be rare. Most people paying those types of prices would get a bed in a dorm where other people are. Most of the people would probably be young, like in their 20's and 30's. But I've heard of a few places where it's mostly older people who are homeless that take advantage of the cheap costs. To find hostels, you can use Google if you have internet access. They would be listed as hotels or motels in a phone book, so it'd be more difficult to tell the difference if you go that route. To book a bed or a room, you would usually have to make a reservation over the internet, by phone, or simply walking in there a few days ahead of time, though some of them may have a bed or room available immediately.
If you don't have money for a tent, camping spot, or a room in a hostel, you can visit homeless shelters and see if you can get a place to stay. Many of them will allow you to sleep there for free as long as you get there early. Some may even require you to do work around the building to pay your way, which is not uncommon. To locate shelters in your area, just google "homeless shelters" and the name of your city next to that phrase, or visit your city's Department of Social Services and ask them for a list. It may even be best if you travel to the largest city you can, as there may be more variety in shelters to choose from, in case you can't get a bed at one of them. Just keep in mind that if you do this, you'll be sleeping in a dorm room with many other homeless people, probably in bunk beds. So if you have any belongings or anything valuable in your pockets, you may want to sleep with one eye open or put them somewhere where they can't be taken from you while you're sleeping.
Where to Live
When it comes to areas to live in, you should choose a place that has a good average temperature that you can live in, in case you ever need to be outside for long periods of time. The northeast states like New York and Pennsylvania probably aren't some of the best places you would want to be living when it snows. Places that are too hot like Florida and Arizona may not be suitable either. Try to find a place that has a nice balance, with mild winters and summers. But even more importantly, you should try to relocate to a city or area that has lots of businesses and other things nearby. If you need to find a homeless shelter or something cheap to eat, you don't want to be living out in the boonies where there's not many options.
If you have a little money saved up and feel adventuresome, you may even want to leave the country and relocate to somewhere that's cheaper. Just make sure that you have enough money to get back or move on to somewhere else if you have to leave for any reason. For example, Thailand is much cheaper than the United States as far as living, and with the passport and plane ticket, it would cost you somewhere between $800 and $1000 total to get there. You could rent an apartment there in a rural area for as little as $90 a month. A beach house could be as cheap as $200 a month. The food there would only cost you maybe $3 a day if you were being conservative. But there aren't many facilities for the homeless there, and getting a visa to stay longer than 30 days can be a problem for some people. In this case, you would either have to have enough money to get back to the USA if you had to leave, or to travel on to Malaysia which allows Americans to stay for 6 months without a visa and which is also very cheap. But there are many places around the world like that, even as close as South America, though probably not as cheap. Visas are the main problem you would run into. So if you're considering doing anything like this, you should research the visa policies online before heading out.
Where to Go to the Bathroom
Obviously, when you're homeless, you won't have the same access to a private bathroom that a person with a home would have. So when the going gets tough, the tough improvise. If you're in a public area, you can just use public restrooms like in stores and other businesses. In smaller buildings you'll be more noticeable if you're not buying anything there, so you may want to locate the big stores such as Walmart, Target, and Shopping Malls. Maybe draw up a map of where they all are in your immediate area. If you're sleeping in a car and you're a male and have no place to go to the bathroom, you should train yourself to only sleep at night by getting up real early in the morning. This way, you will most likely be sleeping when everything is closed, and you won't have to use the restroom as much around that time. In case of emergency, you should keep a plastic bottle in your vehicle and dispose of it the next day by bringing it into a public restroom and dumping it's contents into a toilet while throwing the bottle in the garbage (make sure the cap is on good so nobody has to smell it). You should also find out where 24 hour stores such as Super Walmart are in your area in case you do need to use the bathroom late at night. Some convenience stores like 7-11 have public restrooms as well.
