11 Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets

Feature | Couple looking for food | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets

January 1, 2024 / Comments (49)

Self Sufficiency Tips

Learn these homeless survival tips and know how to survive, because you never know when they could be useful sooner or later!

RELATED: Top Survival Skills | Learn Now, Survive Later

Homeless Survival Tips and Tricks to Learn From

1. Collect Old Newspapers

Stack of newspaper | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets
First up on our list of homeless survival tips is to gather as many newspapers as you can. Newspapers are fine tools since they have many uses and are accessible, especially on the streets.

For example, you can use it to improve your shelter or as bedding for you to sleep on. You can also use it to cover yourself up for insulation or burn it for fire.

The newspaper is also a source of information about current events and even entertainment to keep your mind off your situation. It's best to know what's going on around you so you're prepared for what might possibly happen.

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2. Find Where to Sleep

One of the main concerns of being homeless is where to sleep or rest, too. There are shelters for the homeless or abandoned buildings you can temporarily stay in, though.

You need to check the structure of the building, as it may already be weak since it's been abandoned. Find a spot closer to the exit or beneath a support beam so it's safer.

In case you don't find shelter and you're forced to sleep on the streets, try finding a spot where there are other homeless people. This area is probably where the police won't bother them, and there's also safety in numbers.

It's also possible they'll intimidate you, so you need to prepare for that. If you want to have a more intimate spot though, try looking for bushy areas.

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3. Find Practical Clothes

Homeless man sitting in the street | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets
It's hard to survive as a homeless person if you don't wear the right kind of clothes. So wear enough to cover your body and keep you warm but not hot.

You can wear long sleeves and layers of thin clothes. A pair of zip-off cargo pants is also a good choice since you can easily switch from pants to shorts. The pockets could also give you extra storage for your essentials.

4. Keep Yourself Warm

When winter comes up, store thick winter coats, wool beanies, and lots of socks in your survival gear. Besides practical clothes, you need other items to keep you warm in your survival gear.

You can also get your hands on a thermal blanket if you can. But if there is not enough to maintain body heat, boil water and place it inside water bottles.

Then, surround yourself with these hot water bottles before covering yourself with blankets. They can keep you warm and protect your hands from frostbite, indeed.

5. Keep a Clean Look

Homeless man wearing glasses sitting in the sofa | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets
Try to keep yourself neat, even if the chance of taking a shower does not come by often. So, make it a point to store wet wipes in your survival gear.

Go to public toilets where you have access to running water and clean yourself properly. By keeping a clean look, you can improve your self-confidence and have a more positive outlook on life.

Making yourself presentable will help you gain friends and handouts easier, too. That's because people are most likely to respond positively to someone who looks clean. Having a clean look also makes it easier for you to blend in and not be shooed away by security guards.

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6. Recycle Your Things

Your old torn shirts, pants, or shoelaces can turn into a rope, bandages for first aid, or sweatbands. If you have a hat, you can use it for collecting water or a sort of basket for carrying goods.

Use your creativity and imagination and repurpose things to your advantage. That way, you wouldn't need more things to carry around while you're on the street.

RELATED: Lost In The Woods 101: What To Do When Lost In The Woods

7. Get a Companion

Homeless with two Dogs | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets
Find yourself a stray pet dog that will serve as both your friend and companion. Even though you'll have another mouth to feed, you’ll find they’re worth it.

Your pet dog can even be your bodyguard, protecting you from thieves and harassers, too. In fact, dogs are loyal animals that will stick with you through thick and thin — just as you need.

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8. Keep Your Things Close

Never leave your things unattended because others may be worse off than you. Always have them beside you and don't get too comfortable, even if the place looks safe.

You can't afford to get robbed when you're homeless since you have limited resources, so have your things packed and always prepared to leave when you need to. Cops and other homeless groups might kick you out.

9. Avoid Fighting

This is among the basic survival skills you need to learn while you’re out in the streets. That is to avoid conflict at all costs.

