|California Homeless Resources
|Below you will find a list of all the Cities in California. I have tried to include
a very comprehensive list of resources for each City so that you can utilize
them to GET HELP for your particular situation.
|List of celebrities we would like to partner with!
Buy a Van: The first thing I did right was to buy a VAN. (buy an insulated one if you can). This is your urban survival shelter.
Keep your PET!: "Charby" the road kitty was/is the best thing for me. You will think, oh this pet is better off with someone else like I did but
really it is better off with you the person who loves it the most. Pets don't care about being homeless. There also warm...
Stay Incognito: When you buy a van buy a white one if you can or some other low pro vehicle color. You don't want the cops spotting you as
that "Homeless Person" you don't need to tell anyone that will blab about your condition either. Remember that you are still trying to find a job
and get the hell out of this situation. Keep your reputation in tact and stay under the radar. If you get stopped once, this could screw up chances
to park as freely as you want to in your desired location. Don't cook your food in the park and hang out with the homeless people. Just park late
at night in your desired spot and go to sleep...
Make sure everybody that is important to you knows you're struggling: Not always looking for a hand out but some prayers and moral
support. It is called networking people and it is vital when you are down. People need people! Take it from me I am NOT A SOCIAL BUTTERFLY
but have learned that I need to be if I want true success in my life. I have realized that my Higher Power speaks through other PEOPLE! Get over
it and give yourself to the world you live in.
Don't Sell out: I stayed true to myself and did not "sell out". I kept being honest and going to my AA meetings, etc... Don't change your values
or beliefs because society is having a hard time. You are still you and you do what makes you happy. This is your plan for YOU and only you. Or
you and your family if you have one on the road. Don't compromise yourself and this will give you strength. Don't become a "Victim" victims don't
win or survive they loose and die. Pray and use your support to the fullest at this time cuz this is when you need to use it for all it's worth. I used
AA and went to meetings to fill up my time and to give back and get out of myself for a while. If you go to church use this and GIVE. Giving even
if you have nothing and are having a hard time will again GIVE you confidence, joy and HOPE!
Choose your area carefully: I chose a great area to "Camp In". I am not stupid and you should not be either. Don't stay in downtown LA
around the mission with crime and stuff go somewhere that can HELP YOU, and be a safe haven. I love the ocean and was so fortunate to be
able to go to the ocean and heal. I went to the ocean to have fun for free with Charby. I went to the ocean to pray and meditate, I went to the
ocean to be with God. Find a nurturing environment to stay in for yourself and your kids if you have any.
Keep your routine: I kept a routine. I had a 5 mile triangle that I went in to conserve gas. Also a very important thing is to find a place that the
razors edge the last thing you need is a major car repair. I had to sell my laptop for a car repair and was literally four days from having to sell
has all that you need in a the van and move into the shelter. Keeping a routine is great because it gives you "purpose" and again comfort. You
know what you are going to do today.
Don't Freak Out: Look for a job for 2-3 hours a day and say screw it for the job search the rest of the day. Don't freak and work like 10-12
hours a day trying to find a job. Again, conserve your energy and respond don't react to this crisis. Have faith and by keeping it to 2-3 hours a
day you conserve your hope and energy to do it again the next day. Remember consistency is more important than freaking out and getting
yourself all worked up and get sick.
Your health is your true wealth: This is what will make you or break you. Keep yourself mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally fit.
Again lean into your support resources - Church, organizations you attend, etc... I went to the gym every day to shower. This is really step #2
after buying your van/shelter, you need to look and feel presentable. Go to the middle of the line gym if you can afford it. Pay the $ and this
becomes your "home base" There are 3 essentials to urban survival - 1. Van/shelter. 2. Gym/showers/excersise. 3. Cell phone for jobs/moral
Get on Food stamps ASAP: This will take care of this part of your survival so you can focus on other stuff. Easy, just go down to welfare
agency in your area and make sure to have your income to expense ratio be very bad and most importantly help them help you! Have this
mindset as you go through the process of obtaining all the services you can.
Medical One of the charities I list is called "SEE International" it is a wonderful charity that will help you get some glasses.
Obtain FREE Money: If you go to Vocational Rehabilitation and sign up if you have any kind of disability (be creative) they will pay for your
schooling, equipment (new computer), etc... Great program! If you don't qualify for that then go down to the community College and or EDD and
sign up for a pel grant or another thousand grants they have for FREE schooling. You can find all kinds of money to do this if you want it bad
enough. Just keep pushing and I will have some resources on this site as well for this.
