Instructables

What if I'm Homeless?How can I stay warm?(Urban Edition.)

Picture of What if I'm Homeless?How can I stay warm?(Urban Edition.)
mucha_winter.jpg
This instructable is designed to tell you how to stay warm, in varying degrees of cold.
There will be pics in a few days.
This article assumes you do not have a house or apartment.
Being homeless in a car is the luckier of the two situations in some ways, unluckier in others, and deserves an Ible of it's own.
This also assumes level of society is infrastructure-intact.
I believe infrastructure-hiccup homelessness, again, deserves an Ible of it's own.
Yes, those are challenges, smartypants!
Here's a couple more,btw....
Save Water, Make a Doctor Sink - a regular sink-to-footpedal sink mod...anyone?
Quiet Compressed Air Car Mod-Making your car run on compressed air. quietly.
How to get Friable/FoodGrowing Land to be Considered a positive factor in Property Equity in residential neighborhoods, so composting/working the soil would build property value by it's own real merit.
Starting a garden with your whole Apartment Building to Feed Yourselves from a secure Garden!Rooftop edition?
How to Save The World From Itself in Your Free Time
NewOrleans/Georgia Style Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Recipe

OK! BACK TO THE TASK AT HAND!
So, crap, guess what. You're homeless.
Things didn't work out for now, and now, well, ...now what?
Where do we go from here?
First things first.
What does a human need? (not Want, but Need.)
Quickly.....unfortunately, much of your Western civilization programming will be working against you in this process. We've been taught to gratify many of our less important whims.

Fundamentally, a Need is something required for pragmatic survival.
A Want is something that would be nice. Your priorities may vary, but what a human needs to survive
is pretty simple. Air, Water, Food, Shelter. Sometimes you may additionally need medicine,which can occasionally be improvised.more about that later.

If it's cold, you have to figure out the way to stay warm. If you're in a place where it gets much below the 40s(fahrenheit. About 4.4 Celsius), you'll need to do it fairly quickly. Before dark.
When the sun goes down the temperature drops quickly, and that's bad news for you.
Even if you're a husky fella,
your extremities will chill and cramp easier, and if you go to sleep, if you wake up, you may wake up with hypothermia. Not fun.
There's also frostbite.. Oh, buddy.
If you're caught homeless in the cold, don't panic. This is survivable, and a chance to prove you're resourceful enough to do it well enough to come out healthy.

 
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Thanks for writing this man, it will come in handy as I've been homeless for a couple weeks and te first week was a breeze just staying with friends "couch hopping", but this week has been brutal Ive been managing to keep decently warm except for the other night when I woke up to myself turning purple and numb. Hopefully this transitional living program contacts me back soon but until then your guide is te key to my survival thanks man!:)
scris1015 years ago
obviously if your homeless you wouldnt be reading this lol
I was homeless for five months. I used the internt daily. These is a new breed of homeless in the USA: educated, resourceful, too many bad turns. Then homeless. I once spoke with a CSR for our state's health insurance plan. My many addresses led him to query, to which I informed that I was homeless, and he intimated that though working and possessing an MBA, he to was homeless at that time. My spouse and I have a BA and BS respectively, and grad studies lead to financial hurt, then homelessness. Laugh all you want, but it's not funny, but tragic, and you'd be surprised how quickly turn arounds turn you out. We have been in our new, transitional apartment for less than one month.
I'm glad to hear your in a transitional program actually "living" now. I'm trying to get into one currently but the saw managers been out sucks for over a week and it's left me stuck in the woods. Also one question, do they place you in an apartment with someone or by yourself?:)
You can access the internet for free from any public library. You must have a card, but they give it to you on the spot so if your homeless use a friends address. Also a good place to rest and warm up. If its a big library, and you fall asleep in a comfy chair with a book on your lap, you usually won't be bothered (unless you snore). Catching some zzz's during the day will allow you to keep moving at night.
If your homeless it's vital to stay clean and neat, then you won't be run out of restaurants, etc. If you can get a buck or two for a cup of coffee, you can usually spend an hour or so in a restaurant late at night, especially if you order coffee and say your waiting for someone to join you. Don't overlook fast food joints that stay open late. One near a movie or other entertainment venue that gets a late crowd if good. You won't be noticed by the staff, and you can usually find a newspaper to read. If you can grab someone else's empty food container and sit it on your table, they won't ask you to leave, assuming you are a paying customer. Food courts at the mall work the same way. You can sit for an hour or longer, undisturbed.
Subconscionaut (author)  jeanicrowe4 years ago
Thank you for all the good info!
In the winter, staying dry becomes more of a challenge, so it is important to use any available resources, including :
laundromats (dual purpose)
covered bus stops
libraries
supermarkets
large chain bookstores
multilayered parking lots.
pay toilets(especially with hand dryers.)
I spent a few nights in this apartment building's laundry room and used the dryer, it was a huge apartment complex and late at night. my story was to be i was new in the building.(not recommended)
i found the door sensor and jammed it in and dropped in a quarter.
beware of sleeping in trees. yes, you will escape park sprinklers.
BUT you may roll off and get seriously injured(don't ask)
99 cent stores have gloves and socks intermittently as well.
Thanks for reading!
you got told
Actually you're very wrong sir. I am homeless, I sleep in the woods and I using the Internet. It's a thing called go to the library or if you're like me and have an iPod that runs off of wifi, then McDonald's is ideal because I can charge my iPod and use free wifi and that's how I read this sir. :D
DawnS21 month ago

