The friend I’ve been staying with has been keeping me up-to-date on her moving plans. On September 30th, 2014, she informed me that I need to move out by October 15th, or a little over 2 weeks from this post date.
Since she first told me of her plans to move, I’ve asked other friends and family members if I could stay with them for short periods after my friend moves to her new location. Unfortunately, with the move date moved up by two weeks (it was originally set for the end of October, 2014), I realize that I’m not going to find enough people to guarantee a place to sleep each night, even with the Couchsurfing option I wrote about in a previous post. In short, I’ll be homeless.
This is not the first time I’ve faced being homeless. I’ve been homeless before, as I hinted at in a previous post. It wasn’t for very long: I only stayed at the House of Friendship men’s shelter in Kitchener, Ontario for a few days. I won’t go into the events that led to that point, but I’ll stress that it was an unavoidable situation. Let me tell you what it was like.
From 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. I had to find something to occupy my time since I was not allowed to remain at the shelter during the day. There’s only so many parks, malls, libraries and coffee shops I could visit before it got old. I didn’t have my phone and laptop with me (you do not bring those things to a men’s shelter if you know what’s good for you). What belongings I did have were locked away in a storage box by my bed, in a room shared with two other men.
Time passed so slowly the day felt more like a week. I had no idea where to go or what to do, except for things I made up to do on the fly. I couldn’t conduct a job search. I mean, what was the point? I had no phone or address. In fact, I couldn’t really do anything to progress forward in my life. Everything was on hold. I felt like I was trapped in a state of existence that operated outside of reality.
Now I could be facing those days again, and I have a list of questions to answer. Would I go back to a shelter? If not, where would I stay in-between friends and family members? How would I constructively use my time? Where would I go to sleep? Could I conduct a job search?
The first time I faced homelessness, I didn’t have any experience on the subject, so I struggled to cope with it. This time around, however, I not only have a little experience, but I’ve been researching the subject of homelessness while looking for a place to stay. I’ve read a few sites run by people who are homeless, such as The Homeless Guy, and Humble Harve’s Homeless Handbook. I know what the acronym TABS (To Avoid Being Seen when scouting for a place to sleep) and the term bus-napping (taking a nap on the bus or subway) mean. I learned how a gym membership can serve as a base of operations to store your belongings and get cleaned up.
This does not make homelessness something easy, just easier than the first time. It will still be a challenge and this winter will introduce elements I did not encounter during my first time. At least I prepared for this as best as I could and that other people are aware of my situation.
I’ll try to have my laptop and smartphone with me so I can write about it as well on this blog.
Thanks for reading!