Unless you’re physically attacked and need to defend yourself, fighting simply isn’t worth it. You may end up with scratches, bruises, or even broken bones, and this is a bad thing if you don’t have access to a clinic or hospital.

Worse, a cop may pick you up so what happens then? That's why you need to stay calm and always walk away from trouble before it even begins.

10. Keep a First Aid Kit

Survival kit in the pocket | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets
Always keep a first-aid kit in your survival gear because in your situation anything can happen. What's even worse is you don't have easy access to medical facilities so you have to rely on your own.

You can recycle some of your things to apply first aid, but you really need to have medicines with you. Pain relievers, antiseptic solutions, and antibacterial ointments are some of the items you need.

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11. Store Food

Buying food or even scavenging is sometimes not an option, so you need to store food in your survival gear. Of course, you must keep long-storing food and food that fills you up like canned goods, beef jerky, trail mix, and so on.

Here's one more to add to these homeless survival tips: keep refillable bottles. You can fill them with water from gas stations or restaurants for drinking or washing.

Take note that while all these homeless survival tips help, the most important thing is to never lose hope. Things will get better eventually but for now, take these homeless survival tips.

Watch this video by Bicycle Touring Pro so you can learn some stealth camping survival tips that may help you survive the streets:

There are many reasons people become homeless including financial collapse, natural disasters, and lack of support system from friends and family. If you're wondering what is it like to be homeless, the list above will give you a good idea.

Although nobody aims to be homeless, it's better to know some homeless survival tips to use for life in the streets in case of SHTF!

What other homeless survival tips can you add to the list? Share them in the comments section below!

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Placard | Survive on the streets | Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets | Survival Gear

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on June 6, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

49 Responses to :
11 Homeless Survival Tips | How To Survive On The Streets

  1. Anonymous says:

    You have never been homeless.

    1. Chris Wells says:

      No I have never been homeless but I go to the 7-11 here in orange in my wheelchair from the nursing homes and there are a lot of homeless people that hang out there. I like to talk to them because most of them are really cool people. Because I’m in a wheelchair people have tried to give me money.I don’t take it because I’m not homeless and I thank them anyway and point out other homeless people. I do feel bad the people who are homeless but I don’t need any money even though its tempting. I do tell almost every one about how Jesus has helped me and how He can help them.Well God bless us all and the next time you see a homeless person be kind.☮️✝️

      1. Anonymous says:

        I do.

        1. Anonymous says:

          I do too! I am a Vet!

          1. Lynda Mallory says:

            It’s sometimes hard to help them in monetary ways because a lot of them,, not all, are just running scams. They get a monthly income and by the first couple of days in the month or for beginning of the month it’s gone cuz they spend it frivolously and spend the rest of the month beggng hard working ppl for money just ta do the same thing all over again. smh. Then, there are others who keep their monthly income and lie and say they’re broke just to spend hard-working ppls money. my theory is, when you want something bad enough you’ll go out and get it. Not being unsympathetic—-I’ve been homeless myself more than once and found a way to do better. js

      2. Z says:

        Use Shelters, religious or other, and get clothes from charities ask people for directions or rides or phone calls to them by asking to use their phones. Also, find heat sources and use blankets u get from charities or any other covers and secure hem around the vent or whatever or just lay on the heat source with a blanket to contain the heat. Maybe go inside buildings to rest and also ask to shelter in there. Make urself look like they’ll fell sympathy but not turn u away and also ask to spend night? Maybe but maybe not on the last one. Ask people u know or companies these in order to take advantage of kindness

      3. Sarah says:

        okay god is good all the time

        1. Anonymous says:

          God is good

      4. Maria José says:

        I have helped with money, clothing, blankets.

