What Advice Would You Give to a Homeless Person?

On Quora, I was asked:

“What advice should be given to a single girl who has no savings and no family to turn to, who has just been evicted and is now homeless, in order to get her life back on track? – In Los Angeles.

After a few weeks, this is how I responded:

I housed said girl and fed her for less than a week.  She was illegally evicted from her home because she wasn’t served papers.  First, I told her to call the police to see if she could have them negotiate with the tenant to get back in her home, since she was illegally evicted and all her belongings were there.  In my part of Los Angeles, that would work.  But in West LA, I suppose the police just don’t care and they told her tough luck and to take him to civil court.

I told her to go get welfare and food stamps, but she didn’t do that until it was probably too late.  But eventually, she did.  She was looking relentlessly, to find a job.  She wasn’t having any success at all.  She even went down to skid row to find shelter, only to find that they were all booked up, and they wouldn’t let her stay.  I tried calling a few shelters for her, based off of suggestions made here, but their lines were either busy, mailboxes were full, or they didn’t answer their phones.

I told her to try out TaskRabbit to find daily work.  She found out that it didn’t allow her to post a job because she didn’t have a cell phone, but she had a few dollars in her debit account.  She was creative enough to post a job ad, but instead of asking for a job, she explained her situation and asked if she could have a place to stay for a few weeks.  A few people responded.  The next day she had a new place to live.  Now, she is on welfare and has food to feed herself and a place to stay.

Through the advice gathered here, if she ever falls into the situation again, she knows she can turn to Couchsurfing.org or even TaskRabbit.com if she ever comes to find herself to fall into this situation again.  At least for housing.  Now, hopefully she is able to find a job and get herself back on her two feet.

In theory, shelters are great advice, however in practice, it doesn’t always work, especially around the holidays.  So, from personal experience, I would state that the Department of Social Services and Task Rabbit or Couch Surfing would be the best options to choose.

Then I sent her this message.  I don’t know if it is good advice or not.  But it was the advice I gave her.

I’ll lay out an outline on what to do to get your life back on your feet. Get a place to stay tomorrow. Get food stamps that same day or next with welfare. Find a job. If you ever fall back into that situation again, use couch surfer. Save money. Find a place to live. Save more money. Go to school part time or find a night job so you can get your dog grooming certificate thing. Do that. While on your journey and after you’re stable, write about your whole life, beginning to end, break it down into separate blog posts. Maybe a few hundred of them. Call them chapters. Compile them into a book. You’ll be scouted out later to share your story on how you overcame all odds and will get book deals, speaking engagements, or something like that. Then your life will be in order. To get there, you need to sleep eight hours a day. Eat two meals. Try to eat as healthy as you can. Exercise. Think of three things minimum each morning of which you’re grateful for. Volunteer and help others. Create a mindset of abundance. And stop complaining. When you complain, you attract negativity and more things go wrong. Don’t be too optimistic nor pessimistic about life. Just be real. Also, stop living in the past. Stop living in the future. None of that matters. All that matters is today. Appreciate everything around you. Smell the flowers. Admire nature. All that other stuff. Oh, and never cook anything on the hottest setting, unless it’s soup. Always use medium heat.

The cooking advice was because she said she knew how to cook, but ended up burning everything…  So I guess that only applies specifically to her.

Thank you everyone for all your concern and suggestions, as it has really helped us figure out a plan for her to get back on her feet!

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.

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