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Ask HN: How to find work while homeless?
323 points by vertex-four on Feb 28, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 171 comments
I'm at my wits end.

I was made homeless and had my financial support dropped at the beginning of the year, and am currently staying in squats etc in the Netherlands. I have nearly no income - 10 euros a week in donations towards an open-source project I'm working on to build a live video streaming platform for the fediverse, and occasional requests for solidarity funds.

My situation is... not great. Half my time is taken up by anxiety around police violence, illegal evictions, my friends being arrested. Still, in the immediate term, it's better than sleeping rough.

I'm not sure how to find work; I've not had a paying job in the last 8 years. I've worked on software for myself and others in hackerspaces and the like; and helped run a volunteer cafe for a large portion of last year (sinking 20+ hours a week into that fairly consistently), but I can't seem to even turn that into an actual paying cafe job. I go through bursts of sending dozens of applications a week to anything that is vaguely relevant to anything I've done in the past, and receive... mostly nothing in response.

I don't know what's wrong with me. All I want is to make enough money to survive. I'm going to be dead in a few months if I can't work something out.

Does anyone have any advice, at all?

Homeless shelters often offer the homeless an address. Use this address to get a bank account (you may have to go in to a few branches to find one who accepts the homeless shelter address). Now walk around town and ask for a job in every restaurant/ Cafe/ whatever and give them your CV and ask if they have any jobs. As long as you are smartly dressed and smell fine, you should be able to find a job. Try not to do illegal work - it's often a scam. Shave in the local library with disposable razors when there are hardly any people there. Use this time to wash as well. Now, the bank may need an employers wage slip. Explain to the employer that you need a letter from them for the bank in order to open a bank account stating that you will be working for them soon. Give this letter to the bank. This often works. Try to tell as few people as possible that you are homeless. You will probably have to improvise on these steps. Most importantly and the hardest: remove the victim's mentallity. You are breathing, appreciate everything that you can, even adversity. Nothing is wrong with you. You will look back on this time in the future and be grateful for this. Without it you would not be as strong as you are going to be.

Frankly, finding a job isn't your problem right now, being homeless is, because of the way things work in most of Europe: it is almost impossible to find a steady job without an address.

There is professional help you can get for free from charitable organizations that will not only help you find a residence but also advise/help you with government agencies and help you get any welfare you may be entitled to, law enforcement (if needed) or jobs.

Use this help and don't try to do it alone; most people who try on their own fail, while the success rates for people taking help are a lot, lot better. Especially considering that you seem to have more or less exhausted the help your friends/family can provide, to no avail.

I was once told by somebody working for such an organization, that in Germany the success rates to at least stop homelessness is near 100% for all "reasonably sane", "reasonably sober" and "reasonably cooperative" people if they accepted help from such an organization, and I'd guess it will be not that different in the Netherlands.

E.g. this seems to give a good overview: https://dutchreview.com/expat/housing/if-youre-homeless-in-t...

Find a church - neither too big nor too small. Introduce yourself as someone willing to do assist with the IT/ secretarial / etc. in exchange for warm food and a shelter bed. Churches have very large networks. When you get on your feet, and you will, remember who helped you survive.

Churches aren't like that in Europe. They are not communities nor are they huge. A church is an office where a priest and maybe some assisting staff work, and the priest performs weekly some ceremonies. But there is really no community as such.

This might depend heavily on the country and location, but that's not my experience. I'm not religious, but I know some people who are, and their churches are quite active in their local communities, doing charity work, helping the homeless and the poor in general.

I live in an area that's heavily dominated by protestants, so my experience is mostly with them, I don't know how that's for catholic areas. The Netherlands are famously protestant as well, might be similar.

Ok, cool, I was not aware of this. I thought they were all sadly just waiting to become obsolete. In what area are you in?

The churches that are full of people who attend church because their parents did are, as you so well put it, sadly waiting to become obsolete.

There are churches, however, where many of the people are there because they genuinely believe it, and they think that they have very good reason to believe it (and they aren't afraid of engaging with atheists who think otherwise), and they try to live out what they believe in real life. If you find a church like that, it feels and acts completely different.

I'm in Northern Germany. The planned/willful obsolescence here mostly applies to the "official" churches imho. The smaller, free ones tend to be a bit more radical and more grass-roots oriented, so they're more hands-on (which probably also has to do with them not having a lot of old wealth and close ties to the state).

I recognize this comment may sound derogatory. I merely attempted a poetic reference to the well-documented secularization of North Europe.

Which Europe ?

In orthodox churches and especially monasteries it is essentially mandatory to give you a place to sleep while doing some work for them until you get back on your feet.

It also used to be customary for people in villages and towns to always accept a traveler for the night, but not anymore, unfortunately.

Orthodox churches do not feel obligated to provide lodging. Sure, some parishes will let the homeless bed down at night, but this is a small minority, and in general Orthodox parish priests would prefer you take advantage of homeless shelters instead of expecting lodging from a parish church.

Orthodox monasteries larger than a skete are obliged to provide hospitality, but the prevailing interpretation is that this hospitality is limited to three days, and then it is the abbot's call to let you stay further or ask you to leave.

From my experience, church groups and events are one of the few bits of community left in Europe.

That's a huge generalization for something that differs so heavily even within countries. Cities vs rural, east vs west, catholic vs protestant... Compare Poland and the Czech Republic, both V4 countries, neighbors, former Eastern Bloc, yet one is pretty much the least and the other one of the most religious countries in Europe.