Eating good and Healthy: Remember your health is your true wealth! Eat right cuz you need your energy and health. You can do it believe it
or not. Over the 6 months I was camping I actually lost 25-30 pounds and gained muscle. I excelled in this area of my life. I got up to swimming
an hour a day because of having to go to the gym everyday to shower anyway. You don't know what kind of Blessings you will get out of this
experience so keep open and willing to learn - Humility... Anyway, I went to McDonald's a lot. Cheep and air conditioned - Free Internet. You can
eat the chicken snack wrap for instance not fried but grilled still only $1.50 and a dollar drink. Jack in the box - Breakfast Jack no sauce. Subway
foot long for $5.00, etc... Churches are a great resource for food.. Give a call if you have any questions or need some help: 805-765-1113
|As I see it many individuals and families will be given two (2) harsh choices if
and when they exhaust unemployment or other services that are given to them:
|1. Live with family
2. Camp in there vehicle like I had to do.
1. Homeless that don't want help. (A very small percentage)
2. Homeless that still have a vehicle to sleep in.
3. Homeless that lost the vehicle and have to stay in shelters.
|As I see it we have three major categories of homeless:
|We need your support! Please Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on
Twitter and Subscribe to the California Homeless Resources Blog!
|I have been very fortunate to have a lot of successes in my life. I have been sober now for 17 years. When I got sober I
started to get into Pottery because I needed to find another hobby other than playing pool for a living. It was fun but not a
very conducive lifestyle to staying sober. My AA sponsor told me to get a little toy potter's wheel. I played with it for a
while and then asked for a potters wheel for Christmas one year and I have been hooked ever since. I have a website
called Ceramic Tattoo Art and I am the first ceramic Artist to Tattoo on Ceramics.
When the economy dropped in 2008 I found myself a young professional at his prime who could not find a job in
Real Estate. I was living in Santa Barbara in 2010 managing a property and got laid off. I tried to start my ceramic
business but when the unemployment ran out I was forced sell everything I owned, buy a 1990 Ford Van and go
"Camping". For over 3 years now I have lived in and out of a van. It turned out (as so many life lessons do) being
the best experience of my life. I have been blessed in so many ways from my "Camping Journey". Some of the
things I have gained:
I could go on and on actually and I will always be grateful for this journey.
- It taught me the value of people instead of money.
- It taught me that I can live on nothing, ask for help and bring myself up and out.
- It taught me that we only have today.
- It taught me to be a giver every day and be grateful for everything, good and bad.
- It taught me the value of pets and the comfort they can bring to one's life in a time of need.
- It brought about this website to help the people that are going through the same thing I went through.
- It taught me that nothing is permanent and that change is to be embraced.
|My Property Management Career
|After about a year of my sobriety (17 years ago) I got into Property Management and started to manage a 224 space
RV Resort. I then went on to manage some of the largest single family home communities in Southern California. I had
the privilege to manage "Sky Lofts" a 22 story High Rise in downtown Los Angeles (Pictures below). I also managed
Four Seasons of Hemet a 1,100 unit community in Hemet California where I grew up.
“Urban Camping Tips”
I wanted to give you guys that are new to this harsh reality some tips and tricks that I have learned from the almost three years I have been
camping in my vehicle. What I had to do when unemployment ran out was sell off everything I owned and purchased the items listed below.
Once you have your van (or large vehicle) you will need to equip it with some essentials that will be used daily. My personal List below:
• Trash can
• Trash Bags
• Tinted windows or curtains
• Flash lights are your friend… Batteries
• Water bottles
• Keep your dress cloths for interviewing!
• Curtain rod for cloths
• AC Adapter so you can have 110 for your laptop (about $30.00) at Auto parts store
• Extension cord
• Paper towel holder (these are cheaper than wipes and can be purchased at the 99 cent store
• A Book or two. This can be really nice reading at night by flashlight
• In my case I needed small kitty box, cat food, treats, and water dish
• Those plastic drawers you can get at staples are great for cloths drawers and storage
• Cloths drawer
• Food drawer
• Bathroom supplies drawer
• Water storage drawer
• Pepper spray (no firearms) police will get you…
• Air freshener
• Pocket Knife
• Keep your Cell Phone/computer if you can (this will be vital)
• First aid kit
ESSENTIAL winter cold items below:
• Sleeping bags! 2 if you can and don’t skimp on this part. Cold is your largest advisory.
• Best heated socks you can find!
