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21 tips om het Amerikaanse daklozenprobleem voor te bereiden

In deze kritieke tijden, wordt de dakloosheid een echte bedreiging voor vele Amerikanen…
door Tsenne Kikke - vrijdag 21 augustus 2020 18:28

In de media worden de Verenigde Staten bijna dagelijks in een negatief daglicht gesteld.

Vandaag nog konden we lezen dat het aantal Amerikanen, dat een werkloosheidsuitkering heeft aangevraagd, onverwacht tot boven het miljoen is gestegen. Dat klinkt als 'heel veel', maar in de Verenigde Staten leven er iets van een 29x meer mensen dan in België.

Anders gezegd: in België zijn er op een bevolking van 11,5 miljoen momenteel meer dan 350.000 werklozen. Indien we dit cijfer met 29 vermenigvuldigen, verkrijgen we een idee van wat dat verhoudingsgewijze voor de Amerikaanse bevolking zou kunnen betekenen. Het antwoord daarop is: meer dan 10 miljoen. Eigenlijk valt dat Amerikaanse cijfer best mee - en, in vergelijking doet België het barslecht.

Een ander feit is dat 567.715 mensen, oftewel zeventien van elke 10.000, in januari 2019 van de ene dag op de andere dakloos werden. Zomaar?... Zag geen één van hen dat aankomen?... In elk geval: ondertussen toonde een recente studie aan dat door de pandemie veroorzaakte economische crises de werkloosheid en de woningmarkt binnen 1 jaar kan leiden tot een piek van 45%. Toegegeven: indien dat percentage ooit écht waarheid wordt, is dat wel degelijk schandalig veel.

Ditmaal moeten we 567.715 delen door 29. In België bestaan er geen officiële cijfers van het aantal daklozen, enkel schattingen van organisaties. Maar, het cijfer 19.576 zou best kunnen kloppen - want, reeds in 2003 schatte FEANTSA het aantal dak- en thuislozen in België op 17.000. In vergelijking met België zijn de Verenigde Staten er ook hier niet veel erger aan toe.

Soort trekt eigen soort aan

Leven zonder huis is nu - volgens bestaande daklozen - naar het schijnt een waarachtige bedreiging geworden voor veel Amerikanen, en hoe moeilijk het ook is om over dit probleem te praten, één persoon trad op de voorgrond en deelde 'praktische tips' uit om tijdens de periode van dakloosheid te kunnen overleven.

"Ik kan u niet vertellen hoe pijnlijk het voor mij is om dit te moeten uitschrijven," zei die man die geen onderdak meer heeft en in zijn auto verblijft. Hij somde alle knowhows op die 'nuttig' zouden kunnen zijn voor eenieder die misschien in de toekomst eveneens in een gelijkaardige stressvolle situatie zou kunnen belanden. Hierna volgen zijn bewoordingen, aangevuld met commentaren van lotsgenoten...

"I cannot tell you how it hurts me to have to write this. But some 10-20 million of you, my fellow Americans are now facing eviction. Many of you have no where to go.

I myself have been homeless. Car camped. I can share a few things that can make that time easier. And know that it's not forever. When it's over you'll laugh about it. And have far more empathy for others who are similarly homeless.

First of all, the cellphone is #1. Get on a cheaper plan, but do not let this lifeline expire. To get jobs, to get help, you must have communications. Ask someone you care about if they will cover your cellphone bill for you, if you need to.

Two. If you are going broke, bankruptcy, but still have credit cards, put new tires on your car, get any deferred maintenance done, etc. It may be your home for a while.

Third. If you can afford it, and one is open JOIN A GYM. That's where you will get your hot showers to feel human again. Again, talk to friends  See if ONE will let you come, same day each week, same time, and do laundry. Do not wear out your welcome, overstay, etc. They'll be doing you a huge favor. Make it easy ON THEM.

You're gonna have WAAY too much time on your hands. Get in those 3-4 hour workouts you always talked of doing. Get fit! Find a library with PC's if you can't keep a laptop going. Find public WIFI hotspots. Again, see if a friend will let you access their Netflix or other streaming account. Develop a routine including exercise, long walks etc.

Guess what. The soup kitchen you may go to for meals NEEDS VOLUNTEERS. There's little difference in the people on both sides of the counter, serving and being served. And you'll meet other volunteers. Often this leads to job opprotunities, etc. (I've gotten MANY jobs through contacts I made volunteering)

How hungry are you. If you're hungry enough, dumpsters outside fast food places will feed ya. Walking through a restaurant after patrons leave, you can take stuff they didn't eat off their plates. You can also show up at the back door of restaurants and ask if you can wash dishes in return for a meal. You'll often get a meal without any work at all. Peope are good. I would also suit up, walk in the side door of a hotel, and enjoy the free breakfast buffet once in a while.