Second that. I‘m from Germany and attended a conference at a an Evangelical Church in the Netherlands (in Ede: https://www.schuilplaats.net/) a couple months ago without having booked a place to stay. At the end of the last evening session, I simply asked the pastor if he could help me and sure enough, one church member offered me an entire vacation apartment that he owns for one night for free. This is not a suggestion to take advantage of their hospitality but I have to say that the people at the church were very open and welcoming to new people without displaying a missional agenda.

This not relevant at all to this thread but I was very pleasantly surprised to see my hometown and a church I am familiar with pop up here.

OP: If you can, do go there. I am not at all religious, and you don't have to, but this is a solid place to start.

that might work in the US, but in Europe churches are poor and mostly attended by old ladies with networks of other old ladies.

so what? Old ladies can be warm and very helpful too

And old ladies have kids and grandkids who might also be in a position to be of assistance. OP should open every door he finds, one of them is going to lead to a better place.

this is true. And I guess it could result in couchsurfing to stay off the streets, at least.

> mostly attended by old ladies with networks of other old ladies

Certain flavors of US churches look like this, too.

Be careful in the US too, churches aren't so nice here.

Sounds like you had a bad experience with a church. Every church I've ever gone to even without me being very religious has been very accepting and nice.

Making blanket statements after one or even a handful of experiences doesn't help anyone and can be said about things also not relating to churches as well.

As an ex-Catholic, all the churches I was a member of growing up took charity and things like this very seriously - there were many immigrant families that came to our churches and we would find them families that would let them stay with them until they got on their feet.

It is, however, unfortunately not universal. I recently tried to drop off some extra Christmas toys I had mistakenly ordered on Amazon to a local Catholic church and they absolutely refused to take them and distribute to a needy family. I was floored.

I don't know the situation with the church in question, but I've been on the other side of a similar situation...

For the last ~9 years, I've helped run a homeless shelter based out of a church in London, UK. We often get offered donations of clothes and unfortunately we have to turn them down unless we know of guests who need those specific items (e.g. men's 32-34" waist trousers or a pair of size 10 shoes). This is because otherwise we find that very few items get taken and we don't have space to store them, so it just means we have to take them to a charity shop anyway.

Please don't be upset by your offering not being accepted - it can be hard to find the right place to use it and, if the organization is run by volunteers (as the one above is), they might not have the time to manage this.

Incidentally, other shelters operate very differently from ours, and some definitely do accept clothing donations.

In my experience, churches are filled with the nicest people. Even though I'm not religious I go with my wife sometimes and everyone is very welcoming.

Seems like you had a bad experience at a church or maybe you've never been in one and you're judging them based on the media you view.

Either way, not a good reason to make wide blanket statements like that.

EDIT: Looks like I'm outside the edit window.

A late family member of mine in the OP's approximate situation was taken advantage of by a local church, which gives me pause when people say going to one for help is a bulletproof-good idea.

I'm sorry for not providing context right away, the original statement on it's own was too broad.

This is really not true of 90% of churches. Let's distinguish between actual churches and personality cults like Westboro.

Try the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Best of luck to you.

This could very well be a Job situation, but I have to wonder how someone ends up like this.

Remote Leaf[1] founder here, I would like to offer you three months of free membership, that might help you land a remote job since you have coding skills. We hand-pick thousands of remote jobs from tons of job boards and only sends the ones that apply to you. Just ping me on Twitter and send me an email to avail this :)

[1] - https://remoteleaf.com

Thank you for offering practical help to this person.


This founder has provided something of value to someone with tech skills looking for entry level tech employment. And you?

C'mon, don't advertise your website on a post where someone's looking for help. If you truly cared and didn't just want to advertise your service you'd have PMd the OP and your comment wouldn't sound so much like a marketing ploy.

I think we should follow the HN guidelines[0] here and interpret the parent comment in the most charitable way possible.

Sure, you can see it as a (very shameless) plug, but the parent has provided a resource -- possibly a very good one -- that could help OP find a job. Even if the parent is almost certainly a bit biased about Remote Leaf, giving some random person on the internet free access to their service in an attempt to help them find a job and figure out how not to be homeless is a really nice gesture.

I know if I ran (or worked for) a company that helped people find a job, and was confronted with someone homeless with skills that match my company's target audience, I'd be thrilled at the opportunity to throw some help their way.

[0] "Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."

HN does not have private messaging, and OP has no contact info listed on their profile. So your suggestion would not be possible.

OP, if you want people to be able to contact you privately and you have an email address or Twitter handle they can use, add it to the "about" section of your profile. The "email" field in an HN profile is not visible to others.

Could you please help me understand what has @abinaya_rl done wrong?

I can't find harm in any way I look at it.

He offered the help he could. If the OP wants to take it, he can. He plugged his company while doing it, and others might benefit from getting to know about it.

Where's the problem? He probably did it in a different way than you would, but still. What's wrong with that?

Hello friend, I'm sorry to hear that things are so difficult. Remember that even this shall pass, so please hold on.

For the immediate term, I would recommend looking for an easy brainless job that would bring in some money while being easy to quit, so that you can look for coding work. A bar, cafe, pizza shop, whatever. Ideally somewhere where squat-friendly people work. It sounds like it could be good for you to be around other people, so I would personally do that instead of Upwork.

Coding work - I would suggest seeing if any small NGOs, charities or companies need some help. Don't necessarily wait for job adverts - just get in touch directly with a warm intro and a nice cv. In my experience they are often in a total state of chaos when it comes to their tech, and having someone who can straighten things out is incredibly valuable to them. The pay's not necessarily great, but it's meaningful and you'll get to employ a wide range of skills and be your own boss.