I wanted to go into a little more detail with some of the places to sleep, or get warm that were mentioned in this article. Awesome article btw!!!! Thanks for caring :)

1.The laundry room of a hotel - They don't know who is staying at the hotel. For all they know you're with one of the people that checked in. Go in and find the laundry room, take your jacket off if you have one, and put it in the dryer. Sit in one of the chairs and go to sleep. If someone walks in, act like you fell asleep while waiting on your jacket to dry. Then walk over and take your jacket out of the dryer and leave. The laundry rooms are usually empty at night. I always use them late at night when I travel and no one usually comes in there after about 10pm.

2.Hotel Lobbies - Find a book somewhere, check one out at the library or use one of the hotel lobby magazines.Walk into a hotel and go straight to the lobby. Sit in a chair and pretend to read if the desk clerk can see you. If the clerk can't see you, open the book, lay it in your lap and fall asleep in the chair. People will just think you fell asleep while reading. Most people are in bed by 10pm, and the desk clerks usually go in the back at night and sleep themselves, so no one will even see you until around 6am the next morning.

3.Sporting Goods Store - You don't always have to sleep at night, you could go into a sporting goods store, find a tent that's set up, climb in, zip it up, and sleep away. If you have a coat, use it for a pillow. If you get caught climbing out of it, just laugh and say "Yep, I could sleep good in one of these" :)

4.Walmart is open 24 hours. Not only can you walk around in Walmart when it's cold outside, but you can sit on the toilet (with clothes on) and rest for a while. Some Walmart have restaurants in them, like McDonalds, you could lounge there too.

5.Public Laundry Matts are probably the best option if they're enclosed. I don't even know if they have those open air laundry matts anymore. But again, throw your coat in the dryer if you have one, unless it's too cold in there, and sit back and have a nap.

6. Take a book into a doctors office and relax (a walk in clinic is best), but try not to sit in the view of the receptionist. If they ask you if they can help you when you first walk in, just say "no, I'm here with someone", and go sit next to someone and ask them a question, like where the bathroom is. Then go to the bathroom so you can get a good view of the room to find a seat that's hidden from the front desk. Try a few doctors offices to see which ones are the best. And use many different ones so no one catches on.

7.The Emergency Room is a great place to rest. If they ask if you need help when you first walk in, again, just say you're there waiting on someone. There's usually a lot of patients there in the winter so you'll just blend in. Try to sit somewhere that the receptionist can't see you and sleep away.

8.Dressing Rooms - The ones in department stores are the best because they usually have carpet in them and the doors have locks. Take quite a few items of clothes with you in case someone sees you when you exit the dressing room with nothing in your hand. Plus, if the sales person is cleaning up all the clothes that people left behind, she/he might knock on the door to see if anyone is in there, if this happens, just tell them you're almost done and you'll be out in a minute. Don't forget to brush your hair or fix it so it doesn't look like you've been laying down. Try to avoid dressing rooms if there's enough room for someone to crawl under it or kids might see you by playing around on the floor. And the sales person can look under them.

