A Day In The Life Of A Homeless Person

By Anna Collins 1 year ago

1. Waking up at the crack of dawn

Image source/ oneequalworldAs a homeless person, my day usually starts by either being moved on by someone or waking early to avoid the brunt of authorities or police from wherever I stayed. That being said, waking up isn't like waking from a deep sleep. It's waking from an interrupted sleep filled with anxiety.

2. It all depends on the time

Image source/ Middle East MonitorThis all depends on the season. Because in the summer things get much busier and much earlier. As soon as the daylight comes - which is extremely early, life starts bustling around. In the winter, things are a bit later because everything remains dark.

3. Getting up is hard

Image source/ Sky NewsWaking up and getting up off the hard surface of whatever floor or bench you've spent is hard. And, because your body gets cold through the night it adds to the stiffness of your muscles and bones. Once you're awake it's then time to find a bathroom.

4. Getting moved on

Image source/ hopeOften, we get woken up not so gently by either the owner of a doorway, or whoever is the authority in a place, and often it is the police. They make us move. Usually, the police arrive if someone has been there a while or there is a group. But, when I'm on my own I move a lot.

5. Packing up and moving

Image source/ calhealthreportWhen I have woken up, I then take whatever I have belongings wise (which is pretty much nothing) just a shabby old blanket and an old coat. It may not be much but it's extremely precious and saves your life in the cold. It's more than some homeless people have.

6. I then set off walking...

Image source/ IncI set off first thing, because I can't stay seated all day, the cold seeps through your bones and gives you a chill that you cannot shake. It's better to keep moving and that way you retain some heat. Plus, it's the only way to be able to discover any charity projects.

7. I try to head to a local charity

Image source/ exposingtruthIf I'm lucky, they'll be a charity project somewhere sometimes. For example, Salvation Army have a set up in certain locations where homeless people can head for breakfast.  When this happens, it is a huge relief because I am able to get some food in me, something hot like porridge. A lot of homeless people do not have access to these kinds of set ups.

8. Finding free facilities

Image source/ invisiblepeopleHere or at similar sanctions, there will be facilities where I can have a wash. Some days this is not available. And like I said, to some homeless people they never get this opportunity. But being able to take a shower is a huge blessing, to be able to get clean.

9. The general public

Image source/ terrycralleThroughout the day here is a lot of mixed responses from the public who you meet. But the most common is being ignored. It is a sad reality that people love to pretend you don't exist when you are homeless. There is a presumption by many that you are in this position through your own doing rather than being a tragedy which can happen to anybody at any time.

10. Trying to find a job

Image source/ OdysseyIt goes against a common stereotype of homeless people, that most of us spend the majority of our day trying to get a job. We will walk to local business after local business offering our help and services. Of course, without an address and the means to look presentable it is extremely difficult.

11. Finding work

Image source/ deseretFinding work as a homeless person can be the ticket out of that lifestyle. If someone is generous enough to give you a chance, you may have no facility to write a CV, or nowhere to go to groom yourself. But once somebody is given this chance it can mean that someone can afford to have a bed for the night.

12. Being mistreated by the public

Image source/ DailySabahBut even worse than being ignored by people as though we aren't really people, is being abused by people. Again, it's a sad fact that being beaten or mistreated or abused in some way is a very common experience as a homeless person. It has happened to me. A number of times.

13. Sometimes you can get contact with loved ones

Image source/ RecruiterSometimes, if there are facilities and help centres set up by charities then I can contact loved ones from time to time. There may be a phone we can use for a quick call. Or a computer we can use to send an email and let loved ones know that I am okay.

14. Speaking with family

Image source/ The New United Indian ExpressSpeaking to loved ones or family and friends can be hard. In some circumstances homeless people do not have good relationships with their family. In other cases, like me, some people have good relationships, but their family or friends may not be in a position to do so.

15. Meeting other homeless people

Image source/ ntdIt's inevitable that you get to know other homeless people in your area. Certain people have the same spots they stay. And it's also important for comradeship. When one of you is in trouble, it's good to know that you have someone there to be there for you.

16. Asking for money from strangers who might

Image source/ Shields GazetteNow not every homeless person does this. But for a couple of hours a day, I will try and gather together a tiny bit of money in order to buy some food or a drink or even pay for a bed for the night. When you ask for money from strangers, most people tend to ignore you. Apart from a few, kind, people.

17. Going to a public library

Image source/ The RichestSometimes in the day I will seek out a public library. They are free and it is a chance to go somewhere warm as well as use the facilities there for free, such as the toilet. And, if you are interested in reading or anything of the sort it is a good way to pass some hours of the day.

18. Lots of walking

Image source/ Unsplash As a homeless person I do a LOT of walking. Walking to find food, walking to find shelter, walking to keep warm...whatever the reason, a lot of time is spent walking. And it is hard to keep energy especially in the winter when you are hungry as well as cold.