It's unclear what you mean by being 'dead in a few months'. Can I suggest that if you are contemplating suicide you reach out for help on that immediately, ok?

> It's unclear what you mean by being 'dead in a few months'. Can I suggest that if you are contemplating suicide you reach out for help on that immediately, ok?

If that's what op means, then op is. OP's attempting to fulfill their basic needs to remove the temptation. Listening to someone who will say "please don't kill yourself, your problems can be coped with" doesn't help. Talking to someone who will say "so these are the specific things to help your problems, and I will walk with you to help get you there". But that's the job of a social worker, not a suicide prevention hotline.

I've read the comments you've written on HN.

It really feels like you have a good understanding of many tech out there. I'm a bit surprised a profile like yours post this.It feels like you could easily pick up any entry level dev job? HN would always surprise me.

If I were you, I'd show up in every tech meetups I could find.Talk with people, and offer free (paid?) advices for subject you feel comfortable with. After few weeks, I think you could get a bit of money for consulting or even a job offer.

> It feels like you could easily pick up any entry level dev job? HN would always surprise me.

Don't underestimate the extreme prejudice in tech hiring. Everyone's looking out for "red flags" and excuses to turn down a candidate. It's especially bad if you don't have either 1) recent, relevant education, or 2) recent, relevant industry experience. Open source participation might save you but not as often as you'd think, if only because few people have time for substantial open source projects and if you have non-substantial contributions, that's rarely enough to overcome the prejudice.

Add any other things that work against you, for example lack of employment, ugly face, awkward speech or shy presence, yeah a lot of companies are just going to think you're a loser, or at least not the talented individual they need. Those who can afford to train people (= hire for entry level positions) are usually larger companies that siphon fresh grads and interns, and they seem to have enough supply that they don't need to look for people on the streets.

In short, very few companies are willing to take chances with someone who hasn't made it through the filters already, unless they see something exceptional. And the entry level filters are heavily biased in favor of students, and against unemployed people.

Als being homeless is a huge red flag for any job. It's a nasty spiral.

Being homeless in a rich European country with proper welfare systems screams of 'mental health issues'. Of course it will be a red flag for any job.

Technically speaking, I have a residential address that I can get post delivered to; squatting is nice like that. Nobody knows I'm homeless, except everyone on HN now.

That helps a lot. Do you have a good LinkedIn page with a list of technologies you've done something with?

The thing is he's from the UK but living in the Netherlands now, and apparently hasn't worked in a normal job recently. I think he's not going to get any help from the Dutch welfare systems.

So does being scared of a telephone.

This. If HR are involved at all, then they'll gatekeep you. If you can get past HR and make contacts with the actual decision makers, there's more chance.

The local Golang meetup has a "20 seconds for anyone to say anything" spot. If someone turned up there and said "I know Go and I'm looking for a job, but I'm homeless can anyone help?" then I'm damn sure someone would.

This isn't my experience at all, but that may be due to different companies. I'd expect that in large corporations with very structured recruitment processes, cozy jobs and high pay. They don't want deviation from the norm, so any red flags are "thanks, but no thanks".

For smaller companies (< 50 people) and agencies though? Not my experience at all. They don't pay as well and they aren't as organized, you might not get sponsored trips to conferences, hackathons or you decide how much vacation days you want, but certification and resume gaps aren't that much of an issue in IT for them, because it's very much a sellers' market at the moment (that is: has been in the past decade, but I'll wager that it's going to be the same in the next 5 to 10 years).

Homelessness is another beast, as might mental health issues be, but degrees don't matter nearly as much in the real world as they do in the corporate world.

I suspect the differences in our experiences are more regional. I imagine that Germany, having 15x the population and significantly more capital than Finland, would have a much more vibrant tech scene. Being closer to other EU countries probably helps a lot too.

The demand for developers is fierce here, for sure, so it is very much a seller's market. But like I said, medium-large companies are siphoning off all the fresh blood (and no, you don't need a degree, but being a student in a relevant discipline makes all the difference!).

Small companies with productive experts don't want to waste time & money on training juniors and taking chances with them. The rest of the small companies are pretty much on shoestring budget (most of them serving local niches in our small market, or playing startup with government funds which are comparable to unemployment benefits, barely enough to cover rent and food) and a bad hire could genuinely topple many of them.

Sure, that does leave a handful of small companies that will take chances out of desperation, but I think they're a dying breed -- think the kind of shops that maintain some legacy doodles written in php and visual basic. Their services are slowly getting subsumed by the larger companies.

The meme on local boards is that yeah, there's a huge demand for seniors with 5+ years of experience, at junior salaries. :-)

I'm pretty much seeing the same thing in my network; plenty of people are working at small-medium companies that could use more bodies, but at the same time everyone's saying they wouldn't hire juniors (sometimes phrased as "we would hire juniors with relevant experience"). Similar story at my (very small) company..

I live in the Netherlands (Amsterdam region), I'm not Dutch so my network here isn't very large to help you with a job, but worst case I could buy you a coffee and have a chat with a fellow dev. Let me know, my email is vasco g pinho with no spaces at gmail.com.

Just wanted to say this is what I was looking for in this discussion - people actually offering to help directly. Hope you can connect with OP.

I solved this problem for myself 30 years ago by turning up outside the local Manpower offices at 7am with safety boots on. The local construction gangs picked up any extra workers they needed for the day there, and it was halfway decent cash-in-hand work. I earned enough for my share of the deposit for a house share with a mate, and the rest was easier once I had an address.

But times have changed and I very much doubt that would work any more.

