Surviving long-term homelessness:
I've tried typing this up several times, but I keep running out of characters. So here's a truncated version. Hopefully my experience in this matter will help others on the verge of homelessness, or those who're already living it.
1) The longer you're homeless, the longer you're going to be homeless.
SO, if you're anticipating homelessness, get your name in the system NOW. Start applying for EVERYTHING: housing assistance, financial assistance, medical assistance, employment assistance, ANYTHING.
If you're already homeless and haven't done the above yet, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. The system takes forever helping people, so don't waste a single second.
2) DO NOT MAKE FRIENDS WITH OTHER HOMELESS. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND.
This point will save your life.
During my two-plus years of homelessness, the ONLY people who attacked me were other homeless. They prey on each other, because they know their own don't go to the police. Other homeless will be the ones who will exploit you, rob you, rape you, beat you, and potentially even murder you. So stay away from them. Stay alive.
3) DO NOT DRAW ATTENTION TO YOURSELF.
Learn to blend in with normal non-homeless society: that's where safety and opportunities are. When you look homeless, normal people will be suspicious of you - in their stores, at their parks, in their neighborhoods. And when you look homeless, other homeless will spot you, and they WILL prey on you.
So stay clean. Stay quite. Don't talk about being homeless with anyone outside of the system or outside of anyone who's already helping you.
When I was homeless, I used public sinks at parks to bathe, to brush my teeth, to shave, and to keep my hair groomed. I clipped my fingernails. I scrubbed stains on my clothing with a toothbrush, etc. (I want to expand on this aspect, but I keep running out of characters).
4) Life or death: Mindset is everything.
Do not EVER get comfortable being homeless. As stated in point one, the longer you're homeless, the longer you're going to be homeless. Your mindset must be one of getting out ASAP. Your every waking thought should be "This is not the rest of my life. I will overcome this situation. I want to live a normal life again. I WILL live a normal life again."
Keep your eyes open for every opportunity to improve your situation.
When I was homeless, I stayed in wealthier suburbs, just to keep my mind in a positive place. I kept myself surrounded by healthy and happy people, in healthy and successful neighborhoods. I watched normal people doing normal things, and envisioned myself living a life just like them again. I smiled at people, responded to people making small talk with me. I kept myself anchored in a better future, a future from which I drew a river of strength to overcome.
5) Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Be prepared to suffer. Be prepared to struggle. But stay stoic, accept suffering as a passing storm. It will pass, and the sun will shine again.
Link to Gab post - Surviving Long-Term Homelessness Gab