19. People's kindness

Image source/ UNIladThere are some great people out there who will pass you a hot drink or a bit of food or pass you a couple of coins. In this case, I am extremely grateful for these small acts of kindness and generosity, which can make a MASSIVE difference to people's lives...

20. Eating leftover food

Image source/ englandshelterSome days, somebody kind will give you food, or you get some money - usually around a pound - to buy something to eat. Or, on a good day a meal at the charity. But some days I have nothing. This means it's best to always save a little bit of food when you have it - for the days you don't.

21. Violence on the streets

Image source/ FuturityIt is extremely common to witness or experience violence on the streets. It may be you, or it could be one of your friends. It is often the worst on weekends, when people come out drunk and start a kind of brawl. Alcohol makes violence against homeless people much worse, and they are an easy target because they are unprotected or lay down or sleeping.

22. Travelling around on public transport

Image source/ AM New YorkSometimes one of the best ways to kill time and avoid the freezing cold outside is public transport. If there is any free transport, for example a free bus, then doing a few loops on the bus is a better way to spend time than outside in the cold. It is a little bit of rest bite.

23. Finding somewhere to sleep

Image source/ Local Government AssociationTowards the end up the night, I often do not know where I will sleep because you get moved around too fast. So, often I do have to walk around for a long time before I can find somewhere that offers any kind of protection. A doorway for example, or a park bench.

24. Settling down for the night

Image source/ The IndependentWhen you do finally settle down somewhere for the night, you lay down your blanket and wrap your coat around you and any other materials you have. If you have cardboard, then that goes down first to stop the cold seeping through and offer some insulation.

25. Living in fear

Image source/ HuffPostBeing homeless is hard. And there are multiple factors which make it so. One of these is the constant living in fear. Not only are you in fear for your life in terms of how people treat homeless people. But you never know where you can next get food. Or how you'll manage the winter.

26. Disturbed nights

Image source/ truthdiveThen, you try and get some sleep whole you can. Hopefully, the are you found some kind of shelter is partially quiet. In some areas this is really hard. You then drift in and out of sleep. There are multiple interruptions, which include, the weather, noises and other factors.

27. Some nights you get no sleep

Image source/ New York PostOn some nights, either it is too cold, or the rain is pouring so heavily you can't avoid getting wet, you do not get any sleep. In these cases, it is more about sitting and waiting in the best area I can find and just waiting for the night to pass. Which can last a long time.

28. Sometimes you have to move in the night

Image source/ twentytwowordsSometimes, I will find myself having to move spots. This could be because somebody comes home and find you on the doorway. Or, because one person or a group of people find you and start harassing you. If you get away unscathed, then you have to move on to get out of the way.

29. Having a tent makes a HUGE difference

Image source/ citizenfenlandOnce you manage to get a tent, or rather IF you manage to get a tent, the nights are much more bearable. It allows you to carry your own shelter, so that if you get moved your shelter comes with you. And it protects against the cold and the breeze and the rain.

30. Wake up and start again

Image source/ NBC newsOne thing about being homeless is the monotony. If you are not physically broken by living on the streets, then you could well be mentally broken. Knowing that after the hard night, you have to do it all over again is really hard. Not knowing when or if your break will come.

31. Every Day, Thousands Of People Wake Homeless

Image Source / Wired UKHaving a home is something we take for granted, but it's not only the shelter - having access to food, warmth and genuinely just feeling safe is day-to-day normality for most of us. We might not even realise that, at the same time we're waking up, there are thousands of homeless people waking up, too.

32. There Is No Set Routine For Every Homeless Person

Image Source / DoSomething.orgThere are many experiences which homeless people will share, but there isn't a typical or average day for every single homeless person. People will be in different circumstances, different locations and have different levels of vulnerability. Many other factors like health, age and employment can also come into it.

33. Cold Weather May Mean An Earlier Start

Image Source / EachOtherFor most homeless people, the day starts very early, but the weather can also affect how early. If it's colder weather, many homeless people can wake up even earlier to try and find warmth and somewhere to wash before other people wake up and the area gets busy.

34. Some Homeless People May Get Up Early So They Can Use Public Toilets

Image Source / Time OutBeing able to use public toilets for the toilets themselves and for cleaning is something must homeless people will look for on a daily basis. And it could be that their day needs to start even earlier - around 5.30am - so that they can wait by public toilets to use them.

35. But Use Of The Toilets Can Depend On The Kindness Of Others

Image Source / Leicester MercuryA homeless person wanting to use public toilets before they officially open or before anyone else arrives so that they can get cleaned up and use the facilities in private can depend on the sympathy or kindness of those responsible for the toilets, like janitors, and whether they say yes or no.