Where to Shower
Showering will probably be your biggest obstacle when you're homeless. If you're staying in a group home or shelter, then they will probably have showers there that you can use. Even if you aren't staying there, many will let you use their shower, so you can just stop by one like twice a week or so. If you're making money, you can sign up for a membership at a local gym for as low as $30 or at a YMCA, and use their showers. If you don't want people to know you're showering because you're homeless, you can just show up and work out for a little bit or exercise and then use the shower like everybody else does. If you're camping in or near a national park, they usually have showers available at most campsites or in the general admission area. People who live near beaches can take advantage of the showers they have as well. Majority of public beaches have showers for people to use for when they get out of the water and want to wash the saltwater off. It's probably a good idea to invest in a pair of swimming trunks or a bathing suit, as it's illegal to shower nude in these places (as well as embarrassing). If you think it'll be a long time before you can find a shower, you should consider buying wet wipes from your local pharmacy or Walmart. Wet wipes, also known as moist towlettes and wet naps, are prepackaged clothes that are either soaked in water or isopropyl alcohol. They were created for parents who wanted to clean the undersides of their babies while changing their diapers, but that doesn't mean you can't use them to clean yourself with. Obviously, it would be difficult to clean your entire body with a few of them, so if you do ever decide to this, you should just try to clean the most smelly areas and hold off on the other areas until you can find a shower.
When deciding what to pack when you're homeless, you should only carry the bare essentials you will need and put the rest in storage, as mentioned earlier. This should include at least 3 pairs of clothing (2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of shorts, and 3 shirts), 4 to 5 pairs of socks (socks are small so you can pack more than other types of clothing. If you've ever seen Forrest Gump, then you know how important socks can be to people who are constantly traveling or in living in rough conditions), moist towlettes, a roll of toilet paper (for emergencies), a small portable umbrella (if possible, not necessary), a sweater or jacket (only if you think you'll be in cold weather), and if there's still room, a blanket or sleeping bag. You should put everything into a bag or backpack, but make sure you cover everything in a large garbage bag or other type of plastic bag first, just in case it rains.
Where to Clean Your Clothes
Since you're probably packing light, you won't have as many clothes as people who live in apartments or homes. So you'll probably need to clean your clothes twice as often. This can be expensive, so if possible, you should wear an undergarment or shirt beneath your nice clothes, so you don't get sweat and body odors on them. This will help eliminate the amount of times you'll need to do your laundry. Laundromats (known as Laundrettes or Launderettes in the UK and Europe) are one of the only options available to you for cleaning your clothes if you don't have friends or family who will let you use their machines. These places can vary in prices depending on where you go, so you should check the prices on the machines in a few different areas. If you happen to be camping near a clean source of freshwater, such as a lake, then this may serve as a temporary solution, in that you can just move your dirty clothes around in the water to get some of the surface dirt and smells out. But makes sure it's a safe area with no gators in the water or any potential dangers like that.
Where to Get Medical Care
If you become hurt or seriously ill, you can visit an emergency room anywhere in the United States. By law, they are not allowed to deny anybody and must run the necessary tests and checks to make sure you're not seriously sick or injured. They can't hold you there for not paying either. So if you can't pay on the day you visit one, they will bill you at whatever address you give them. If you don't pay, then they can sue you (if they can find you that is, and if you own any assets which they can sue for, which I'm sure you wouldn't if you're homeless) or it will go into collections and a debt collection agency will try to contact you and get you to pay up. For non-emergency problems, many cities and counties have programs available for low income individuals to get health care. For example, I live in San Jose, California, and I was sick but was only making about $500 a month. I looked up "low income health care" and "free health care clinics" on Google for my area, and after about 20 minutes of searching, I found a program that the city offers. I went down there and they gave me a ct scan on my abdomen and did blood work and checked my urine. They then established that I had an ulcer with gastritis and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. The whole thing only ended up costing me about $15 out of pocket. The city or the state covered the rest (Well I should say taxpayers, but I paid taxes in California for many years so I didn't feel so bad about it.).