I suggest taking a book where ever you go and read or pretend to read so you look busy and blend in. Although I've seen people fall asleep in doctor's offices while waiting on their relatives, so take a nap.

I hope this helps, and good luck :)

Bepositive1 month ago
I agree with all parts except the advice to get killed. I can't even stand the thought.
fretted1 year ago
Ch. 3: Psychological Preparations
http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p914.htm

Ch. 15: Improvised Clothing and Protective Items
http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p926.htm

Survival Guide to Homelessness
http://guide2homelessness.blogspot.com/2005/02/interactive-list-of-best.html
onemoroni11 year ago
Thanks for sharing. You never know when you will have to use the knowledge you imparted weather homeless or lost. It's all about survival.
Veganlady3 years ago
I totally agree that locking/filming dumpsters is horrible. The warning/waiver is a very good idea!
EduGreat4 years ago
If you are interested in more on diving check out here:
http://divethefilm.com/default.aspx
this is a documentary about the "diving" culture and politics of waste.
EXCELLENT

thank you or your many good ideas - I pray my family or I never have to use them but even i not homeless - these are good ideas of items to give to someone who is... I stocked up on emergency blankets in my care and give them to the guys by the freeways rather than money...


Subconscionaut (author)  EduGreat4 years ago
Thank you so much for your feedback!

I would also like to take this time to recommend
The Story of Stuff:(http://www.storyofstuff.com/) as further background,
and as well, I used to wait until Horrible Fright(harbor freight) had sales on tarps and furniture pads, and then buy and distribute.

My wife and myself used them as bedspreads for a few years, the blue ones are better than the black, but still, they keep you warm.

For any homeless person with internet access reading this:
Look for if Food Not Bombs feeds in your area.
link here:(http://www.foodnotbombs.net/)
It could mean another regular nutritious meal, and nutrition is your priority, because it means your life.
You could get pretty sick living on Dollar Burger and Value Meal.
So seek out all the nutrition you can!
Thanks for reading!
Chanio4 years ago
Great stuf!

The main concept behind preserving heat is that to keep your heat you need a thick layer of dry air to stay put all around you...

So, when you wear a thick pullover, it is not the wool but the space between the wool that retains that amount of air unmoved what keeps you warm.
Then, if those 'gaps' between the wool could be overlaped by a layer of another pullover's wool the air would be kept better than if the gaps of both layers coincide it their possition... You won't retain that air as easy!

Then comes the interaction fact between the material and our body-skin. Our skin needs to breath. So, synthetic materials would choke our cells and make them sweat. If they breath ok, we won't get wet.  

Thanks again for your job!
If you want to print it, you'll need to add all the interesting stuff that you mention inside the pictures...

alberto
You lose most of the your body heat through the top of your head, so even if its your feet that feel the coldest, the most important part to protect is your head! Wear a hot, a scarf or even tie a shirt around your head. If you have any kind of blanket or bag, pull it over your head as well. Even if it makes you feel clostraphobic, do it. Also, don't touch alcohol. It may make you feel warmer because it causes the blood vessels to expand at your skins surface, but its actually lowering your core temperature at the same time and you will suffer or succomb to hypothermia much more quickly.
jeanicrowe4 years ago
All of this stuff is covered in detail in Hardtimes handbook by Sarah Autry available from Amazon.com and also for less bucks at surviveanythingt.webs.com. Ms. Autry also mentions carpet scraps-they can be found, of course behind a carpet store, also the padding strips. All can be handy for sleeping or staying warm. Cardboard is an excellent insulator with all the little air pockets. Look for corrugated if you can find it, and it will resist a surprising amount of rain, especially if you bend it so it has a peak in it to allow the water to run off. Don't forget, you can warm up in libraries, malls and at night, in bus or train stations. Some small towns still leave the post office doors open all night, although not as much as they use to. Thankfully I've never been homeless, but I bought the book to be prepared. Us old folks on social security are already struggling to keep up. You never know-- If I find myself out there, at least now I know how to construct shelter, find food and protect myself.
seamaas4 years ago
love Jethro Tull's album Aqualung
zincoshine4 years ago
A little note, it's best to avoid cotton for your base layer. Cotton absorbs moisture instead of moving it.
H-Sama5 years ago

The bubble wrap is nice if you can find it but what about if you cant? Besides you missed the best insulater, dry newspaper. Take it sheet by sheet  scrunch it up and shove it in between some of your layers.

