No one becomes homeless if there’s a better option. Hi guys, I’m Stevie and I was a homeless teen. I’m a little ashamed that I’ve never talked about this before and I want to change that. I was homeless on and off from about age 16 to about age 22. I’m going to give you advice on how to survive homelessness but, just a disclaimer. That’s not gonna… My advice is not gonna work for everyone. I’m white and I was able-bodied as fuck as a teen and pretty neurotypical and I lived in a small town in the US. But this video is directed at past Stevie, teen Stevie. I just want to tell her some stuff that maybe would have helped her if she had heard it. And if it helps you too – great. First of all fuck all this positive thinking bullshit and fuck feeling sorry for yourself. You can’t afford to and you definitely can’t manifest yourself out of this shitty of a situation. You have to learn how to fight. If at all possible, stay in school. You are safe there because they will protect you. You can get food at school. You can get showers at school. You can prepare for the future by getting a degree. If you have the option to emancipate yourself, please do it. Emancipation is something a court gives you to declare legal independence from your family. It’s kind of difficult to do depending on your circumstances, and it costs money, so I couldn’t but I wish I would have. Holy shit. If you can’t emancipate yourself, immunization records, educational guardianship and proof of residence are all things you’re gonna need to be able to go to school and they can all be faked. Google that shit and print that shit out and sign it. The worst that can happen is they find out that you faked the signature and then they won’t let you to go to school which would have happened anyway if you didn’t have the papers. This should be fucking illegal but I was kicked out of a school for not having the right paperwork and not being able to produce papers to them So, I moved to a new town and faked the papers. Also, if you do not emancipate yourself, and you live in the U.S. you can not qualify for financial aid for college unless you turn 26, have a baby or get married. Or unless your biological parents give you their tax…their like IRS tax information and sign off on it. *Finger guns* So, if you have shitty parents, good luck. Fuck, I wish someone would have told me that if you cannot go to school, please find a hobby. Mine was people watching and practicing lying to strangers. This might help keep you out of trouble with drug dealers. Lots of hobbies are free. Find yours. I never begged for food or money for food. I would just walk into a grocery store, pretend like I was shopping, eat the food and then leave. I was also on Government-funded free lunches and breakfasts while I was at school so on school days, I was fed. When I was 20, I went to a lot of soup kitchens and churches that provide food Oh! Also, ask your friends to bring you granola bars and stuff from their parents’ kitchen because then you can keep it in your backpack. *heavy sigh* Finding somewhere to sleep. These are the questions that I recommend you ask yourself. Is it dry? Is there a clean water source nearby? Do you have at least two visible escape routes? Is it hidden but close enough to people so that if you do scream someone can hear you? Do you have something there that looks innocent but could be used as a weapon? Even if your answers to all of those questions aren’t yes for your desired sleeping spot just be aware that some of the answers aren’t yes. Sometimes I would stay at friends’ houses until their parents found out that I was homeless and then not let me be friends with them anymore Thanks mom and dads. They would usually call the cops. I slept in an old abandoned barn. I slept in abandoned houses. I slept in my gym locker room at school. I even once lived in a Mardi Gras float that was being stored in an empty field because it wasn’t parade season. Little Stevie, listen to me. If you finally find somewhere safe to stay and the person that gave it to you expects sex you do not have to give it to them. You do not owe it to them. But if you do have survival sex you are not a bad person. That person is taking advantage of you, not the other way around. If you get caught sleeping somewhere you shouldn’t be, lie. Tell them you’re meditating. Laws against sleeping in public are designed to arrest the homeless not to prosecute them, so just tell them you were just leaving blahblah Sorry, you didn’t know this was private property, whatever. Maybe look into youth shelters. Adult shelters will not accept kids, but maybe you could try using a fake ID. But youth shelters are sometimes worse than jails and they’re not very safe. That might not be true where you are so check the links in the description. Oh my god, I’m putting so many resources in the description but figure out your options, use Google. Call counselors or therapists or City Council people. Just call them anonymously and ask for resources. Use your skills and access information. Stay away from drugs and drug users and drug dealers if you can. This can be really difficult. Definitely don’t use drugs, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol. Not only are these bad for your health and lead to addictions. I’m sure everyone has told you. But, they one, cloud your judgment and two, they’re expensive. You need to be sober and have a quick mind and healthy body to be able to survive. Find something you enjoy. Learn to play an instrument. Make a friend that works at a museum. Find a specific place, maybe a park, to go to when you do feel tempted to do things you know you shouldn’t be doing, that might not be particulary safe. Staying away from drugs is the thing that saved my life. Try not to commit any crimes. This will probably be impossible, so see it more as a guideline. You are not a bad person if you have to break the law to survive. But a potential employer might not see it that way if 20 years from now they’re checking your record and they don’t hire you because you had to steal bread to eat. Here’s what they don’t tell you. If you are under 18 and you commit a crime, your record is confidentially sealed. In some states, certain jobs will allow employers to uncover juvenile records but I’ve never had my juvenile record uncovered, and I’ve had like a full-on FBI background check, and I had a long-ass rap sheet including being arrested for a felony, but becoming a criminal could be a surefire way to ruin your life. Stay away from it if you can. You cannot afford to be idealistic. You will be stolen from. You will be taken advantage of. Accept it. Make peace with this horrible truth and then try to limit the situations that it might happen in. Be very submissive with police and lie to them. I don’t even have… I don’t even know how to give advice about this but You’ll probably run into police a lot. Befriend one of them. My cop friend’s name was Stretch and he was seven feet tall and so sweet. But when cops would try to arrest me, I would just tell them to call Stretch. I just be like he’s my friend, or he’s my uncle. He’s my uncle Stretch. I don’t even… They would almost always let me go and they never called him. Lying is a survival skill but it’s so different for everyone. I don’t even know how to teach you how to but I do have one tip. If you need to go into a building you’re not supposed to be in, pretend you’re on the phone. Even say something embarrassing. People will not know what to say or how to interrupt your phone call so they’ll just let you go, they’ll just let you walk by. Try to learn when to lie and when to tell the truth. Some people will want to help you and about half of those can and about half of those will. When you apply for a job, you have to try to not look homeless. What does homeless look like? Well. This is a whole other video. Luckily teenagers carrying backpacks is totally normal but you need an address to get a job. Do not get a P.O. box. Get a mailbox at like UPS or a kind of place… I forget what the one I got was. It looks like it could be an address. Instead of saying box number you can just say number and then it’ll just look like an apartment. If you are under 18, when you do have a home, even if you’re over 18, don’t get too comfortable. But especially if you’re under 18, since you can’t sign a lease people can kick you off for any reason. If you are a homeless teen, I really hope this video helps you. I’m sorry. Even though I’ve never met you, I care. And I’ve been through this and survived. It was the worst time in my life and things only got better from there. I hope that helps you feel less alone.