However, now there is Upwork (and several other similar). If you can meet the basics with that: a bank account, a network connection, a laptop, a basic understanding of PHP and enough Google Fu to understand a Stack Overflow answer, etc, then you can actually make some money there. It's not very interesting, but it does pay money.

Upwork has its issues, and it can take a while to find a good gig, but if you have software skills you should definitely be able to find work there.

I think we need to reframe the problem.

It shouldn't be how to find work while homeless, it should be how to find shelter while jobless.

Finding work _while_ homeless is akin to getting married with a cut femoral artery. Can be done, but the odds of success of the former are improved if we stop the bleeding.

I think changing the amenities situation should be top priority. That should be the objective. How can you get shelter, especially during the night, in an affordable manner for your current situation?

- Shelters

- Working at jobs that require an extended presence on site where it's more practical to live there than commute: boats, hospitality (hostels), buildings (concierge), assisting a limited mobility or elderly person (stay at home or retirement home), night security (you stay there in the night, which is more dangerous, and try to find another job during the day. Naps during the day in a park are less dangerous).

Can I send money to get you in a hostel for a few days just to bootstrap the thing?

Having worked with newly resettled refugees, I personally think this comment is a very important observation.

I don't know you and I might be wrong. But not having a paying job for the last 8 years feels to me like you have some personal issues and now being homeless is a symptom of that.

If you are a UK citizen, you should absolutely be able to get the professional help you need from that country.

Unfortunately, this is what is stopping OP from getting a job. I don't know how to even help as it is very difficult situation to be in, if he is not even getting any call backs.

It sounds like you might need a bit more help than just job suggestions. Does your city have any social services non-profits that help with job searching? I recommend going to one of those and even if they can't help with your exact issues, they might be able to refer you to people / organizations who can help, given more details of what you're dealing with.

If you're on HN, I'm guessing you have marketable skills, even if that means office admin work. So the challenge might be something other than your skill set. You say you haven't had a regular job in 8 years which makes me wonder if that's because the stuff that comes with regular jobs is particularly difficult for you (having to show up at x time, sit there for y hours, fitting into the culture of the office, etc)?

I don't have much to contribute for lack of experience with the field, but I want you to specifically and deliberately renounce what you say in your last paragraphs. There is nothing WRONG with you. This is a tough situation, a lot of people of lesser caliber would've already crumbled, and you're GOING to solve it and move forward with your life and very likely with your career. Breathe. It sucks. It's okay that it sucks because it won't suck later.

You got this, friend.

1. get away from these "friends".

2. find any (non-IT, just 20h if necessary) job through the job centre etc. to feed you and finance a home

3. research and visit all potential organizations that provide benefits while you are unemployed

Er, that doesn't sound like a good position.

I can't really relate; although I grew up in poverty and understand that aspect of things and it took me a very long time to get my first job (and, even my second job actually).

Does anyone ever give you feedback on why they are not hiring you? It's possible that it's something small but people are reluctant to give negative feedback if it doesn't benefit them to do so.

If I were in the same situation as you (IE; very little industry experience as an employee) I might consider leaning heavily on my github profile, make sure it's as polished as possible, figure out the key things you enjoy working on and then make it appear as if you do those things often. -- Finding bugs in lots of software is a great way to get your activity boxes to light up dark green!

Hiring managers (I speak from experience as I am responsible for hiring peers, though not as a manager) love to see something clear and consistent. So if you're a dabbler it might be more tricky to convey competence. Try to find a focus area; contribute to, or build something with a clear singular purpose (like saltstack or grafana)

Second is to get as many eyes from technologists on your profile, your CV, whatever. Feedback will go a long way. You can find people on freenode (or here) to do this.

Third I would look for companies _outside_ of my local country, because:

  1) they will over some kind of relocation package (which might be monetary)
  2) they will pay for flights/hotel on the last stage of interview
  3) they will likely find accommodation for you if you get hired.
  (for 3-6months while you get on your feet).
This is easier to do if you're in Europe. :)

Cafe's are obviously your friend when interviewing. But getting your foot in the door is probably the hardest thing.

FWIW; my studio is hiring relatively aggressively and we're based in Malmo, Sweden.

The relocation package is reimbursement for expenses and 6months of living in our apartments, in general the people working in the studio care about competence not experience, you just need to get around the HR filter somehow.


Get a job for a small company with no IT department doing some sort of office work or data entry. Automate parts of your job, or write reports for your boss.

Now your boss will ask you to write more reports for HIS boss, and suddenly you are employed as a programmer. If you like that job, keep it, or leave for somewhere else that will hire you with a more appropriate programmers salary.

Is there some good reason for you to want to stay in Netherlands?

I'm just speculating, and maybe this is not for you, but perhaps you could consider moving to a southern place.

Same problems as now, same difficulties, same police and nasty people but...

1) A little of sun and a less harsh climate can do wonders in your soul. Only for that you should consider putting some distance from dutch's winter.

2) You speak english well in the Mediterranean tourism sector, you have the 95% of the job yet.

3) An unique look can be used as an advantage. Is easier to blend in a holidays place. People feel less territorial, are more customed to see different people and more forgiving. Entertainers, performers, extravagant dresses etc... are expected. Drunk people is everywhere in the coast and can be dangerous, but with a low entry job, you can start building some safety for you, stay out of the streets and navigate most problems. Doing remote work, you can be as invisible as you want.

4) You need spending less in clothes and can dress casual more easily. You can use the sea and beach showers for free each time you need a bath.

