Homeless Eviction: First Things First
Veterans Helping Veterans and Citizens!
You've been evicted. The police and their cronies have thrown everything you own to the curb. What should you do?
Most people will first ask friends or family for a place to stay. Both sides of this should realize that it's probably not going to work out like they think. The benefactor side will be thinking, oh you'll be able to get a job easily and be out in a month. Sounds like what our government must have thought when they gave us all $1200 and let us handle the problems of losing our jobs and staying home because of Covid-19... not caring what happened to us, and letting us "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps!". Funny thing, they gave $5 Trillion to their rich friends and rich donors though, no having to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" for a politician's friends and donors in America!
No, if you got evicted, even if you get a job right away, your credit probably just took a big hit and tanked and you may even have a problem getting your own place or job because of your credit rating now! How messed up is that, not getting a job or housing because of a bad credit rating? That's the One Percent's America, baby! Let's hope you can even get a job that will pay you enough for you to afford a place in the middle of a pandemic. With 20+ million unemployed, don't think that our extreme capitalism won't be taking advantage of that and start hiring people for lower wages! If you can find any job at all, you'll be lucky. In any case, without help and only one person working, you may find that first and last month's rent and security deposit isn't an easy thing to scrape up quickly.
But before that, if you got evicted because your government told you to stay home and that an insulting $1200 would last 3+ months for your rent and all your bills, and that your government thought that you would magically and suddenly be able to pay off any 'deferred' rent and bills just because the government's moratorium (if there was one where you were) on evictions and paying bills (if you had that) ended... well, you're probably homeless now.
So, you probably had more in your apartment or home than you can carry. What do you do? If you have friends and family in the area, you could try to give it to them to keep for you, if they have room for it... you might have to spread it over multiple sites. But, I'd sell it. Even on the streets, you'll need money.
What I do know about eviction is that if the police come to throw you out, your stuff doesn't matter to them, and it's probably going to be damaged. They don't care about you, your papers, your life, or your future. Politicians, their rich donors and friends, and cops don't give a flying fuck that you too are an American Citizen, they work for the ONE PERCENT now! So, you need to be proactive and take care of some stuff BEFORE the police come, because when they come, it will be chaos.
What stuff should you take care of? Well number one would be to get all our important papers into one place, fold it all neatly and put it in a gallon ziplock bag. If you can, put it in a lockbox, label it, and take it to your most trusted friend or family member. Even if you use a lockbox, or file folder or something, and leave it with friends, ziplock it to protect it! You may not spill on it, or put it somewhere it can get wet, but you can't always trust that others won't! A ziplock will keep it dry and protected if you have to carry it with you. Put in one copy of all your bills into that ziplock with your improtant papers. You'll want that later when you are rebuilding your life, something I do have experience with.
So, get your important papers together, and put your important papers, birth certificate, school transcripts, baptismals, car title, etc, at the most secure location, in a lock box or whatever you can to make them more secure and away from prying eyes, and don't forget to protect them from water and elements, yes I'm going to say it AGAIN, ziplock them! It's a real pain in the ass getting this stuff back. Maybe throw a sticker on whatever container you find, and label it, "(your name) important papers".
If you have warning of your eviction, spend a day calling all your credit accounts and tell them you're about to be evicted, see if you can work a deal for later payment (probably not, if the rich people who owned these companies cared, you would have been bailed out by the government, instead of them getting unnecessary payments!) But in any case, give them a forwarding address, if you have one. Take one copy of each of these creditor's bills and put them with your important papers, also! Write down what you owe in your little notebook, also, write the creditor name and address. That's information you will need access to later, say if you apply for food stamps or any type of means-tested government assistance. And immediately on getting evicted call the electric company, water company, gas company, phone company and ISP and whatever other bills were related to your old household and get them turned off. You don't want to end up paying more than you have to.