How to Get Back on Your Feet
Your ultimate goal while you're living without a home should be to get back on your feet and become successful eventually. While being homeless is seen as an unfortunate situation by most people, you should use it to your advantage and view it as an opportunity to save your money up. While there are many churches and city services that have programs that work with employers to find you a job, that isn't your only option when it comes to getting back on your feet. There are also various labor agencies that do temp-to-perm work, and if you're creative, you can probably find ways to make money by contracting your services out to individuals who may need them. But in my experience, working on creating your own business is probably your best bet. As I mentioned before, the internet is one of the best ways to make money while you're living on the streets, but it's also a great way to plan for your future. While you're writing articles, or selling domains, or doing whatever you have to do to get by each day, you should also set aside a few hours in the library after that to work on your own business online. Start up your own website, and sell virtual things or try to figure out ways to sell physical things and send them to people. You can even start a blog and talk about a specific topic you know a lot about, and once you have lots and lots of original content posted and visitors coming in, you can sell something next to your content, or you can place ads on there and make money when people click on your ads. Google Adsense is just one of many programs online that can provide ads for your website or blog. The key is to have original content, so visitors can find you. Don't copy any sentences from other websites, because then Google will penalize your website and nobody will be able to find your website in search results. But this is just one of many ways to start up your own business. It doesn't have to be an internet business, it could also be the old-fashioned way with a physical one. Regardless of what you decide to do in the end, you should always have a plan for getting back on your feet. If you've never seen the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness, it's basically the true story of Chris Gardner, a salesman who became homeless and went on to become a very successful stockbroker after getting on his feet. Who knows, maybe one day you'll be able to write a book about your experiences and tell your rags to riches story to the world too.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 persons may be found homeless on any given night in Los Angeles County. Unaccompanied youth, from minors through age 24, with a heavy concentration in the Hollywood area, are estimated to make up about 6,000 of these.
Although homeless people may be found throughout the county, the largest percentages are in the central Los Angeles area (27%) and in South Los Angeles (16%). Most are from the Los Angeles area and stay in or near the communities from which they came. About 8% are veterans. African Americans make up 40% of Los Angeles County's homeless population - disproportionately high compared to the percentage of African Americans in Los Angeles County overall (about 8 percent).
Other Facts About the Homeless Population in Los Angeles County:
RaceGeneral PopulationHomeless PopulationLatino48%35%
Other2%3%Source: Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Homeless Population Counts
By the Los Angeles Homeless Services AuthoritySince 2005, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, an agency of the City of Los Angeles, has conducted numerical and demographic counts of homelessness, not only within the city of Los Angeles, but throughout Los Angeles County. Over the course of three days in January, this count is conducted with the help of thousands of volunteers branching out throughout Los Angeles County.
Homeless Population Counts in Los Angeles County
All Los Angeles County & City of Los AngelesYearCity of Los AngelesAll Los Angeles County
2005---65,28753,42911,858Homeless Population Counts in Los Angeles County
By Service Planning AreasYearAntelope Valley
(SPA 1)San Fernando Valley
(SPA 2)San Gabriel Valley
(SPA 3)Metro LA
(SPA 4)West LA
(SPA 5)South LA
(SPA 6)East LA County
(SPA7 )South Bay/
Map of Los Angeles County Service Planning Areas
Percentages in tables that follow are against total homeless population for that specific geographic.
2017 Ethnic PercentagesCity of Los AngelesAll County of Los Angeles*African American16,080 (47%)21,921 (40%)
American Indian/Alaska Native325 (1%)713 (1%)
Asian283 (1%)607 (1%)
Hispanic/Latino10,422 (30%)19,391 (35%)
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander97 (0.3%)143 (0.3%)
White/Caucasian6,297 (18%)11,151 (20%)
Multi-Racial/Other684 (2%)1,262 (2%)
2017 Demographic CharacteristicsCity of Los AngelesAll Los Angeles CountyVeterans2,518 (7%)4,828 (8%)
Chronically Homeless Individuals10,617 (31%)16,916 (29%)
Chronically Homeless Family Members136 (0.4%)615 (1%)
Substance Abuse Disorder6,321 (20%)9,285 (18%)
Brain Injury3,301 (11%)4,691 (9%)*
Persons with HIV/AIDS897 (3%)1,160 (2%)
Serious Mental Illness10,617 (31%)15,728 (30%)
Physical Disability5,894 (19%)8,829 (16%)*
Developmental Disability2,104 (7%)3,213 (6%)*
Domestic Violence Experience11,277 (36%)17,945 (34%)* Accumulated numbers for all Service Planning Areas. These do not necessarily equal county-wide totals.