5) Somebody lying in a street all day is a homeless, Somebody lying in a beach all day is a tourist. If you can find a safe place for your properties first (!) and keep a clean look and low profile, you could sleep all day under an umbrella. Nobody will care about it, and nobody will call the police for that. Just remain in places with more people, be careful with pickpockets, cover your skin from excesive sun with light clothes or/and sunscreen and the problem of not enough sleeping quality time is fixed.

I assume that some of this areas have a gay friendly scene also and that many people needing publicity, accounting, and web pages to promote their bussiness could find useful your computer skills.

First of all, nothing’s wrong with you! You’re feeling down about your situation, but situations can be changed. It’s important to have the mindset that it’s temporary and to know that your situation will improve. If you have to, write down how you want your life to be in the future and read it to yourself every day. Remind yourself of the skills and value that you have and make small steps every day to move towards your goals.

Appearance - this is important, I’d work to make myself look, sound and smell very much the opposite of what you’d think a homeless person might look and smell like. Make sure you are clean, well groomed, and if you need to, ask people if they can help buy you some clothes that make you look presentable. Most homeless people ask for money on the street. They never ask for something specific. I believe if you ask for specific things you want - like ask someone if they can buy you a shirt to help you get a job, you will find someone that will do it. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help - I believe people want to help others.

You have by the sounds of it many skills. You’ve worked in a cafe and can provide references for that so I would go for that angle and look for cafe work.

If you need documents such as tenancy, first see if you can find a legitimate way of solving the problem, but tbh if I was in your position and needed documents I would just forge them - you have the skills and it’s not hard to do things like give someone a number of a friend and get them to pretend to be someone.

You might want to make a living out of programming, but you need to look after your living situation first. Go for the low hanging fruit, get a cafe job and work your way up slowly from there. Get away from the other homeless people and get into a hostel. Make new friends and focus your mind on things away from the dramas of living as a homeless person.

Good luck! Be strong and small steps every day.

With your current state of mind you should take a break from coding. Try to find a easy job, just to have a place to stay, eat and sleep and after 6-8 months, or when you feel better, you can attempt to seek it opportunities.

Lots of good advice in the highly-rated responses. I can't add much to those. But, this is what strikes a nerve:

> I've not had a paying job in the last 8 years

Once you get through this, remember that idealism doesn't pay the bills.

At a certain point, if you can't make a living doing it, it's not worth doing.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't volunteer for things or avoid charity work, but consider this: You're not financially independent. What you spend most of your waking hours needs to pay the bills. It's your choice if you want to work well below your earning potential because it's something you believe in or enjoy, but whatever you work on, it has to generate enough income that you can pay your bills.

I used to be homeless, so I have some thoughts:

- guard your laptop with your life, cuz you don't wanna lose it if you can't afford to replace it

- study your ass off

- don't bring homelessness into job interviews, as it is a big distraction for the employer

Google the "daklozenloket" and the place name where you are. They should be able to help you. That is your priority number one, getting registered somewhere. The Netherlands has a good welfare system, make use of it.

Then start looking for jobs. Developer jobs are plenty. Ignore the 5 year experience requirements, in these times those are wishlists more than the actual requirements.

Considering you are British, are you allowed to work in the Netherlands?

Yes, I am allowed to work in the Netherlands. The EU is still a thing, Brexit didn't change anything yet. After the end of this year it's different, but assuming that I can find work, I'm permitted to stay here "temporarily" (assuming I stay in work) until 5 years are up, then permanently.

This sounds very rough, wishing you all the best. I would say the main goal for you here is survival and having a roof over your head. Maybe consider getting a minimum wage job somewhere to at least give you enough money for food and rent while you keep looking for another job in the field you love. The other thing is to look at remote jobs. There are plenty out there especially nowadays. Wishing you all the best

Try contacting https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=DoreenMichele, see contact info in her profile — she's been homeless (though in US IIUC) and writes openly about that, and about helping people in this unfortunate situation, she might hopefully be able to help and support you in some practical ways.

One option: Take any job in any industry from well functioning (i.e. large) company. They'll have to offer it as a real, paying job and not some half-formed idea. Doesn't have to be software (though it sounds like that's the general skill set we've got here). Once you have living money, you can decide if you want to go bigger on living money or spend the rest of your effort on hobby projects.

I cannot promise anything but I’m in the Utrecht area and would be more than happy to give you some advice face to face or potentially help you somehow with projects if there is a fit.

Do you have an email address to reach you?

Sure, my address is shell@alterednarrative.net.


I'm glad you chose to reach out. If you'd like another pair of eyes to proofread your resume/cv, send me an email at elwell.christopher at gmail. Also I'd be happy to talk about spiritual things, God, Christianity, if that's something you're interested in.

With your english and the fact that you're technical you should be able to get a job at least in a call/support center, if not in the Netherlands, then at least somewhere in CEE. You should be able to get 1-2k euro/month, get back to your feet and start over. Good luck!

Amazon Warehouse / Tech support --> something better. If you are good at coding you can make side money at freelance websites. If you are legit good at coding and can prove it to me and don't mind moving to Poland then I can referr you to at least one offer a day.

I'm really sorry to hear about your situation.

Please don't give up.

An ancient proverb says, "Better is the end of a matter than its beginning." Meaning, with patience and effort things generally CAN get better.

From your messages, it is clear that you are intelligent.

So, it's just a matter of diagnosing what have been your road blocks up to this point, and keep pushing forward through it.

This article has some suggestions of what has worked for others in a homeless situation.

I hope that it helps you come up with a few ideas.


Look folks let's see if we can help this dude out...