Subconscionaut (author)  H-Sama5 years ago
Definitely, you can use many things!
Bubble wrap and foams are waterproof, that's why they were preferred, paper when wet,well, is wet paper.
..I suppose if you made a suit of it thick enough and wet it down it would do a wetsuit like heat retention, but it 'd be messy and rot quick!
If you can put in into shopping bags or wrap it in dry plastic if you are lucky enough to have more than one shirt to tuck in. also works well with bagged packing peanuts, or just supermarket bags themselves are an excellent a
and also, if you buy bulk peanuts you can use those shells.
the newsprint will come off a bit, so don't put it in between your skin and clothes.
Thanks for your comment!
Stay warm out there!
hobzez5 years ago
if i went homeless and basically lost all lot of resources... id go bear grylls style, not homless man style, but good instructbale anywayz
papabob565 years ago
I went dumpster diving with an old neighbor years ago, kind of on a dare. She did it all the time and convinced me to come along one night. It was amazing how much food (I mean, food I'd eat) was tossed out from supermarkets and restaurants. We picked up bagels, fruits, vegetables, boxes of cereal, etc. At an Italian restaurant there was a couple cases (about 12 cans) of #10 cans of tomato sauce, they were dented. The items I saw in these dumpsters could outfit a person fairly well, nothing stylish, but you can be fed, clothed and if presented right, you could sell some of this stuff. Great article by the way.
Subconscionaut (author)  papabob565 years ago
Thanks for reading it! When I was homeless, I ate from dumpsters frequently.(I was ashamed to be an able-bodied beggar, there's some bad karma there) While admittedly I did have a couple of hair-raising moments-i will never eat a filled donut again- for the most part there was ample nutrition to be had, it left me wondering why we waste so much so fast while others starve.
ehmbee5 years ago
Dude, good info-I cannot stress enough just how much of our wealth is tossed out. The dumpster is your friend, but you have to be smart about it. I have lived on some of the contents of dumpsters and once you get past the usual misconceptions (it's a bacteria/disease pit, etc.), it's surprising what you can equip yourself with. Cleanliness is key too.
Subconscionaut (author)  ehmbee5 years ago
You ain't kiddin' brother. It's like the guy who got permission to dredge the sewers of Paris...you ever see pictures of the bullion he cast from all the gold leaf they used to eat? Perception is key, and a lot of folks have been raised in captivity. So "trash" is any icky thing they think doesn't belong in the box right now. It's uncomfy, they don't want it around. So "trash" must go "away"....but if there's no "away", how to mutate their dogma to adapt to circles instead of lines? Make them survive. Here's to the Great BrainUnwashing. Let's hope it's an actively progressive time rather than a proactively aggressive time.
Subconscionaut (author)  Subconscionaut5 years ago
So now that I've read the above and am well over myself and my sentimental capitalizations,you are correct about cleanliness. also, the growing problem of dumpster locks. I used to think, how stupid, but i guess it's starting to cost more to throw stuff away and blah blah lawsuit etcetra, so i see but it sucks. You'd think people'd be better than this by now. I think we really maybe are devo, a little.
ehmbee5 years ago
Dude-that's a Cannibal Corpse shirt hiding under there, isn't it? Awesome....
Subconscionaut (author)  ehmbee5 years ago
Guilty as charged.It's just like my vegetable garden in winter.... everything else is underground but the Chard Remains!
abadfart5 years ago
my freind is living in his truck with no heater he has a shell and his materes with a -32 bag
bwoom805 years ago
Good job! This may become increasingly more useful considering the current state of the world. It'd be nice to get this out to those that don't have access to the internet, but I guess if you're already out there, you might know a few of these tricks already...
Subconscionaut (author)  bwoom805 years ago
Hey thanks! You gave us a great idea! (my wife's actually.) We're going to make copies in a few languages and put them up in places with a lot of foot traffic, maybe we can help somebody! How about at bus stops or the library? Or in a bathroom stall at the beach? How about next to a payphone somewhere? Times are tight but helping people in some tiny way like that isn't much to do and I think it's worth it.