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Monday, August 3, 2009

Living in your car, with children Part 1

It's a scary thought, losing your home and being forced to live in your car. But it happens, and many times it happens while you have children. Seeking help at shelters or with family and friends is a good start. But sometimes doesn't work. Shelters in some areas have long waiting lists, sometimes family is in another State, and friends just don't have the room.

You also find yourself in a catch 22 about where you park your car to live. Big cities have the opportunities you need to make money and get out of that car. But they also have the dangers associated with car living. Small towns don't always have the financial availability, but they are safer. This is your first major decision, stay in the city, or move on.

My husband's family choose to stay in downtown Denver. There was work there, and it was their hometown. Whenever they could, they would rent a motel room. This is great when you have children. They need a bed, warmth and a shower. But renting a motel room isn't always feasible. money can be scarce when you don't have a permanent address. PO Boxes can be helpful in this situation, if you plan on staying in the city. Employers don't like the homeless. If you can get a friend to allow you to use their address for employment, securing a job will be easier.

When staying in the city, make sure your locks work, and that you park in areas that are well lit. Never hide in alleys. Think about personal security as well. Not only are you defending yourself, but your children as well.

My husband's advice on living in a car with children, is don't. And don't poop where you eat.

But he knows very well, that sometimes things happen, and your car is the only home you have left.

Another problem you will have, is what to do with your kids while seeking new employment or working. You can't leave them in the car, alone. No matter their age. This will take some creativity on your part. Seeking out a caregiver that will understand your situation, that you are not neglecting or abusing your children, and that will be patient about payments, or are willing to barter for care. Not an easy thing to do. Most state certified agencies will turn you in.

Once you have secured you caregiver, a new job. You can begin the uphill battle of finding a new home. But it will take time, energy and creative planning to get back there.


Anonymous said...

Great post Phelan. I will link this on my post about maintaining your car.

Kentucky Preppers Network

Marie said...

Thanks for providing some thought-provoking information. I've thought about the fact that it would be very hard to gain employment without an address--extremely difficult situation in a lot of ways.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Wow, Interesting thought! Not the typical 'prepper' subject, but it is something we should all think about! Thanks!

Kymber said...

it certainly isn't the typical prepper subject...but think of how many people out there could really use this info as they may already be, or getting close to, having to try and survive living in a car with children...thanks so much for sharing this Phelan!

Phelan said...

no, not typical. But I have been homeless as a teen, my husband grew up living in cars, and we thought it is important and something that should be prepped or thought about.

Laurie said...

As a former social worker, I can tell you that living in your car does not mean that SRS will automatically asume you are abusing or neglecting your children. As long as you provide shelter, food and clothing and get them to school and the doctor when they need it....SRS doesn't want your kids. It's only when there are drugs involved or the kids aren't getting to school or the Dr. that SRS has to get involved. I had several cases of families living in little tiny trailers with 3-4 kids and the parents were doing the best they could and we didn't take those kids. SRS doesn't have enough foster homes, they don't like to take peoples kids away because there is no where to put them.

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