First, everything is very noisy now. You need to switch to putting out free value somewhere online so that potential employers see it. I was doing it your way, although different set of circumstances, doing a whole bunch of hey look at me will not work in a very crowded room.

So vertex-four do you have anything online that you can point to so we can use Hn to get the word out?

We know by your moniker that you might be math inclined(as it refers to the four vertex theorem) for one and programming for second.

As people here suggest I would try finding any kind of low income job first. For what it takes.

Than when you sort things out and have stable living situation (have place to live and food to eat) you can get back to tech - start attending meetups and maybe try applying jobs via this personal contacts.

I don't know how churches work in Netherlands, in Poland you would get some help - it really depends from people. If you won't reach out for help, you won't get it.

Make a Patreon! You mentioned that you work on an open-source project and also ran a volunteer cafe. Sounds like you are a genuine and hard-working person. Tell your story and I think you will be surprised at how generous and supportive strangers on the Internet can be :)


(Please let us know once made and also post to your other social medias!)

My resources are US-centric, but this is what I can direct you to:


Hope that helps. Best of luck.

Edit: I will add There's nothing wrong with you. The gig economy is proving to be a painful transition for a lot of people.

What is your actual background;

- did you study - how much coding experience do you have - which languages - what types of jobs are you applying for - do you have a smartphone (is there not something like https://postmates.com/ in Netherlands) - do you have friends or family who have jobs in businesses (or their own businesses) - Etc

I have an HNC in Computing from the UK - basically a vocational pre-university qualification. It's not amazingly useful. Shortly after achieving that a lot of mental health stuff popped up which derailed things for a few years, so uni wasn't a thing.

I've been coding for a very long time, and am a polyglot - Python, Go, javascript on both frontend and backend, bash. Current project is largely Go+Python+bash. Previous completed projects were in node.js and Python. A pile of personal and small scale Linux server admin experience to go with that. Nothing professional, unless you count the time I told someone about letsencrypt and they gave me $200.

I've been applying for everything I can find that matches that experience and doesn't have a requirement of "a degree and 5 years commercial experience". In addition, anything cafe-wise that turns up, call center jobs (even though I have severe phone anxiety), anything else that looks vaguely bearable. I have separate CVs per job type, but the fact that I have not had paying work in such a long time is what gets me ignored.

I tried to sign up for the local cycle couriering services here and was denied, apparently I am not fast enough at cycling.

I do not have friends or family who have their own businesses, or who could help me find a role in a business they work for.

>I do not have friends or family who have their own businesses, or who could help me find a role in a business they work for.

That's rough. When your resume is by default the easiest to reject out of any pile it finds itself in, a personal connection is often what it takes to receive any consideration.

If I were you I would talk to as many people who are in a position to hire as possible. If you see a "now hiring" sign, go in and talk to someone face-to-face. Try to get any 9-5 job you can at first, even if it's grocery store clerk. It will make it a lot easier to convince someone you're a steady hire when something better comes along. I was never homeless but I did have a dead-in-the-water resume at one point with a big work gap. The first jobs I got on my own were seasonal UPS helper and furniture mover. When I got hired into tech it was with months of full-time work experience. My new employer only had to worry about whether I could do the job, and not whether I was capable of holding myself to a 9-5 schedule

I don't know to what extent this squatting stuff is a choice, but I would recommend you abandon any voluntary participation in that lifestyle as soon as possible. You're not going to bootstrap yourself out of homelessness if you're linked arm-in-arm in solidarity with other anarchists, squatters, etc. It's also just not a stable environment.

You should realize that you might personally be ok with working "enough to survive", but that doesn't fit the needs of most employers. Ultimately you have to figure out what an employer's requirements are and meet those, and one of those is almost always going to be "commitment to a working square's existence". A part of this is also convincing them that they won't be hiring your replacement in just a couple months

Times are hard. Lie about your background.

Say you worked in a cafe for many years, then learnt programming, then show them some projects you’ve done (simple websites etc) and attempt to get an entry level job. I know many people who found entry level jobs this way.

But let me reiterate what a previous poster said: try to find a church. Offer them IT support. Ask them about their network. They often help the homeless: eating restaurant/cafe food wastage together, giving away clothes donations.

If nothing else, you may find a friendly ear, and people who value community. Your own religious beliefs or lack thereof do not matter.

You say uni wasn't a thing... could it be? I apologize; I don't know anything about life in the Netherlands (namely how funding and entrance requirements go) but a few years in uni might be a good career reset.

Unfortunately not, I don't have the requisite qualifications to actually enter university here.

Not recommending it in this situation but know that there are things like The Open University (http://www.open.ac.uk/) which can get you a tuition without the prerequisite secondary degree.

Also idk about the Netherlands but in Finland there are "open path" routes to polytechnics (and probably universities) that you can attend for a small fee with no other requirements. The trick here is that if you study long enough and accumulate enough ECTS credits, then you may either get directly accepted as a full time student (thus making you eligible for all the usual benefits), or they can let you take the entrance exam and then become a full time student. All this without requiring the secondary degree that you'd normally need to enter.

Just something to keep in mind if you ever want to consider getting a degree.

There are some non-technical online jobs from Appen or Lionbridge that should give you some stable income each month (at max about 100~200USD per month). These jobs usually require you to work from 10~20 hours per week. Besides, there are websites like utest (do testing) and clickworker(microtask), which doesn't have stable income but at the same time much less commitment.