If you're living in a car, put your important papers somewhere else. Your car is not as secure as you might think, in that the government might tow it if they find you sleeping in your car. Yep. It's illegal in some places to live in your car, so now's a good time to check out your local laws... since you still have internet access! So, better to leave your important papers with friends or family, because these a-holes aren't going to let you dig around in your car to get your stuff out if you forget, and after it's towed, not without bailing the whole car out for $hundred$ of dollar$ you don't have. "Oh, your important papers are in your car, sir? Boohoo, you'll have to pay to get it out of impound, you homeless bum!" And if you're thinking I'm just being an ass, and that people aren't like this, fuck around and find out! Your citizenship just took a nose dive from 'upstanding' to 'scumbag' the second you became homeless. (not to ME, you're still a Citizen to me!)
Even so, you should have a backpack ready with the stuff I'll mention later, in your car, ready for you to be carless and truly homeless! Tell the cops who are about to tow your car that you have a backpack to help you survive, some police have a soul, and you might be able to retrieve it before your car is gone, and if you have no place else for your important papers, make sure they're in that backpack! But, police are not going to let you dig all around your car for things and make a pack at the last minute, and will probably search your backpack if you already have it packed. You know their 'reasons', aka they're cowards who think everyone is going to shoot them.
So, start being organized right now, what I think is very important, almost as important as updating your address book, is getting a SMALL notebook and another ziplock bag for it. You don't want a notebook like you'd use for school, you want a pocket notebook. Write down where all your stuff went, if it went to friends and family. Try not to put all of your things with the same person(s), it might overwhelm their own storage and make you an inconvienance to them. I recommend spreading your stuff around to different people, if you have that option. If not, then don't try to save furniture, you can replace that.
You might think you can put your things in a monthly storage locker, and yes, you can. Never put important papers in a storage locker or your car! And remember... you might have to choose between paying that rent on storage or buying food in the future. If you have friends or family, that's a better option for storage. Again, if you do store with friends and family, I wouldn't overwhelm one location with all your stuff. Down the road, someone might decide keeping your stuff is too much of a space-suck and toss it to make room. Yes, even your most trusted friends and family might do this. So, best not to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. A storage locker isn't a bad choice if you have the money, some type of steady income that you can use to pay it. Otherwise, it's probably a mistake and everything you put in there, you'll end up losing. Furniture can be replaced fairly easily, but there are momentos in our lives that are much harder to replace, and I'd put that with friends and family and not worry about your favorite coffee table so much.
Save momentos and things that are not easily replaced at Ikea or Walmart. And, don't try to carry things that are important to you, with you, if you have the option not to. If you're hitting the streets, only take things you can afford to lose! The notebook is to keep yourself organized for later... so you know where you put things and can retrieve them. Maybe you have a computer, write down who you left it with. Maybe you want to save some work tools you have, write down where they went and what they were. Don't try to save some $5 shit, it'll just take up space that is someone else's space, save what is not easily replaced, or things you might want right away when you get back into a place, like a computer, or tools, safety shoes, etc. Pots and pans and dishes? I don't know, I wouldn't bother saving them. But a computer and monitor? You probably won't have the money to replace those easily, but you can get pots and dishes cheap, even if you have to get them at Goodwill. What you do keep, write down in your little book, write what the item is and where it went.
On this same topic, if you have the chance before the eviction starts, put all the stuff in one part of your home. Then after you've gone through your house, and done that. Go to this pile of things, and sort through it again, asking yourself, "Do I really need to keep this?". Be tough and practical with yourself, and take out any stuff from that pile that you really don't need. After you've gone through it twice, you could even start writing down who you want to put that item with, but make sure that if a stored item goes somewhere else in the confusion, to note it in your pocket notebook at the time!
Next, get your address book. Make sure all your creditors' names, addresses and numbers are in there and up to date. Go through your phone and update your physical address book with anything that might be missing. Get online and get the addresses to replace your birth certificate, High School Diploma, College Transcript, DD214, and any of that and put it in your address book. ASSUME you're going to LOSE EVERYTHING and have to replace it, and if you need an address or phone number to replace it, put it in your address book! After you have the address book updated, find an old address book (I've got like 5 old ones in my house, LOL) that you might have, and duplicate it. Put one of the address books in with your important papers that you're going to store with your most trusted friend or family. Get a ziplock for the other one to keep it dry and protected, you're taking that one with you! If you have an internet password book, copy that too, and put one copy with your important stuff, one with you. Why would you want one with you? Well, you might have to get online for something, and most libraries allow you access to the internet, and you would need that login info.