According to the 2017 homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, there were in Los Angeles County 184 unaccompanied, unsheltered homeless minors (under age 18); 3,969 unsheltered transitional age youth (age 18-24) not in family units; 946 sheltered transitional age youth.
Source: Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Also see: Shelter Partnership, Inc
Is it less costly to help the homeless get off the street than to leave them there? Weingart Center, in a 2015 interview with Fast Company, proposed that an "investment" of $10,000 can help a homeless person obtain housing, food, job training and ultimately a job, along with support services to acheive that end. On the other hand, leaving a homeless person on the street costs Los Angeles an average of $35,000 each year in medical and emergency services, mental health care, social services and law enforcement. Jailing a homeless person pushes that cost up by a third.
Most people think of homelessness in terms of Steve Buscemi's character from Big Daddy -- creepy, potentially crazy people reaping the benefits of a lifetime of bad decisions. Well, in the summer and fall of 2009 in a little town in Montana, I was "lucky" enough to peer through a window at the world of chronic homelessness while experiencing some temporary homelessness of my own. Here's what I hope you never find out ...
It Doesn't Take Much to Wind Up HomelessJupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Read NextTrue Story: I Was A Hippie In San Francisco In The SixtiesQuick question: If you came home from work one day and found that your apartment was gone -- like if it got sucked into a portal to hell like the house at the end of Poltergeist-- where would you go? If you say you'd stay with family, what if you had just moved to a new state, away from everyone? If you say you'd crash at a friend's house, what if the only people you knew were your roommates in said apartment? If your answer is you'd go to a hotel, that might be fine for a night, but remember that the rates are 10 times what you were paying in rent, so good luck saving the cash you'll need to put down a deposit on a new apartment.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images"Of course we accept cigarette butts and burrito receipts as legal tender."
Well, I didn't have an answer when the above happened to me (minus the portal to hell part). After three months in a new town, it turned out my roommate's rent checks had been bouncing, and my landlord never bothered to notify us until he showed up with eviction papers. I worked a job that kept me away for a week at a time, so one day I just came home to find all my possessions boxed up in the garage. It was as simple as that -- for the first time in my life, the sun went down and I had no idea where I was going to sleep. And it was the same for the next night, and the next week, and the next month ...
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AdvertisementI had moved to Montana after finishing up my worthless liberal arts degree. I moved in with some cool folks my age and started a six-month contract job. It was an AmeriCorps position with weeklong shifts working in the wilderness, building hiking trails and whatnot, followed by a week off to spend in town. I was halfway through my contract when I found myself homeless. There are people with worse stories, of course -- many homeless are mentally ill, or maybe their parents kicked them out of the house for being gay when they were teenagers -- the point is, the line between where you are now and sleeping in your car is much, much thinner than you think.
Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty ImagesSometimes it isn't so much a "line" as "peeing in your boss's coffee."
In my case, I could've been more wary of my housemates and had a better backup plan in place. But as I pointed out in the opening paragraph, very few of us do. You've had a home your whole life; you just take it for granted. Besides, it wasn't like I was unemployed, right? But as I found out ...
Having a Job Won't Save YouComstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
So I didn't have a home -- but I had a car, so I had a place to sleep. And since I wasn't paying rent, I was pocketing the difference, which meant I could save up for a new place, right? Hell, it's so easy that you have to wonder why people bother being homeless at all!
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com"Have you considered a Prius?"
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10. Sleeping Bag
A sleeping bag – preferably one made of down because it is lightweight and very compact. This is the most vital piece of equipment you will need. You can either stash the bag, or carry it with you. Carrying it with you makes you more mobile because you can sleep wherever you end up. If you can’t get a good quality down bag, double bagging two poor quality ones will do the job (though definitely not as well).