Um if you're near utrecht i've got a garden to fix. i never get around to it. i dont know where in the netherlands you are, but if its utrecht it might be the trouble of walking/biking. I will offer a meager ten euro for it. theres some other things that need to be done here as well as i want the place to be ready for paying guests. Do you have any skills like tiling? I want tiles in my kitchen. If you know about phones well my phone needs fixing or replacing. as for jobs, try the dutch post or sandd. anybody can do that. just like me, they dont pay well. but its steady and better than nothing. if you need an address, pay somebody for registration. thats fraud, but fairly common and i dont think anybody cares. you can try working in it after that. you need an address for it. but lots of consultancies need fresh bodies to throw at clients. they wont ask too many questions.

Freelance IT/web services? Get a haircut, dress nice. You can thrift a decent shirt and slacks - or charities will often be able to help provide these for free. Start telling local business owners you can help with their IT and website needs, then wait for the phone to ring. It will be slow at first, but once you get momentum you'll hopefully be turning work away! Set a goal of talking to 5 potential clients a week, and be sure to ask for paid work.

Once you do a good job for someone, ask if you can use them as a reference - and if they know 2-3 other people who could use your services. Show up on time, respond to calls/messages and you're already a cut above most others. Don't undercharge for your services, and raise your prices regularly. Try and find ways to have clients pay you on a retainer basis so you have consistent cashflow (managed hosting, regular maintenance, on-call retainers etc). Remote work didn't work for me (too much competition from people in cheaper countries - and my best clients were people who did not have the tech skills to even use those sites), building in-person local relationships did (including at meetups/conferences with people I then worked for remotely).

You won't get rich this way, but you should be able to find enough business owners who need reliable, friendly help with something - data entry, setting up Google Suite or VOIP phone systems, basic websites, CRUD web apps, databases, automation, spyware removal, etc. Plus you end up with a portfolio that can help you get a full-time tech job - "consulting" counts as industry experience, and I found employers liked that I could handle a project end-to-end, understanding the business needs involved. This was my path, including the near-homelessness. I started making banner ads for $10/hr. My first $100 day was a real milestone. I'm now an Engineering Manager at a large company (~10 years later).

Best of luck to you. Hang in there, hustle hard.

That’s a bit surprising given that the Netherlands has a generous social system. I’ll try as a first step to ask and look for government organizations that could potentially help and give you free stuff.

Next, I’ll drop tech for a while. I’ll look for any job that has low or no barrier to entries. Washing cars, cleaning carpets, collecting garbage, etc... These are jobs with little barriers to entry and that will have no problems accepting you if you did sleep on the street yesterday.

After you get yourself a place to stay, better clothes, and a haircut then I’ll start branching into tech again.

My initial thought was to suggest jumping right into freelance tech work, but after reading this comment I’ve changed my position.

Get whatever help you can from the government (and possibly a church as someone else suggested), then get a job - any job that gives your life some stability and structure, as well as some income. When you are back on your feet a little bit and have taken care of the necessities, namely food and shelter, start looking into doing some freelance work with whatever technical skills you have. I would focus on remote work - there are plenty of sites where you can sign up to do work for $50 or $100. A few hours of work maybe. That can help you build up some experience and you can use that to get more business (at higher rates) or help you land a job in technology.

I suggest remote freelance work because your appearance and clothing aren’t going to be an issue, and it should be easier to work around the schedule of your other job.

I’d also advise you seek out some mental health services. I’m not assuming anything about you or attempting to diagnose you, but at the very least being able to talk to someone about your situation and the circumstances that led to it will help you prevent it from happening again and help you move forward. If you are suffering from depression or substance abuse problems then by all means get help with that as well. I’m not sure about the Netherlands, but in the US there are some non-profit organizations that are specifically focused on helping the former homeless get back into the working world, even going as far as conducting mock interviews to improve your skills, and providing professional clothes to wear. You may be able to find something similar where you live.

Most importantly, know that there’s a community here that is in your corner and wants to see you improve your situation. Make sure you come back and give us an update when things improve.

The Netherlands has a generous social system that I can't access because I'm not actually from here. It happens to be the last place I was in when I was told I didn't have a home or money any more.

Going "home" is kinda pointless - there's not actually any support in the UK for people like me, so I'd be sleeping rough there quickly anyway.

> The Netherlands has a generous social system that I can't access because I'm not actually from here.

Then any reason why you are there? Are you allowed to legally work in the Netherlands.

> there's not actually any support in the UK for people like me

I'm pretty sure there is. 2/3 of British families receive some kind of benefits in Britain. You might have to ask for it. I also suspect there is more to this story (like do you have something serious in your records).

I'd go to the British Embassy, ask them to get me to the UK, present myself to the government and ask for any help. Then proceed to the plan outlined previously.

Heck, I'm from Tunisia, an almost non-functional and bankrupt country and the government does have some benefits (like food, basic medical care) for the really in need.

> 2/3 of British families receive some kind of benefits in Britain.

The key part of that is "families", single people don't get nearly as much support.

> Then any reason why you are there? Are you allowed to legally work in the Netherlands.

I am.

> I'm pretty sure there is.

There's a very complicated system, but tl;dr being unable to find work would cause me to lose benefits and be left without a home. I don't trust that I would be able to find a job, so I would prefer to keep a roof over my head for now.

To add to the mess, I'm trans, which means companies (even big ones) will not put me in a position where customers might possibly see me, or where they might wind up with another coworker causing an HR incident, which means an awful lot of traditional jobs for people without qualifications are out. I've had this said to my face in the UK, and I've had interviewers in the UK visibly disappointed when they saw me.