Grab a couple of writing instruments while you're at it, and rubber band them together. Pens? I'd prefer to use mechanical pencils, rather than pens or regular pencils, but I'd pick a pencil over a pen, a pencil is more able to survive the elements, and you don't want a pen exploding all over your things! You've just been warned about something! Fuck around and find out!
Get a small backpack and throw the stuff you're taking with you in it. If you have a phone, put a charger in the backpack, keep it dry (ziplock), a USB cord to charge a phone from a computer, same ziplock, baby! Your copies of your address books, your organization notepad, and all that, ziplocked and in your backpack. Grab a spoon, and a fork as well. I wouldn't grab a steak knife, cops nowadays will think you're some kind of freaky 'Jason Bourne' terrorist, capable of taking over the world with a steak knife, and they will shoot you just for wanting to cut your food! Especially if you're a Citizen of color. But don't be thinking that just because you're white, that you'll retain your white privilege while being homeless, no you've just become a scumbag, not a Citizen! But instead of a steak knife, a butter type knife can go in there too. Remember you're about to become a 'scumbag homeless person', no longer a Citizen, so don't toss in anything that a cop will say is a weapon.
In your backpack, put in a nail clipper that doesn't have a file attached to it (could be considered a weapon, lol, schucks they didn't teach me that in the Infantry, even!). Put in a toothbrush and if you take toothpaste, put that in a ziplock first, in case the tube leaks, put the brush in a ziplock (different one from the toothpaste, in case it leaks!) also, so it doesn't get dirty. Anything that might leak, put in a ziplock. Cologne, perfume? You do you, but put that in a ziplock too! Same with deooderant, the top will come off and you'll have deoderant all over the inside of your pack, and you won't like that. You can get a box of 100 sandwich sized ziplocks at any store that sells things like that (CVS, Walmart, etc) for a couple of bucks, so use them indiscriminantly! If you're a smoker, get a ziplock for your cigarettes and lighter, you'll thank me later!
You might want weather-specific gear, like gloves and scarf too. I'm in Wisconsin, I'd definitely be putting them in my bag. And winter is coming... a heavy jacket? Well that's going to take a lot of space, but I'd try to take a jacket I can somehow tie to the backpack itself, with a bungie cord, if possible. Speaking of bungie cords, if you have some, take some small ones. Useful little things! I remember buying a 'can' of 30 bungie cords for like $10 on Amazon years ago, so you can get them cheap. I have an apartment, I'm no longer homeless, but I keep a couple bungie cords on my 'granny cart' for my monthly shopping trip to Aldi's just in case I have to secure something to the top so it doesn't fall out! Very useful these bungie cord thingies, as useful as ziplock thingies... if you have kite-type string, you might find that useful on the streets as well. Have you wondered why you see homeless people wearing a heavy jacket in the middle of summer? They have no pack, no bungie cord, and probably no ziplocks or string! That's why they're wearing it, and they want that coat for winter but it's hard to carry all the time.
Next, If you've got one, put an emergency blanket in there, those aluminized ones that fold down to the size of a notebook are fine for an emergency, but that silver reflective coating will be coming off as you use it over time, so it's not a permanent solution. There are some high tech solutions for this, though. Ones that don't fall apart with moisture or when used.
Ok, your bag is mostly packed, so that's the end of this article. I'm going to drill down and list what to put in a 'homeless backpack' for you in a different article. Keep your backpack close, secure and protected, always! And stay safe out there, the government and other Citizens in general may now see you as a second class Citizen, but I don't. I'm here for you!
Just Eddie Fetherman's Personal Experience