This is a nonfiction recollection of events as experienced by me; used with permission.
People always tell me that if they were homeless, they wouldn't be lazy so they could work their way out of it. However, they don't know just how difficult it is to get a job from a position of homelessness when you have nothing to your name. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck on the streets, but at first it was clear that getting things going for myself was not going to be easy.
The day I first was homeless, I was robbed and they took everything including my wallet. This made getting a job virtually impossible because I didn't have a photo ID or anything to confirm my identity. I went to talk to a few people at a few places in the area to ask if I could work for a couple of weeks while waiting for my ID and they all turned me down.
To get an ID you need proof of address. However, the DMV doesn't let you use the homeless shelter as your address, at least not where I was during the time I was homeless. You also can't use a motel which was my other idea at the time. Basically, I was going to have to find someone local to let me use their mailbox which wasn't going to be easy because I was new to the area.
The main thing I wanted to do when I was homeless was to make money. I wasn't doing anything most days but going to the library and researching what I could do to make myself enough to get my life started again. I wanted to get a job and a tiny apartment, that was my main goal and in my opinion that should be easy for anyone to work towards.
Well, nobody would let me use their address. I basically had to beg for a place to have some mail sent in my name that I could use at the DMV to get my ID so I could get a job. It took a while but I did come across someone that gave me advice which was to try the DMV again a few times because the person working there can make the call to give you an ID anyways.
I would go to the DMV every week on a different day and on my 5th visit there was someone working that remembered me. He asked if I ever got an address and I said no. He said that he would let me use a motel room and I knew that this was my big break. I figured out when the employee would be at the DMV next and started planning my stay at a motel.
It wasn't easy to come up with enough money to stay there for a day or two but I figured I could stay there and then tell the employee at the motel all about what was going on so we could get me the mail even if it was a few days after my stay. Luckily, the motel worker was on my side and thought the whole situation was ridiculous so they helped me out.
I got to stay in the motel for 2 nights after I begged for some money and a few days before my stay there I made sure to sign up for a couple of catalogs. They were going to be my proof of address so I made sure they were for clothing and something else I can't remember but I just made sure it wasn't for anything too strange.
After my stay, the employee told me on the day I was leaving that my mail was there. I took the letter up to the DMV that day since it was when the employee would be there and I got my ID. The address on the ID is actually the motel room but it's written like it's an apartment of some kind.
I am so glad I got my ID because I had been living on the streets for a few weeks at that point. Without an ID you are not getting anything started because you need it for work and you need it for things like getting an apartment. I never really thought about how hard it was to get something like this put together when you're homeless, but now I know and I think it's ridiculous.