by Darnell Boyd
- Get a waterproof backpack and fill it up with doggie bags because you will need to keep your feet dry. The doggie bags you can get in the parks—they’re the poop bags for the dogs. You put them over the feet and then put your socks on so your feed don’t get wet. Next, you need big plastic bags to put all of your electronics in them and important papers. Your ID is very important.
- How to keep warm: Waterproof boots and warm clothes. Always keep extra pairs of socks and gloves to help your friends out. Your sleeping bag must be for 20 below zero degrees. You must have an extra hat. I was also drinking vodka to keep warm and take away the pain of being homeless and used the alcohol for cuts and sanitation. Later on, I learned a better way to keep warm: using hot peppers (like cayenne pepper) in my top ramen or tea.
- You must have the ability to make friends because you will need them. All your stereotypes of homeless people must leave because they will help you find your way. You cannot survive homelessness being antisocial.
- You must have a working cell phone.
- You must learn how to live on a budget of $3.50 a day (which is how much you would get from food stamps) and the only way to do that and stay healthy is to go vegetarian. I would buy chicken top ramen, an onion, and garlic. The garlic and onion are to protect your immune system. I carried a hot pot in my backpack and used public outlets to make my ramen.
- Use your backpack as your pillow so that your things don’t get stolen. Try to take naps during the day so that you don’t go into a deep sleep in the shelter so you can watch your stuff.
- Keep things clean. Use tea tree oil as antiviral medicine because everyone gets sick in the shelter, especially in the winter. Use clorox bleach to clean the mattresses and the pillows at the shelter before you sleep. They are made out of vinyl.