T Nation

Ever Been Homeless?


#1

This is really a stupid question, but has anyone here ever been homeless? Just came to my mind earlier.

Was it by choice? (I realize most homeless people don’t choose it, but maybe to get through college or something?) How long did it last? What’d you do? What’s the weather like where you live, and did that affect it? I was in Houston this summer, and saw several homeless people outside my hotel. Man with the heat…must feel terrible.

Like I said, this is weird, but I’m just curious.


#2

Yes.

I started university in 08. My tuition was covered, but I couldn’t find a job.

The first time - it lasted 3 months. The second time was closer to 9. I became friendly with gym employees at a 24 hour gym. If you go somewhere enough they don’t question you when you come in. Eventually, I had a key card so I could get in. I’d sleep on the rock climbing pads or in my car depending on what was going on. But the gym provided a shower, bathroom and microwave.

Where I lived in got hot… wasn’t unusual to hit 110. I’d stay at a lake or bring a bottle of liquor to a friends so I was too drunk to drive home and crash on their couch.


#3

Briefly, before law school, with 4 children.

I came to Boston (mild weather) with assurances that married (I was not married, but a widower) campus housing would be available. It was not ready. Nor was the supposedly-available day care available. I had almost zero money, due to delay in my work visa (so I worked, but could not get paid).

I just went to the local Chabad Lubavitch and explained my situation. We slept in the shul and the Rabbi’s wife took care of my children while I worked. They worked cleaning out a basement during the day. I showered at the school gym; kids got one shower at the Rabbi’s house (he was not wealthy and had a large family of his own in a small apartment). We ate noodles and butter for a solid week.

I remember getting my first paycheck. We gorged on Hebrew national hotdogs. The girls still recreate this meal as comfort food. (They are all grown.)

Eventually the situation resolved itself, and I became a loyal member of said shul.

To this day, I financially support it.


#4

Thanks guys - @dchris , @Jewbacca . Just wondered if anyone had ever gone through that. I briefly did, although it was almost entirely self inflicted and therefore I don’t think it’d ever be appropriate to complain about it. (Not that you guys were complaining.)

My only time (so far) was about two months long. I was expelled from school about a month before the end of my junior year and the “shock” of that coupled with some issues at home ended with me angrily leaving home one night at 17, during the summer between my junior and senior years of high school.

Occasionally did what @dchris did, and spent the night at a gym. It was the local YMCA, however, so it was not open 24/7. At the time I was fairly friendly with most of the employees and it wasn’t unusual to see me there up till closing time (9pm) or opening time (5am), so I’d gone in the bathroom when no one was around and spend the night there a few times. I live in a pretty small town, and it’s a Y, so security wasn’t topnotch. Or really existent at all haha.

Also slept in those little tunnels on playgrounds; the lobby of a hospital (that was honestly fucking comfy); random garages/back yards of people I didn’t really know, but knew well enough to not get arrested or something if they found me on their property; my best friend’s parents’ camper that was left unlocked most often behind their house (infested with spiders so those nights were spent sleepless and on high alert; the basement/storage area of the grocery store where I worked (once); and ocassionally on couches if I stayed late at someone’s house. I did not have a car, and had to walk everywhere I went, which wasn’t horrible, but I could’ve slept in that if I’d had one.

Jeez. Didn’t realize it was that many places. I didn’t like repeatedly going to the same place. Also was too proud to ask anyone to stay with them.

I did have two jobs, and was working about 60 hours a week - 5am-11am & 6pm-11pm M-F with some on the weekends, while simultaneously finishing up high school on my own, and taking a few classes at the local university, but since I wasn’t 18, I couldn’t rent my own apartment. Plus I was rarely not at school or at work, and only spent about 4-5 hours a night sleeping, so it honestly wasn’t even really needed, although it would’ve been nice.

@Jewbacca - jeez man, that must’ve been stressful as hell with four kids. Props to you for that. Are you not from the states? I’m guessing maybe Israel? but not sure if you’ve said before.

It’s nice that the weather wasn’t horrible. I live in South Dakota, and from mid August to mid October it went from 80 degrees and 100% humidity at night to 20 degress and windy at night. A cool 50 would’ve been delightful.


#5

I lived in my car for a month after I fell out with my dad. I had enough money to rent a room but I didn’t want to sign a lease and kind of enjoyed the car.


#6

That’s an incredible story, and thank you for sharing it.


#7

I was a runaway at age 16, and spent 5 months on the other side of the country from where my family was. For part of that time I was a live-in housekeeper for wealthy-ish people, to whom I lied about my age. I really never lived for any length of time with my family again, but returned to my home coast to orbit the mother who’d left me behind at age 12. I took my GED and started college at 16, then dropped in and out for a while.

Not sure what you’re looking for here, but I now have a master’s degree and am self-employed and have a nice family and kids who are thriving as young adults. People who know me well are not surprised to hear about my past because I’m pretty weird and shocking up close, but people who know me only casually think I’m very respectable and assume I’ve always been conventional.


#8

Jewbacca, you’ve just become one of my heroes. A mans man.

Never what I consider homeless but lived in a condemned tower block for a while in the 80’s, on the 12th floor in Hackney east London. That was a pain carrying two bags of tools up the stairs each night as the lifts were not operational. To this day though I still recce places and think I could sleep there if I was homeless. Just in case I get found out in life, you know :slight_smile:


#9

No, the hero of the story is the Rabbi, who took us in on my word.

It was a tough time for us. My wife had just been killed (bus attack), and I was pretty banged up. We had spent most of our money on her funeral and the funeral of a cousin who had no other family.

But G-d provides. (But only just enough. He expects you to do your part.)


#10

Perfectly said.
Where is the biblical reference found?


#11

Does a refugee tent city count? If yes, then 6 months.


#12

It absolutely, positively counts.


#13

I’d have to hunt, but I can give you any number of examples.

Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath comes to mind. The widow and her son were going to die of starvation due to drought and yet shared their food with Elijah. Elijah promised the oil and flour would not run out until it rained. And it did not. Note – G-d did not promise an eternal flow of flour and oil – but just enough to get them through the drought. So they had to plant and do their part.

Same idea with Chanukkah – the oil lasted 8 days – which was enough to get new oil, but no more.

Etc. I could probably fill up a website with examples.


#14

Thank you.
I’m disappointed in my biblical studies and understanding. I should be much better educated than I am. The fault lands on me.
Not sure which calendar you are on - Happy, healthy, New Year.


#15

I haven’t been homeless, but I’ve come close a few times, and that’s stressful.

Most recently Florence flooded us, had to get back to work, luckily a friend a few blocks down was fine, and let me, my girl, my roommate, and two cats stay in his house for about 3 weeks. Tensions got high. Nothing particularly caused it, but that’s just a lot of bodies in one guys house. Anyways, it came to a head the same night the remnants of Florence were coming back for round two. Had to get out that night. Spent about 4 hours making phone calls to hotels. Very few were cat friendly, but that didnt matter, because all of them were booked due to all the other flood victims.

I remember just sitting on his porch smoking my first cigarette in years watching the rain fall for about an hour. Girlfriend was crying, roommate was arguing and yelling. It was wild. I’m head of house, and my gf and roommate/best friend always expect me to have an answer and I just had nothing.

Long story short, insurance money finally cleared and called in some serious favors that I’ll never be able to pay back, things worked out, but those 4 hours were probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt.

Serious fucking props to you guys that actually lived it.