This is a little bit changed from what I intended. A place to live can be more important than a job in some instances. Some people live in cars and that is not fun. It involves a lot of compromises to our standards. If you are still in your house and living in a car is one option that may look like it is on the horizon it is time for action. If you live in a big city or have a large family these ideas may not be as viable as in a more rural small town setting. Holding onto your home is always desired, but sometimes not the best solution in the long run. If your way behind and nothing is changing and you are waiting for things to get better. Well face the real facts of life they can get worse. It is not uncommon to hear of family suicides. That is one of the sadest and most unnecessary actions that could possibly happen. A house is just that, a house. Houses can be replaced. In the end sometimes that may be the best option. There are a lot of myths about filing bankruptcy. It is to be avoided if at all possible. However it is not the horrible thing some would have you believe. Bankruptcy was created because of a need in society to deal with unplanned economic hardships. Contrary to the wives tales it does not destroy your opportunity to get credit. It may destroy the opportunity to get good and reasonably priced credit, but believe me some creditors will hound you to do business with them. Why would they do this? Because you can not file again for seven years and if you at least have a job they can make your life miserable by garnishing your wages and generally harassing you to death. So what are some alternative ways to find a place to live.
This first one may sound a little bit morbid, but it is real. Read the obituaries in the paper and contact the survivors and some people may need someone to take care of a home that is to be tied up in an estate. If you are honest and explain your situation it may work to the advantage of both parties. The owners pay the bills involved with the house and you take care of the yard work and make sure the house is not vandalized. It sounds strange, but it happens.
The second way to find a place is to take care of a house for a snowbird. Snowbirds are retirees who go south for the winter and north for the summer. Many own homes on both ends of the migration route. Some look for people to take care of the home they are not living in. Some writers I have heard of use it to their advantage. They do not really care where they live as long as they have most of their time to write. It is not free rent. You need to be willing to help out and save the snowbirds money by helping maintain the grounds or forward mail and such things. Usually the owner takes care of the bills. At least the house payments and utilities. Meals are the caretakers problem and I have heard of instances where the temporary tenent received a small salary for his services. Finding this kind of situation is harder, but not impossible.
The third way requires some effort but can work out to the advantage of both parties. It requires searching for houses with untended yards and basically an abandoned look to them. The deal is to find the owner and offer to keep up the property for a place to stay. At minimum it may offer an opportunity to find some temporary self employment that may provide funds to help you get by. Outside work in the north can be multi seasonal. You have the mowing season, the fall raking season and winter shoveling season. If the owner lives near the house you are interested in sweeten the deal. Offer to keep up the house you want to live in and mow and do chores at the house they live in. Even if it turns into a two or three day a week job, it puts a roof over your head. In the country many farmers do not want someone to live in their mother and fathers house. When you meet this it can often be overcome by pointing out that their parents put their whole life into making the house in question a home and letting it fall apart is disrespectful of all their parents did. You must do this very tactfully,but it can open a door. When dealing with a farmer they have choirs they do not like to do. Mowing, cleaning fence rows, feeding cattle and other jobs. Try to sweeten the deal for the person you are dealing with. Meet a need for them and you may get a home for virtually nothing per month. Most of these situations will require paying the utilities yourself, but they may allow you to have the space to have a garden which can reduce your needs even more. With tomatos at $2.80 per pound you may even be able to generate some cash flow.
The point in this discussion is that if you open your eyes there are alternative ways to earn a place or find a place to stay. It takes effort on your part but it does happen and it can turn into a long term solution to your housing problem. If your not willing to trade your labor for a place to stay, then deal with the consequencs of your actions. The next blog will deal with alternative income opportunities.