      5. Anonymous says:

        I will (:

    2. Anonymous says:

      Use Shelters, religious or other, and get clothes from charities ask people for directions or rides or phone calls to them by asking to use their phones. Also, find heat sources and use blankets u get from charities or any other covers and secure hem around the vent or whatever or just lay on the heat source with a blanket to contain the heat. Maybe go inside buildings to rest and also ask to shelter in there. Make urself look like they’ll fell sympathy but not turn u away and also ask to spend night? Maybe but maybe not on the last one. Ask people u know or companies these in order to take advantage of kindness. Maybe sympathize Witt them ask them a q and say no way me too, like asking about whats ur faith. Connect with them so they’re help you. Find info on them to connect. Share your story and mistreatment while begging it anything too you to get sympathy. Ask to use phones and people’s cars (ask for ride) to get accès to or find out about help. Also find out about welfare and welfare like programs near you. Plus call people u know to get help or maybe 911 though u might get in trouble If not emergency call. Get help. Look up how others survive. And ask others and people for help. If u see a homeless person and u r the helper, follow what I’ve said a helper should do. If a victim follow what I’ve said and the helper things in order to ask for the right help. Use other ideas too to help and get help. Helpers give non money things, and tell about investing safely so that u haven money to live on not invested. Invest small shares
      Not even full ones if you can’t in constant getters to grow cash. Learn about investing. U want to have stock go and maybe sell before crash or st really high point or see if cash grows. Teach this, and tel to not get addicted to investing in a risky way. Also if homeless, learn a lot at libraries or their computers in order to do fer fun facts or video game cheat codes for money . Offer to do cool magic tricks or have a dog do tricks ur dog or start or a friends. Call old friends anywhere or family anywhere for help, even if you have broken or lost relationships.

    3. Z says:

      Check my reply lower on this thread from z go slowly so you won’t miss it. Also ask for shelter in companies and stuff and share mistreatments if they do or refuse so other companies especially will help you to get press or praise over the otter co that refused you. Also say that it will give good press f you help me if your wrokers do even if it’s not still st or having to do with the store when you ask. Take advantage of other périple like this maybe say get your crush to notice or Hearn of this and they’ll like you stuff like this. Or that you can get friends by sharing what you did or their god will reward or what will happen they will get citizenship awards like the good citizenship award or the American citizenship award if they share deeds ir find ways to have others find out or say you’ll show or whatever and look up if they report you for not sharing so you can say that’s was another guy if u try the same trick and people don’t help and also don’t let the money take pics tell them I don’t want my image seen but that’s can help them describe you on the net for peopl to not help so maybe don’t be that descriptive. Am praying for you.

    4. pet says:

      how do they get and keep all those necessities without an income?

      1. Dora Ransco says:

        Thank you for such a correct question. I have been homeless myself and can tell everyone that I had no way to get my necessities taken care of. A homeless situation is much more serious than a lot of us understand including me. I was homeless for one week and not because I needed to but because I opted to do it to understand it better. If I needed to be homeless I would be unbelievably disoriented on what to do or how to do it. I can’t believe what is happening in the so called powerful country right?

  2. Jennifer says:

    Almost. I spent a summer in a campground living in my tent. I was working and had primitive facility’s. But Job was seasonal and came to an end. I had to move to get another job-so spent one night in a homeless shelter-then found someone to take easy payments to live while I waited for my second job to start. I always have essentials now,

  3. Ralston Heath says:

    Good article, gives you something to think about. Not all preps should be for wilderness living. The city streets are just as challenging, as well as more likely, as any wilderness.

    1. Terry says:

      Yeah I’m more worried about force protection I’m a vet and will be homeless soon I don’t mind sharing but trust has to be earned don’t want someone taking my stuff so this is a big issue for me I’m wary of people anyways

      1. Amanda Dillon says:

        I’m 19 and homeless right now, and I’ve been homeless for a couple years on my own. I want to tell you, don’t trust anyone. You need to worry about yourself. Yea, it sucks out there for everyone. But you have your shit you have to get together, I finally got a job and I’m finally two paychecks away from getting an apartment

  4. Anonymous says:

    Coming from someone who has been homeless some of these ideas are good while there is so much missing to inform others how to survive other problems that come up, including bad weather.