Parking's always a hassle. Nobody wants you there. Cops will hassle you. All you can do is move when they insist on it. Find a half dozen spots if car camping, industrial parks, closed businesses, even CAR LOTS. Be anonymous. By having a half dozen spots picked out you just go to the next when you get rousted.

Clothing. A suitcase for clean, a laundry bag for dirty in your trunk. Plus gym clothes.

Now about all that stuff you put in storage. That was a mistake. When you get back on your feet, you simply buy new stuff. Paying monthly storage bills will eat you alive. Nothing in there is irreplaceable, usually. Stupidly I stored mattresses some antique furniture, surfboard, etc. for years. What a maroon! And it will mold, get rats, rust, anyway!

Work on yourself. Your body and your mind. REad. Get self help books. Sign up for free classes, just like that movie with that guy who couldn't say no to anything. Learn shit you have no interest in learning and meet people you wouldn't otherwise have met. Don't be embarassed about your financial condition, be honest:  COVID19 wiped out my job and I'm currently car-camping. Accept it. It's true.

Starbucks, McDonalds, all those places you can nurse a coffee for hours IF you're clean and not disruptive. The employees will hook you up if you're nice to them. The book "the Greatest Salesman in the world" helped me A LOT during this time.

Money. Obviously things are tight. You absolutely have to put yourself first, every time. Food comes first. Do NOT pay medical bills, anything that will leave you UNABLE to eat! Screw your creditors! They're why you're in this situation!  

Listen, I'll think of more later and add it as comments. Hang in there. You think this is the end, it's not. You can actually have some fun dead broke and homeless. You have time to be patient with everyone, including the mentally ill guy who wants to talk to you. You can even be generous with what little you have left. And don't be afraid to ASK for help. Frank, could you spot me a $20. I'm really low on funds.

You will be ok, this is not your fault, the economy totally sucks right now and is liekly to get worse when the stock market FINALLY accepts the reality and crashes.

You, however, will come out of this stronger, even happier.  Hang in there.

Readers' replies...

- Beware of theft! Do not lose your purse, your laptop, your because you stupidly left the car unlocked, stuff in plain sight, etc.

- Find a local Sikh temple. They will feed you, and you will learn some interesting stuff and meet interesting people along the way.

- Agreed. Sikhs are good people. Even LDS/Mormons! A little dogma won't kill ya! Get a free meal, you can ignore the sermon!

- If you are addicted and need treatment, get baptized LDS. Local churches will pay for rehab for members.

- Don't stick around the Mormons too long if you can. My experience is that most of their "charity" work is to find vulnerable ppl to convert.

- Another food source: dumpsters of bakeries are always stocked. Bagel shops throw out their inventory at the end of the day. Too bad bagels turn to rocks almost instantly.

- Compartamentilze your requests for help. Ask one friend for laundry privileges. Another for bag lunches. A third for Netflix.

- Walmarts allow camping over night. Also while this is stealing no ones gonna ask what room you're in to get breakfast at a motel.

- Hotel manager for 15 years. It's easy to spot people sneaking in. Ask if you can come after breakfast hours. There's usually plenty left.

- Ladies, buy reusable menstrual items like a diva cup, reusable pads or period underwear. High cost up front, but saves $$.

- See if one of your friends will allow you to forward your mail to their place. Have a box they can just toss it all in.

- Bills you can't pay? Just toss 'em. Don't worry, they'll send you fresh ones next month!

- Also, make good friends before losing your home.

- Also, donating blood can get you a few dollars. Just beware of those nosy nurses and their relentless questions.

- For those who are not aware... Project Gutenberg is a free library of tens of thousands of books, magazines, etc. in multiple formats.

- I went in to fast food restaurants when they were most busy. Put away trays, sorted trash (things customers are supposed to do) and grabbed leftovers after a while. Never got hassled by staff and often got some free, non-touched food after a few times. Be attentive to staff at all places, and try to learn what you can about their schedules. Go there when good staff are on, avoid the less compassionate.

- "Screw your creditors!" This is so true and people learn it too late. I am broke but not homeless. Creditors call, I don't answer.

- And those of us who still have jobs but money is tight, NOW is the time to get your finances in order. Start building an emergency fund. And when you have 3-6 months of expenses saved up (including rent) then start paying off debt. That might help you avoid living in a car! Most people are broke because they are bad with money. It’s the simple truth. Not to say people don’t fall on hard times or have terrible things happen to them that drain finances. I’m not naive to that reality. But the overwhelming majority of broke people did it themselves. Sadly that's the culture we're in. Spend every dime you make then borrow some more. It is changing though I think.

"Vind mensen, die in zichzelf zowel de motivatie als de aangeboren drijfveer hebben om aan hun Innerlijke Zelf te werken, en we zullen hen gidsen."

- DIMschool vzw, gespecialiseerd in Zelfkennis, zijnde: het kennen van het Zelf -


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