• Beanie – Your head is the most important to keep warm
• DO NOT drink to stay warm in the extreme cold! Alcohol freezes faster than your blood and can kill you very fast from the inside out.
|"More Urban Camping Tips"
|Supply List for Van or Large Vehicle
You have to conserve gas!!! This is one of your biggest expenses for urban camping. The State of California has a “Safe Parking Program”
that if it fits into your 5 miles triangle can work. If it does not and you have to drive out of your triangle then you may have to find a safe place
to park on the street. This 5 mile triangle is VITAL. I will list the things that are in my 5 mile triangle and why so that you get the idea. I still
spent $50.00+ a week in gas just keeping within this 5 mile triangle daily. You have to scope this out very carefully
Library: This is vital because of the free internet connection. It also provides books and videos that you can check out and watch at night on
Gym: This is vital because you have to take a shower. The best low costs gyms are the YMCA they have a homeless rate and sometimes it is
McDonald’s: This is vital because you can use the internet inside or outside. They also have cheap food.
Church or Support Group: In my case AA Meetings are vital for me to be able to go to in your case it may be a church or some other
organization that provides support.
99 Cent Store: This is great because they have trash bags, essentials …
Laundry Mat: You have to wash your cloths
Beach or a nice area to relax-sleep: Try and pick the best spot you can that includes some solitude that you go to and relax. It is hard to
be in urban survival mode, be good to yourself when you need to sleep.
This list is simple. Keep it simple and stay focused on your goal. I try to daily – Look for work/swim/AA Meeting/Worked on my website/etc… I
tried to take care of my mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well being. Write a schedule that works for you. I am just providing my
experience to hopefully give you a leg up on your personal adventure. What helped me most was looking at it as an “adventure”. I always try
to be grateful and when I start to feel sorry for myself I think of some people that don’t have a vehicle to stay in. Bottom line is I like my privacy
and I am lucky to have a van to stay in.
8:00AM Get up and go to the gym for swimming and shower.
10:00AM Go to McDonald’s or the Library to use the internet to look for work
1:00PM Go to AA Meeting
2:00PM Go back to Gym/Library/Beach for the afternoon to kill time
6:00PM Go to McDonald’s to work on the computer
9:00PM Wrap it up and read at night to go to bed
***I now have a part time job to go to from 12-6 but still can’t afford to rent a place… (working poor).
|“Average Urban Survival Day”
You will notice everything is a normal budget except for rent. The one big thing you can save on when you are trying to not live on credit is
your rental expense. In California especially some places like the place I chose to camp in are VERY expensive. I can save about $1,000+ a
month and still be able to get a job at some point. This is not a plan for living. This is an option only if you have the means to do this. A lot of
people can’t afford to “Camp” at all and they will have to go all the way down and loose the vehicle. I have only been able to live like this for
one reason and that is I had some financial help from my good friend. I also have recently obtained a part time job. I like many are in my 3rd
year of applying for full disability. I have a disability (13 Hip and knee surgeries) but they make it so difficult to get on SSDI that people have to
live like this until they can get the monthly payments. They say supposedly that you can only make $1,040.00 a month Gross and still be
eligible for SSDI. So, you have to do the best you can.
• Food $300.00 per Month
• Gas $250.00 per Month at ($4.00 a Gallon)
• Gym $100.00
• Fun/Misc. $100.00
• Cell Phone $75.00
• Websites $50.00
• Smokes $50.00
• Washing Cloths $25.00
• Car Insurance $25.00
Total Monthly Budget: $975.00 I net about $800.00 so you see I am going into debt to my friend every month.
|“My Monthly Urban Camping Budget”
|To donate to California Homeless Resources, simply e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org
CHR is currently working on obtaining 501(c)(3) status, as a result, it is not possible to take tax
deductions for donations at this time. However, please be assured that 100% of the funds which
are donated go toward helping those who are experiencing homelessness.
|Working with the Homeless
|California Homeless Resources (CHR) purchases items at the 99 Cent Store which are then donated to folks who are
struggling to live on the streets. Approximately once a week, the “God Van” is parked close to a homeless encampment
and the doors are open for those in need. People get to choose whatever they can use.
|This was the most special moment I have had so far. I was able to pull up on
this gal that desperately needed a pair of shoes. It was cold and she was
barefoot. She was so grateful for these shoes. What a simple thing to do... I just
passed on a pair of shoes that someone passed on to me.
|Some awesome people helped by the "God Van"
|Matt Kennedy, the Founder of California Homeless
Resources and the visionary behind the idea of the “God
Van” has experienced homelessness himself and
started this project from his van during a period of being
un-housed. He used Facebook and other social media
to get donations and went directly to the streets and
gave out what was donated. Below are photos of some
of the wonderful people whom he met during his journey.
Matt serves as an inspiration as to what one person can
do to make a difference in the lives of others.
|I also proudly support Leon & Dhasti Williams
and The Mobile Closet