  5. Linda Happenny says:

    I have been homeless and one thing that I learned along time ago is keep your eyes open and your gut feelins on caution mode. Most homeless are not nice and I with my husband have been threatened body harm to get our stuff and our cats. We didn’t drink or do drugs so they thought that was the only way. You have no idea what the streets are like. You can’t be f**k up because they will get you in a second. 5 people died when we were out there. These are good Ideas to start but there is more to it.

  6. Caelo says:

    Think survival behind enemy lines, being street smart, being invisible and blending in. Stay on the move, have multiple resting environments, multiple sources of income, avoid trouble, don’t look homeless and most important, don’t give up and never lose hope. You’ll be ok.

    1. George says:

      You are totally right …You have to keep up appearances at camp as well as your self ..Police are kinder to you if your not littering and or making a scene…I was homeless for 5 years..and learned alot..Use your resourses like churches for showers , laundry, and a hot meal..There are more shelters during cold weather…Below freezing alot more opens up..At least up north ..

    2. Anzi says:

      Great post!

  7. Gee Bee says:

    check out A. Americans series of books

  8. Douglas E Schwad says:

    I have been doing a lot of interstate tent camping and touring on my motorcycle for the last 30 years and learned a lot from it. Keeping the cold away always seemed to be the most important thing. Staying dry and going to cheap places to eat, like the Mom & Pop Restaurants, who almost always seemed to have good food. What I would do. in a small town, is find a M&P Restaurant with the most local cars parked by it and then ask the locals what they thought of it. Also, always be polite and humble with the locals, as it costs you nothing to be that way and people will open up to you more.

  9. Sandy says:

    I believe Veterans should come before immigrants! I hope things get better for our Vets. Not all people mess with drugs! Just a streak of bad luck can happen to anyone! Always remember to pray, God helps those who try to help themselves.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Shut up

    2. Lou says:

      God is merciful , if God only help those that help himself so so where’s the mercy. it’s not in the scriptures my brother that God only helps those that helps themselves. I suggest you first get to know God so you could know his Mercy

  10. Homeless Harry says:

    Where do we store our gopro camera that we use to film ourselves being homeless?

    1. larry barnhardt says:

      of course you want to keep your electronics warm and dry. sooo put them (if your lucky enough to have it) in your sleeping bag at night and in a plastic grocerybag or trash bag… and don’t let the morning dew get to it. that is an instant electronic killer.. also if its raining put a grocery bag between two pairs of socks and trim the ends so people don’t see it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Start learning more about being homeless because most people will need to survive in an urban enviorment not in the woods if SHTF. Ninety percent of people heading to the woods wont make it maybe more , good to have this survival knowlege for much of it will be important even in urban areas.

  12. J says:

    My first 3 days on the street I’m using lemon bomb shower foam to keep mosquitos away fashioned a pair of socks into fingerless gloves. It was cold last night. Live and learn. Hope I can find some hope as I’m an anxious depressive. I hope that bends in my favour when speaking with the council but you know how unhelpful they are.

  13. Lazereth says:

    I am about to be homeless. I’m 52, I have late stage COPD and no source of income. Just want to say God Bless all of you that are homeless, especially our Vets. As for me, I’m packing my bags and getting ready to meet Jesus. Lazereth

  14. Hugh says:

    When I was homeless in England a few years back, one of the most useful places I found was the local adult education centre which was open until 10pm. They never asked if I was a student when I walked in and I just walked into the cafe. There was a power socket where I could recharge my phone and external battery. There was a toilet in the building which was ideal for shaving and there was a disabled toilet which was ideal for cleaning up using wet wipes. The place had those sort of big, heavy-duty old-fashioned radiators which dried wet clothes in next to no time. The place was always very warm even in the middle of winter.
    There was a water cooler in the cafe so I was never short of water.
    There was also free WiFi.
    The place was great and then I stupidly told other homeless people about it.
    They managed to get us all barred from the premises.
    My advice: If you find a good place, never tell other homeless people about it because they’ll ruin it for you.