36. Around An Estimated 25% Of Homeless People Can Also Have Employment

Image Source / The Salvation ArmyHomelessness doesn't always mean the person doesn't have a job, and for around 25% (estimated) of homeless people, their day can include a work shift. Others who don't already have employment might spend time in their day searching for job listing using free public WiFi, or stop by businesses themselves.

37. Some Libraries Where Homeless People Seek Shelter Actually Employ Social Workers

Image Source / The GuardianThe library is an essential place for a homeless person in terms of free computer access, shelter and warmth. Some libraries also employ social workers, too, which can be a great resource for homeless people visiting the center.

38. Homelessness Can Happen To Public School Students, Too

Image Source / The HillIt's estimated that a whopping 1.3 million public school students can actually experience homelessness at the same time as their studies. It's well-known that students don't have a lot of money and live off very cheap food and drink, but in extreme circumstances, they could face insecurity with their student housing or experience homelessness.

39. Their Days Can Still Follow A Set Pattern And Routine

Image Source / BBCMost of us have a set routine for our day to day lives on what we need to do and where we need to be, but homeless people can also have a set routine, too. In fact, they might need that routine just as much as we all do. This routine can include patterns which are familiar to them, as well as a routine that keeps them safe based on what they've learned.

40. Homeless People Can Also Find Dental Services From Shelters And Missions

Image Source / North Wales LiveFor homeless people, it's not just about the daily threats of living on the streets, but also the everyday healthcare routines we take for granted, like dental care. Some shelters and missions will help homeless people by providing a dental service or healthcare services for those people who may not be able to get it anywhere else.

41. Public Transport Can Actually Provide Relief

Image Source / BBCMost of us would say we dread a busy public transport commute, or hate catching public transport in general, but for a homeless person, it could actually be a welcome relief. Travelling on public transport can give a temporary place of warmth and shelter or them.

42. Hygiene Is One Of The Biggest Challenges For Homeless People

Image Source / Homeless OxfordshireA shower every day, or every other day, is important for all of us - and once again, something you take for granted being able to have a daily wash. Lots of charities are working to help homeless hygiene, including a charity which works to put out mobile shower units which homeless people can use.

43. Landlords Have The Power To Make People Instantly Homeless

Image Source / The TimesIt's one thing to have your landlord turn around and give you a 3 month notice that you'll need to find a new property. It's another to be told without warning to leave and pack your stuff immediately. Landlords can cause tenants to instantly become homeless if they have nowhere else to go, and if the landlord is not acting lawfully.

44. Young People Can Become Homeless Because Of Family Problems

Image Source / YMCA EnglandWhen you have a warm and safe when you're a young person, this might be at the cost of having abusive parents or a problematic family. Some people can choose to leave a difficult home life, but are then faced with having nowhere else to live and ending up on the streets.

45. McDonald's Can Be A Go-To For Homeless People - But Not For The Food

Image Source / The MirrorIf a homeless person doesn't have any money, they can't hope to buy anything from McDonalds', no matter how cheap. But the famous 24/7 opening hours of most McDonald's across the world means that this is a go-to for homeless people looking to use the bathroom and clean themselves up at whatever hour.

46. Some Homeless People Might Not Even Want People To Look At Them

Image Source / ITVFor many homeless people, a passerby ignoring them and never being looked at is a difficult experience. For others, they can actually prefer nobody to look at them because they can be ashamed or embarrassed about the situation they have ended up in - even if it's no fault of their own.

47. They Might Cover Their Face

Image Source / Inside HousingWith this in mind, many homeless people might use their sleeping bag as a key tool to hide their shame. They may sleep with their back towards anyone who might be looking and cover their face with their sleeping bag to make sure no one can see their face, and that they can't see anyone else.

48. Some Homeless People May Even Refuse Food And Drink

Image Source / Manchester Evening NewsIf homeless people are offered food and drink, you may think they'd leap at the chance and accept. But for some, the state of their own shame or guilt could see them saying no to offers of food and drink - not in a rude way, but politely saying no because they feel ashamed for even getting into that situation and it might be easier just to say no.

49. Wind Can Actually Be A Good Thing Sometimes

Image Source / Nottingham PostThe cold weather obviously poses a huge threat for homeless people, but a heavy wind can actually help in some cases. If there's been heavy rain, a homeless person may find their sleeping bag or belongings soaked through - which means a windy day can actually help to dry everything out much faster.

50. Homeless People Can Also Face The Threat Every Day Of Their Belongings Being Stolen

Image Source / KTLAWhen homeless people are using facilities like finding a public toilet or using a restroom in a McDonald's for a freshen up, they can't take all their belongings with them, which means they can be scared to leave their things unattended in case they go back and find everything gone.

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