Matting is also needed (preferably plastic and lightweight) – you must keep your sleeping bag off the ground away from the damp. If you can’t find or buy matting, at least make sure you put your sleeping bag on cardboard – putting it directly on the concrete will result in you feeling like you are sleeping on a block of ice. The cold can cause your back muscles to freeze up and numb and the result is that when you stretch in the night you can tear them – potentially leading to months of difficulty walking (and walking is what you need to be doing every day).
A backpack – consider keeping a smaller backpack for use during the day and a larger one that you can stash. You should keep in mind that some states in the US have “camping bans” which make it illegal to walk around the city with a large camping backpack. One homeless man was even refused service at Denny’s because they “do not serve people with backpacks” – clearly discrimination against the homeless – but you need to be aware of this. A small day backpack will spare you all of these problems.
You will need: soap, a toothbrush, razors, at the very least. These you should keep with you in your day backpack. It is also worth trying to score a mirror of some kind; just because you are living on the street doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your appearance – you will certainly find life easier when dealing with non-homeless people.
6. Useful Items
Some extra small items are very handy to have when you live on the street. For example, you will want a needle and thread to fix minor tears and loose buttons – this can save you a lot of trouble trying to find new clothes – especially in winter. You will also probably want a couple of pens or pencils (you never know when you might need these). It goes without saying that an essential item is a can opener – without one of these you limiting the types of food you can buy (and canned goods are often the cheapest). You will also want a pair of scissors which you can use for trimming your own hair, cutting your nails, and for any other task that may require the use of something sharp. A bottle opener and / or a corkscrew is also useful. And finally, a box of matches or a lighter is essential.
Most homeless people prefer to layer their clothes. This means you wear all of your various layers of clothes during the night, but as the day progresses, you can remove each layer successively. This allows you to keep cool when you need, and warm if it gets too cold. A good pair of leg warmers is recommended for wearing under your pants. In addition, you will need a good scarf and a hooded sweatshirt.
In summer you will need a baseball cap to protect you from the sun – this is essential to prevent you from suffering sun stroke and even potentially getting skin cancer from overexposure. It can also help to conceal a head of hair badly in need of a cut which can be very off-putting to people you may need to deal with. In winter you will need a good warm ski knit hat. A lot of the body’s heat escapes through the head, therefore this is one of the most important things you will need in winter.
You absolutely must have a good quality pair of shoes – especially in winter. If you have a hole in your shoe and your socks get wet, you will have a miserable few days with wet feet – this can, of course, lead to health problems that you want to avoid. If you do not have quality shoes, forget buying beer – use all the money you can muster to get good shoes without holes. Make sure you wear socks – shoes rubbing on the skin can cause lesions. One homeless guy in the local soup kitchen had been wearing dress shoes that were ill fitting without socks for months – his ankles were covered in festering sores which were being scraped by the shoes every time he walked. It was too late for him to do anything about it – don’t let this happen to you!
Plastic garbage bags are essential to life on the streets. They will be raincoats in winter, and protection from the sun in summer. You can use them to protect your matting from the wet ground. A tip for getting free bags: janitors in large buildings often keep spare bags under the garbage can for easy replacement when emptying. If you make sure you take just one or two per garbage can no one will notice and you will have a constant supply on hand. You will probably also want to keep a few smaller bags on hand just in case you have a need for them.
1. Miscellaneous extras
It is very important that you travel light – you want to keep your belongings to a minimum and the items above cover virtually everything you will need. Having said that, you should consider carrying a few other smaller items that can be invaluable. For example, priority mailing envelopes (free at the post office) are great for storing things and they are durable and water proof. You may also want to keep a bottle or two to store things like coffee. Forget things like flashlights – they are heavy, the batteries run out, and they show everyone exactly where you are – and you probably want to remain fairly anonymous and blend in on the streets.
Other Survival Lists
If you enjoyed this list, you might also like our other survival lists:
Top 10 Prison Survival Tips
Top 7 Zombie Survival Tips
Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Bear Encounter
Top 15 Shipwreck Survival Tips
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