    1. Anzi says:

      Excellent advice, it is about your survival after all. try not to camp with other homeless people they will try to take whatever they can from you, not because they are bad people but because they are are in survival mode too. Never bring other homeless people to your well-hidden camp. If you are a female alone this is critical to your well being. Also if you find a good source for supplies mum is the word.

  15. Visionque says:

    Unless you have health issues that prevent you from working, I disagree with getting a dog. You cannot take the dog into the store, restaurant or library. The library is a huge resource to do internet search for jobs, housing, food stamps EBT, life line cellphones, check email, use toilet and clean yourself. A evening restaurant job will provide food and a check while you look for better paying work. Definitely don’t sleep with other homeless people. Find some tall weeds or bushes away from roads and foot paths. Let no one see you come or go. Leave nothing behind when you exit the area. Volunteer at thrift stores in exchange for things you need, backpack, blanket, warm clothes. Carry a water bottle and drink often. Being outside dehydrates you. Refill from any fountain or sink. Large churches with gyms have showers. Don’t look homeless. Stay clean and do laundry frequently.

  16. Lily Mulhall says:

    helpful and kind but how do you boil water?

  17. Anonymous says:

    when was this

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  20. Anonymous says:

    There should be euthanasia for this situation. We do this for our pets because it is considered to be more humane. Giving someone heart surgery, I would have kept a note and said no to, knowing of the situation because yes that does lead to infection. Everyone says there is hope, but not really.

  21. Istayonit says:

    I’m staying in the shelter but shelter life got more difficult since I got older it seem when you a lot people don’t like to follow rule and they can’t read you power in other world they and would not let you chill when you about to get money when you got trouble for whaterver situado ayude al otro no pela.

  22. john doe says:

    Jesus is not homeless, and can not give you any physical aid only mental / spiritual, SO thanking your deity wont get a roof over your head.
    know Im homeless living in a car in Milwaukee WI. winter weather

  23. Abbie Elizabeth or what people call me : AbiNormal says:

    hi my name is Abbie Elizabeth. Im 18 years old an I have been homeless for about three years going on three years after my 19th birthday. Being homeless, is honestly the most hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with, and for other people to sit there, and have the audacity to say or tell people homeless skills. dont truly know how to live homeless. It’s not that you should learn skills before hand, Because when you come out here you don’t no anything because the only thing that you’re going to really need to know out here if you were going to teach yourself the more and more or at least the longer you’re out here. being homeless isn’t what everybody thinks it is. it is more intense than I thought ever, but if it wasn’t for some people really take me under their wing, I’d be dead so you got to make sure that you know people you meet up here some of them do stay family and they always have their eyes on you to make sure you’re OK

  24. 20 year old girl from Pennsylvania says:

    Hi. Im living in the state of Pennsylvania and i need to have somebody to trust with a female as am i as a female so i can not struggle having a job as a homeless person and save money when i can be on my own will anybody be willing to do so?

  25. k says:

    how can a teen survive outside?

  26. People call me ShoeString says:

    Forget sleeping in an urban area. I’m homeless, and have been for 3 years now. The homeless people in SC live, for the most part, in the woods where they set up a camp. I have been living in a camp in the woods for 8 months now. I have an 8-person tent set up under a well-constructed tarp structure made with tree trunks. It measures 12 feet wide by 15 feet long and has an 8-½ foot ceiling hight which is 2-½ feet higher than the front and back walls. The walls and roof are made of tarps. Underneath my tent’s rain fly are blankets for insulation and on top of the blankets is a very large sheet of Mylar from an old survival tent.
    I also live 45 feet away from a creek, and have a water purification LifeStraw for clean drinking water.

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