Q:

What do I do if I become homeless?

A:

The first step if you should become homeless is to find a safe and secure place to eat, sleep and shower. This may be at the home of a family member or friend, or in a homeless shelter. The second step is to come up with a plan of action to change the situation.

The cause of homelessness can vary from mental illness to substance abuse, to a lack of affordable housing to job loss. Coming up with and implementing a plan that addresses the root cause should outline each small step to take in order to secure a home. This could mean finding mental health services, applying for temporary housing or for rent vouchers, or searching for a job. A payment plan for any debts owed should be set up as well in order to keep on top of credit as much as possible.

If food is an immediate concern, there are food pantry and soup kitchen directories for every state. These can be found online or through local social service agencies. The homeless are eligible for the SNAP/food stamp program even if they do not have a mailing address and are receiving free meals. Many religious organizations offer help for the homeless and work with local agencies to coordinate services.

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