Not long ago, Oprah Winfrey did a show on homelessness in the midst of the housing crisis.
She showed many families who were either well off or middle class 1 year ago who are now living in sub-standard housing such as homeless shelters, tent cities, in their office space, etc.
The show did end in a positive note with personal stories from people who found alternatives to being homeless.
This is what I would like to address.
While you may have to give up your house and life as you know it, you don’t have to become homeless. Here are 7 ways to avoid the causes of homelessness:
#1 – Move In With Relatives
It might be embarrassing to ask your relatives, and you may have to go through a few no’s before you get to a yes, but someone will say yes. There are family members and friends who are struggling as much as you are and even if you can only offer cleaning, cooking services, and childcare, you may be freeing them up to bring more money into the household.
#2 – Rent Out A Room In Your Home
This will make it easier to pay the bills each month. There are college students, elderly people, and single mothers who are good people but down on their luck. They can contribute to your home without disturbing your life too much. Renting a room can mean the difference between making the mortgage payment or not, so before you give up your home, consider giving up a little space. You can probably make more money if you are willing to move out of your master bedroom and share a bathroom with your kids so your renter will have a bit more privacy.
Here are some really good ways to interview a potential roommate.
#3 – Don’t Move Out Of Your Home
The bank does not want your home. Many people just stop talking to the mortgage company and abandon the home. If you can pay something (anything!), make arrangements with the bank to make payments that you can afford. Getting a roommate will help you meet a reasonable payment schedule.
Here are 4 tips for negotiating your mortgage.
#4 – Downsize… A Lot
One family in the Oprah story moved from a house to a gated apartment community, ran out of money, and became homeless. Perhaps it would have been better to get a very inexpensive apartment instead of a high-end apartment. That way, the money would have lasted longer and perhaps the family would have been able to pay the rent with part-time work.
#5 – Apply For Public Assistance
Many people wait until it’s too late to apply for public assistance. If you don’t have enough income coming in to pay for the house and food, then you should get food stamps to cover the food bill. You can also go to food pantries. You can even get medical coverage. Reserve as much money as possible to cover the house bill.
I love these tips on how to find and apply for government benefits.
#6 – Get Foreclosure Assistance
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a lot of invaluable advice and resources for people who are facing foreclosure.
Here are some reasons when a foreclosure is a good option.
#7 – Rent An Extended Stay Hotel Room
At $50 to $70 a night, it will cost about $1,500 to $2,000 a month to rent a hotel room on a regular basis. It may sound like a lot — especially if you are paying that much for mortgage and not meeting the bills. But remember, you won’t have to pay for electric, heat, water, television, and in some cases, breakfast. Any family who can scrape together $2,000 a month should be able to live in extended stay housing until the situation improves.
Here’s how to find the best deal at an extended stay hotel.
More Resources To Avoid Homelessness
- Too Much Stuff & Knowing When to Let It Go
- 6 Ways To Cut Your Housing Costs
- Thinking About Arranging A Mortgage Short Sale?
- How To Renegotiate Your Rent With Your Landlord
- Playing The Home Market: Buying A New House And Bailing On The Old
- How Housesitting Can Save You Money On Housing Costs
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.