This email will go into the assumption that you are homeless. If this is the case, this is a traumatic experience that no one should have to face, but too many people do. I would assume that you are receiving $840 USD which is not enough to get any housing on your own. Why $840? Well the simple answer is this is how much one will receive if they were receiving SSI. I would guess working people will get about the same amount if not more. And while there was a time I was homeless, this email will go into detail of a more modern time. I will also assume that you are living in a city with a homeless shelter, and public transit.
First thing to address is shelter. If you are fortunate enough to have homeless shelters, then contact the shelters one at a time and find out what you need to do to go there nightly. The first thing you should strive for is a safe place to lay your head. While you might be able to theoretically sleep on the streets, this is not a safe option.
Next, do what you can to get a PO Box. If possible, I would get a box before you are homeless. Having a PO Box will give you a stable address without giving you a home. This will be important to get out of homelessness. I would use your money to pay for your box annually.
Now that we got a safe place to sleep, and an address that you could use, let’s now get you telephone service. This is as essential as an address as it will allow you to have the necessary communications with the necessary people to get out of homelessness. For a phone, I would recommend a smartphone. The reason for this is that a smartphone is like having a computer in your pocket. This will allow you to have access to the Internet, and email without having to go to a public library. You would still want to go to the library if the site you are visiting is not good for mobile devices, but I am going to assume that you do not have a notebook PC. A computer will be nice, but it’s not essential for your situation now. The issue with a smartphone (or any phone) is that it will need to be charged. If you are connected with a homeless shelter, consider asking them if they will plug your phone in. If you do this route, make sure you put a PIN code for the phone. This will discourage theft. If you have a local friend, a better option might be to visit them, and charge your phone there.
As for telephone service, you have two options. The first one is to rely on a Lifeline service provider. This company will give you a limited number of minutes, and data. Every state is different, so you would have to inquire with the resources in your state. The homeless shelter might have a list of lifeline providers for you. If your local library offers free internet, you would use your phone, and their internet connection to apply for Lifeline. When given the option, select just having a SIM. You would insert the SIM into your phone when you receive it, and will be a little more free. As for where to send the SIM card, this is where your PO Box will come in handy. If you can’t find a suitable Lifeline provider, then paying for phone service will be your option. In which case, I would recommend Mint Mobile. Mint’s cheapest plan is $180/yr + taxes. In Pennsylvania, I paid about $205 for the year, and that would come down to $17.08/month. You can’t get much cheaper than that while still having quality. Yes, $180 is a lot to pay for service, but this covers for the year, and assures you have a telephone number, and service for that year. Another thing, Mint Mobile supports eSIM, so if you have a compatible phone, you can get your service installed on your phone without having to wait for a SIM card. Also, for some reason, Mint will not ship to PO Boxes. To learn more about Mint Mobile, visit https://gmail.com/.
Now that we got a safe place to sleep, a mailing address, a phone service provider, and an email provider – let’s now work on getting you out of homelessness. The first thing you need to do is save money. You would need that money for a security deposit and first month’s rent. You may also have to make a deposit for utilities. You won’t know this until you get a place, and set up utilities in your name.
You will want to go to HUD (Housing and Urban Development), and acquire an application for their public housing. You would also want to inquire about the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. With HCV, you can choose to live in an apartment with a private landlord that will accept HCV. You will also want to call 211 and ask for a list of subsidized housing. In all instances, they will want an address (your PO Box), and a telephone number (your smartphone service). In regards to the subsidized housing list, you may have options to fill applications online. If so, take that option. While you are waiting to be approved, you would want to get your Social Security card, and birth certificate. In both instances, they will mail it to you. You can now see how having a PO Box is now becoming helpful. All of these options will reduce the amount of rent you will pay to something that is affordable.
Another option while waiting for your approval on subsidized housing will be to look into a Single Room Occupancy (SRO). Do NOT sign a commitment lease for an SRO, and do not pay more than 45% of your rent for an SRO. You need money to be able to move to your subsidized housing even if you have no furniture. In an SRO, you should have 2 – 4 outlets. You can use these outlets to charge your phone. You won’t have a kitchenette nor your own private bathroom. Most of the time, SROs are furnished, but if yours is not, then you would want to get a sleeping blanket. A sleeping blanket is easier to move than a bed.
Once you receive that long awaited call from subsidized housing, the next goal is to inspect the place and make sure it would meet your needs, and up to the standards required by subsidized housing. I will assume that you have no furniture. You will need a couch (or sleeper sofa), coffee table, TV stand (or corner desk), and a single mattress and a dresser for the bedroom. As with getting the listings for subsidized housing, you would want to call 211 to see if there are resources to get the needed furniture.
For utilities, you would expect to pay for electric, gas, trash, internet, and telephone. Many subsidized housing (in my experience) will cover for electric, gas, and trash. If you are low income, and live in Comcast’s service area, you can apply for Internet Essentials. This will give you a 50MBPS connection with a 1.2TB limit. Obviously, your telephone service works, and there is no need to change that. Once you get your necessary furniture, you would want to consider getting a computer. This will allow you to benefit from the internet in a much better fashion than your phone could provide. If you have a TV stand, a 32″ Smart TV will work just fine. You can then get a notebook PC. If you have a corner desk, then an All in One (at least 24″) will be in your best interest. Beyond the basics, focus on what’s important to you.
I hope this email helps out, and makes your tragic life a little easier. If you need to reach me, then rely on my contact information below.