Homelessness is a pretty simple concept – you don’t have anywhere permanent to live in. The whole idea becomes much more complicated, however, when you are looking for federal aid to help you get through homelessness.
Take for example the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of Education. The HUD’s definition is geared more towards young adults while the Department of Education’s definition is geared towards providing access to the education to homeless children and youths.
In any case, you will need to prepare a truckload of documents just to prove that you don’t live in a permanent place of residence. This PDF file shows just what kind of documents you need for each case of homelessness.
Now I understand the need for proper documentation, but come on – do you really need to get a letter from an outreach or service worker saying that you live under a bridge or on a sidewalk? Not everyone who is homeless has access to these resources, especially when they are still going through the shock of losing everything they have because of bankruptcy and defaulting on the mortgage.
This issue of homelessness is something that we all need to be acutely aware of. Being axed from a job and suddenly becoming unemployed is a very real threat to people, especially those living on a knife’s edge when it comes to bills and loans. The last thing you want to do is find yourself getting refused housing aid simply because you don’t have proof that you’re homeless.
In any case, it pays to be aware of your options even before getting thrown out on the street. You can start by calling American Red Cross: 1 (877) 568-3317 or seek help from HUD rental assistance programs.
Keep this info in mind if you are in a financially tight spot and you might just save yourself a whole lot of trouble if you should ever find yourself suddenly without a home.