Imagine what life would be like if you lost your job, your car, your house, your bank accounts, nearly everything that provided you security next month.
Then what? What do you do? How do you make a living? You’re on your own, and you’ve got to survive. It won’t be easy. Within our respective concrete jungles, there are proven ways to survive.
Homeless people tend to be looked down upon. Even if you’re a generous person who gives to charities, you probably feel uncomfortable when a stranger approaches you and asks for money. You are left wondering, “What is wrong with this person?”
That’s obviously unfair. For some homeless people, it’s a choice, but many had terrible luck and no one to turn to for assistance. In an economic collapse, those who have adapted to homelessness would do better than the average person.
During an urban survival situation that forces you to live on the streets, you might turn to other homeless people for advice. They’ve been doing it for years. They must have learned a thing or two about surviving.
Instead of waiting until you’re homeless to learn from them, why not start learning now how to be homeless and survive? The following tips can help us survive in urban areas.
1. Dress In Layers
Homeless people know a thing or two about staying warm since they often have to sleep outside when it’s incredibly cold and snowing. Dressing in layers is a common strategy they use, which is very applicable in survival situations.
It is made up of three layers: the first is the layer in direct contact with your skin, the second is the insulation layer (or the layer designed to keep you warm), and the third is the shell layer which protects you from wind, rain, and snow.
If you don’t have enough clothes for three layers, use plastic, cardboard, and newspaper, which brings me to my next tip…
2. Use Newspapers
Newspapers are useful for a variety of survival purposes, in addition to insulation. You can use newspapers as a shelter, a sheet, a pillow, toilet paper, and most importantly, fuel for a fire.
There aren’t as many newspapers around as there used to be, but you can also use junk mail, restaurant to-go trash, and posters.
3. Use Water Bottles
To stay warm, the homeless may place hot water bottles inside their clothes as they walk or before they sleep.
As a homeless person, it is hard to access tap water. Alternatively, you could still heat water in a tin can over a small fire or trash can fire, then pour it into your metal water bottle. If all else fails, you could urinate in a bottle and keep it in your pocket until it cools.
4. Sleep Near Other Homeless People
It might seem dangerous to encroach on other homeless people’s territory, and there is some risk involved, but it can be even more dangerous to sleep completely alone. When there are witnesses around, bad guys are less likely to attack or rob you. Nevertheless, if you are alone, who can tell what might happen?
That’s why it’s best to sleep in an area where there are also homeless people. It’s probably because it’s a relatively safe area where the police ignore them that they sleep in a particular park, alley, or abandoned lot or building.
5. Be Ready To Leave
People who are homeless are also constantly on the move and rarely stay in one place for long periods of time. If law enforcement kicks them out of the area where they are staying, they’ll have to leave at a moment’s notice.
In an urban survival situation, chances are very good that you’ll constantly be on the move, and you may not be able to stay in one location for more than a few days. In addition to being forced to leave by the police, you may also be forced to leave by an angry mob if there is a major crisis.
Don’t leave your things lying around. If you’re not using something, it should be in your bag, and your bag should always be on your back, even while you sleep. You will be able to stand up and leave immediately. Therefore, you also need to…
6. Pack Wisely
You will need to pack lightly if you want to keep everything in your pockets and bag. Make sure you don’t carry anything you don’t actually use on a regular basis. This is why I recommend carrying multipurpose items such as bandanas, plastic bags, water bottles, etc. These bags can be used for many different things, which means you won’t have to carry as many things.
7. Don’t Fight Anyone
Should you learn self-defense skills? Definitely, however, the most valuable self-defense tip is to learn how to avoid a conflict in the first place.
During a survival situation, even the smallest of injuries must be treated diligently. It may seem like a minor cut or scrape, but if an infection sets in, it can lead to serious complications.
In densely populated areas, getting into a fight almost certainly attracts unwanted attention. You could attract attention that is not on your side, in which case you are likely to suffer more than just cuts and bruises.
8. Consider A Dog
Sighting a homeless person with a dog is not uncommon. There are many legitimate uses for dogs, companionship as well as protection from those who would harm you. They can also help provide warmth while you sleep.
9. Carry First Aid Supplies
As I mentioned, cuts or scrapes can lead to infection. Be prepared for injuries by carrying Bandaids antibiotic ointment. It doesn’t cost much, and it could save your life.
10. Blend In With The Crowd
A homeless person can be very good at blending into their surroundings. They are referred to as the Invisible Population in the United States.
In the survival world, this is known as being a gray man (or woman). A gray man can blend into a crowd or surrounding area without being noticed.
In the crowd, they dress like everyone else, move in the crowd’s direction rather than against it, and avoid eye contact with others. Gray men don’t have it easy, but they can go a long way towards avoiding detection by criminals and law enforcement.
Maintaining a clean appearance is one of the best ways to blend in. As much as possible, use public bathrooms to shave and clean yourself. When you look more presentable, people are more likely to treat you better. Cleanliness can be achieved by…
11. Use Baking Soda
One of the most overlooked aspects of survival is personal hygiene and sanitation. Out on the streets, sanitation standards won’t be very good, and you’ll need to take action to keep yourself healthy.
Baking soda is one of the most important personal hygiene products of all time. You can use it as soap, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, and so on when mixed with water. It’s also incredibly cheap, and most stores sell it for less than a dollar.
12. Don’t Eat Just Anything
It might be tempting to eat food out of the trash when you’re hungry, but you risk catching food poisoning if you do that. If you must eat discarded food or starve, choose things that don’t go bad as quickly. That means foods that do not contain meat or dairy products and are mostly made up of sugar and carbohydrates. Leftover candy or chips, for example, are probably safe to eat.
On that note, you don’t want to live off of candy and chips. They are empty calories that will make you feel hungry, and they do not provide your body with the nutrients it needs. If you consume junk food like that, your health will deteriorate rapidly, making it harder for you to survive. Search out resources such as Soup Kitchens and Food Baskets that can provide protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
13. Control Your Emotions
Another vital aspect of survival that is often overlooked is controlling your emotions. You’re going to be desperate, and hope will be short.
Every day, homeless people face the same challenges. They have no idea where they will eat, where they will sleep, or even where they will go the next day. They don’t let their emotions get the best of them. It would not be possible for them to live as long as they have.
You should instead control your emotions and use your head. Logic, reasoning, and hope should replace anger, depression, hopelessness, and desperation. Regardless of how bad the situation may seem to you, thinking positively never hurts.
If the worst happens and you find yourself on the street, develop your street smarts. Don’t dwell on the negative. If you follow some basic survival skills and keep your mind balanced, you can survive days, weeks, or even months on the streets until you can get back on your feet.
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