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Thank God I’m Homeless in the U.S.!

This is a blog swap chain letter organized through the Yakezie network. There are 4 stops. Check out my post “If I was Homeless and Poor, How Would I Change My Situation?” at the next stop!

This post was written by Joe Edward, who is in pursuit of creating wealth for financial independence.  Joe believes the right focus on five key areas are a way to financial independence:

  • Maximize Career
  • Save, Save, Save
  • Debt Free Living
  • Invest, Invest, Invest
  • Create Multiple Streams of Income

Joe is well on his way to be an asset millionaire by the time he turns 41. He started to help others achieve their own paths to financial independence. Follow him on Twitter: @smartmoneyjoe


I have lived and worked outside the US. I have had the pleasure of working with many different cultures and nationalities. Homelessness is something that I have witnessed in my own city and many of these far off locations. I sometimes asked myself, “What would I do if I were homeless?” I guess the best way to answer it is to consider where I was a homeless person.

Homelessness is not something that is unique to the developed nations. If I were homeless in the US, I would handle my situation differently than if I were homeless in a developing nation. Let me go through my experience with the homeless in some of these “exotic” locals and then I will circle back to the US.

Homeless in a Developing Nation

I have seen homeless people on the streets of Santiago, Chile, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Cebu City, Philippines and Dongguan, China, to name a few. One thing that I noticed in all these cities is that there does not seem to be a system in place to help these people. The people that I have seen are often without limbs, blind or deformed. It was like society left them there to fend for themselves.

If I were one of these people in countries that did not help, I honestly would not know what to do. If I did not have family members that would help me, I do not know if I would make it. Most of these countries have work for anyone with a strong back. But, what if I did not have a strong back? I would probably just end up by myself with no income and would not last long. In countries with little to no social rights, I, as an American, would not know what to do.

Homeless in the US

Now if I had the “luxury” to be homeless in the US, I would have more options. If I wound up without a job, a roof over my head or a car to drive and did not have an addiction or illness, I know that I could make it in the US.  

Family Help

The first thing that I would do is turn to my family for help. I know they would feed me and put a roof over my head. They would help me financially, mentally and physically to get back on my feet. I am blessed to have a family with means and the desire to do those things for me and I would do it for them without question and I have.

Society Help

Let’s say that I woke up tomorrow homeless and still had all my skills. I would address the basic needs in life, food, shelter and clothing. I would head for the city mission for a meal and then head over to the shelter for a roof over my head and clothes. That would be day one, alright, what about day two? I would find work on a construction or maintenance crew. I would do this to get money coming in. Days 3+, I would find housing, get assistance from the government or from the church and get back on my feet in no time.  

I know it is not as easy as I laid out. If I were homeless, it would take some extreme events to get me there. Maybe, I am battling addiction, had a terrible accident, did something crazy or just got a bad roll of the dice. Life would be a struggle and if I were faced with homelessness it would be a long road back.

All I can say is that I would be lucky to be homeless in the US. Most of us have family or friends to turn to and all of us have society to help. We are a nation that takes care of those in need, we have programs. Each of them are not perfect individually, but on the whole, they are there to support those in need. If you think that they don’t help that much go ask a homeless person in Bangalore.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. But somehow I feel that the American Govt shouldn’t be providing facilities to the Homeless so easily. If we continue to keep doing so, our next generation will get reluctant to work. Some restricitions should be put for such allowances especially at a time when the country is battling the Recession Crisis.

    • Karan,

      I agree the govt should be very careful not to “offer” help in this way. We are not a socialist society, although it feels that we are headed in that direction. The great thing about the US is that we have a great structure of non-profits to help.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. the homeless in america are incredibly lucky, they need to take advantage of it, clean up their lives and not be homeless anymore.

    • Thanks for the comment John.

      Unfortunately, many homeless are battling addiction or mental illness. I suspect that not having a strong foundation of a home stacks another chip against them and their situation.


  3. Being homeless in the much better, but it is still homeless. I would utilize whatever services were available, but my first priority is a job! Then I would keep my expenses low and start to save to work my way back. I probably would have to use those support services or relatives/friends until I could save enough to be on my own.

    • krantcents,

      You’re right homeless is homeless. If we are lucky enough to have friends and family that care enough that would be half the battle.


  4. I’d have to agree that the systems in place in the U.S. are really a luxury for those that are homeless because there are shelters and food available.

    • LaTisha,

      While it’s true that we have homeless in the US, most of them can receive help if they want it. This is not true of many countries.


  5. While I’m sure being homeless sucks, in the US, it’s much easier, because of so many options and charities.

    Interesting take and read Joe!

    • Thanks Money Reasons.

      Homelessness anywhere is a problem. I have volunteered at some of these charities and have met some really nice people down on their luck.


  6. reading the article, definitely looks like US homeless has it ‘good’.. in my country when you are homeless, it means exactly that. in my society, the homeless are invisible and rarely are there any efforts to help them in any way.

    • B Kelly,

      I like that you mentioned invisibility. I think back to a time when I lived in Hong Kong. A group would gather all the homeless that they could find and drop them off at points in the city to panhandle. I was in one of the biggest financial centers in the world and all the “suits” would walk by like they were not even there.

      Take Care,

  7. You make a very good point about the homeless in the USA being much more fortunate than in other countries. I have done a lot of traveling myself, and have seen first hand that there is much more assistance built in to the structure of the US than other countries. Good analysis.

    • Jacob,

      One thing that I forgot to mention in my post. If I were homeless in another country I would try to make it back to the US. I would go to the US Consulate for help.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. I don’t know man. In other countries the family ties are much stronger and people help out a lot more.
    It’s not that easy to find shelters, there are more homeless than shelters in my city.

    • Good point about family ties. But, one thing is for sure all these cities that I have been to do have homeless people.

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