While many financial situations can be challenging, homelessness is in a class by its own. If you’ve lost your home or apartment, you’re more than likely overwhelmed at the difficulty of getting back on your feet. How can you save up enough to rent a home again when you have to worry about day-to-day survival?
We’re not going to sugarcoat the facts—as anyone who’s been homeless knows, it can be very difficult to escape. However, it is possible for you to get back on your feet again. The process won’t be easy, but it is doable.
This is the most important item on your list if you’ve just lost your home. It’s especially important in states like Minnesota, where winters can be brutal.
Your first step should be to contact your friends and family to see if they will take you in. Most people hate admitting they need help but put your ego aside and ask. If someone can take you in, work out the details with them and make sure that your presence in their house or apartment isn’t a detriment to them.
If a friend or family can’t take you in, you’ll want to see if you can get into a homeless shelter. Some of the options in Rochester are:
- Dorothy Day Hospitality House
- Cronin Homes
- Family Promise Rochester
- Salvation Army Social Services
- Silver Creek Corner
- The Landing at Silver Lake
You can also visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s webpage to get more information about finding shelter.
If you can get into one of these shelters, one of the first things to do is ask how long you can stay. Many of these shelters are not permanent. Instead, they are either short-term housing, which will let you stay from 30 days to 3 months, or transitional housing, which will let you stay for up to 24 months, so you don’t have much time to rest before working on getting back on your feet.
Get Help From Homeless Assistance Programs
Once you have shelter, you’ll want to make sure you have food. You should apply for SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps, as soon as possible. However, you’ll also want to look into what food pantries are available.
The Salvation Army provides a food pantry, but these other organizations around Rochester also offer assistance:
Find a Job
Finding a job when you’re homeless is exponentially harder than finding a job when you already have a home. All the usual rules of job hunting still apply, but if you are homeless, it’s difficult in to get yourself cleaned up normally, let alone show up for an interview in nice clothes.
The first hurdle in finding a job is where to look. In Rochester, your first stop should be the CareerForce center on College View Road. They offer a lot of resources for people looking for work, including skill training, help with writing resumes, cover letters and even interviews.
Another hurdle you’ll need to overcome is what to list as an address, either on your resume or on an application form. While you don’t want to deceive an employer, there is a stigma against hiring homeless people, so having an actual address can really boost your odds of getting a job.
If you are in a homeless shelter, see if you can use their address. If that isn’t an option, you might want to contact a church and see if they will be willing to have your mail delivered there.
Once someone does express interest, you’ll want to make sure you can make yourself look as presentable as possible. Make sure to wash your nicest set of clothes by any means possible before meeting a potential employer in person, and if you can’t wash them at a laundromat you can improvise by washing your clothes in a shower or a sink and let them air dry afterwards. If you have some extra money, you can visit a thrift shop and put together a professional looking outfit for much less than you’d pay for new clothes.
Maintain Your Bank Account
Finally, make sure you maintain a savings or checking account. This might seem counterintuitive when every dollar matters, but having an account at a financial institution will save more money than it costs.
At the very least, you can rest easier knowing that your money is secure. Once you get a job, however, you’ll be able to directly deposit your paycheck into your account instead of having to pay a substantial fee to cash it at a big box retail store.
Make sure the financial institution you choose doesn’t have any maintenance fees. You don’t want to lose money when you need to save everything you can. You should also make sure the financial institution has a low minimum balance requirement.
Get the Help During Financial Hardship at First Alliance Credit Union
Trying to get back on your feet if you’re homeless can seem like an insurmountable task. However, it can be done. You’ll need to be focused and determined, but it can be done.
If you’re going through financial hardship, First Alliance Credit Union can help. As a member, you can use the services we offer, such as an Anytime Skip a Pay form to give you some temporary relief on a First Alliance auto loan or personal loan, which will allow you to channel those payments toward more immediate needs. Contact our team today, we are here to help - no judgement, just guidance.