That explains a bit more why you're facing such difficulties. Here are some ideas that could help:

Pick a topic that is not very difficult, but not trivial. Let's say "categorization of data" - you wouldn't believe how many companies need that with the latest ML hype. Create a static page with a bit of bio - native english, whatever you know about tech, + talk about categorization, give some examples, etc. Github Pages is free, so that should work. Same on Linkedin and whatever is used in NL. Go to Upwork, Fiver, etc. and apply to all jobs related to this - include your bio, static website, your "examples". Here is an example kind of post, but there should be plenty - https://www.upwork.com/job/Startup-Database-Data-Entry-and-C....

If you can, try to do the above for more topics to increase your chances, from the top of my mind:

- Find websites that do some kind of aggregation but can benefit from manual work - aggregators for jobs, rentals, products, etc. and offer your help.

- Teach english online

- Review product descriptions

- Find leads based on keywords

> There's a very complicated system

Navigate that system. People with much lower IQ are relying on it, you should be able to do that too.

> I'm trans, which means companies (even big ones) will not put me in a position where customers might possibly see me,

Same if you were homeless. I wouldn't hire a homeless barista that will turn off customers.

> I've had interviewers in the UK visibly disappointed when they saw me

Find places that are gay-trans friendly. Even where I live such jobs exist and are valued (ie: a woman hair dresser will prefer hiring a trans-gay as straight guys might put off customers, etc...)

-- Find places that are gay-trans friendly.

I feel you're really underestimating the extent to which being visibly trans is a barrier in finding dignified employment. Perhaps the most maddening thing is that people don't hire you not because they, themselves, have anything against visibly trans people, rather it's because they are afraid of what others might think. And yet, even as everyone knows very well what "people might say", it is at the same time extremely difficult to covince cis people (i.e. not trans) that being visibly trans is an important factor in being out of work. It's a cruel catch-22 situation. The same people who would never hire you because you look visibly trans would never accept that you have trouble finding work because you look visibly trans.

I'm guessing that the OP ommitted any information about being trans from their original post above either because they expected that people would either think the OP was playing the victim card or they would just think there's some other reason, that has nothing to do with being trans, that the OP can't find decent work.

But I'm inclined to believe that this is, in fact, the primary reason. That's from my own experience and that of my many trans friends.

To the OP- just hang in there, please. Things will get better. And don't go back to the UK. It's now a fascist, racist little shithole with a majority that delights in crushing vulnerable people.

> Same if you were homeless. I wouldn't hire a homeless barista that will turn off customers.

To be clear, I currently have a shower, mattress, access to a washing machine, etc etc. Living in squats is pretty ok, police repression aside. I don't look like... whatever you're guessing, and nobody I'm applying to knows I don't have a permanent legal residence.

Hairdressing is a ridiculously qualified job in the UK, I have no idea what you're talking about. People go to vocational school to learn it.

> Hairdressing is a ridiculously qualified job in the UK..People go to vocational school to learn it.

Can confirm. It is actually a very technical and regulated field, despite what many people think - myself included before i met my wife.

For instance, you need to know the risks of all the chemicals used, and infection vectors, etc. etc. and prove that you know it all in a licensing exam (both written and practical).

(Source: Married to a licensed hairdresser)

> nobody I'm applying to knows I don't have a permanent legal residence.

Er how do you get past "meldung" then. When I last had the pleasure of experiencing the dutch job market, the Vreemdelingenpolitie (lit. foreigner police) and the myriad other amptenare (term of affection for govt officals) made it impossible to not have a verified, permanent address.

So under EU law, Governments can't prevent you from seeking work even if you don't have a permanent home. This was found through the court system when the UK tried to remove people sleeping rough who were trying to find work, under their "hostile environment" policy.

Then why is it a factor for you when applying for a job?

> Living in squats is pretty ok

I think I misunderstood that from your original post. Do you mean you are squatting someone else property? If that's the case, I feel sorry for myself spending all this time writing these responses...

I hope sometime in the next week you have the time to evaluate this conversation from an alternate perspective - even to just "cosplay" that perspective, not to try and adapt it permanently - and understand why your comments can come across as extremely out of touch.

>For example, become a hairdresser.

>I wouldn't hire you if you looked homeless...You don't look homeless because you're showering as a squatter? I wish I hadn't given you any advice at all.

Empathy is not a constrained resources. It's one of the only things humans can generate in infinite supply, and that's worth taking advantage of.

Also, it seems to me OP was not saying they can't get benefits in the UK because the system is too complicated. They said the system was complicated before summarizing the complexity by explaining that without work they will lose benefits, and they are concerned they won't be able to find work. It seems disingenuous to me to read into that as OP saying they can't figure out how to get benefits.

> For example, become a hairdresser.

I didn't suggest that. I did suggest that he/she works for a hairdresser. (probably doing errands around).

> I wouldn't hire you if you looked homeless

Not for a customer facing job. For some businesses, that would destroy the business. That's why I suggest that he/she starts with jobs that do not care too much about your current status.

> Empathy is not a constrained resources.

I have a hard time giving empathy to someone who doesn't have it. By squatting other people property, you might be risking putting these people out of their homes (maybe they are looking to rent it and are paying a mortgage/loan).

Not all properties are hold by rich people and closed to make people on the streets. Some of these are by normal hardworking people and that's all they have (or maybe less if they are borrowing money).

Squatting is fine. Land should belong to the public anyway, just like the air we breathe.

Not to defend capitalism (and especially landlords) too much, but buildings are not just 'land' - free land wouldn't get you squats, but tents...

This reads like as a eu-citizen you get support: https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/work-income/apply-for-benefit/ (should be similiar for other cities) - there is brexit but there is a transition period until the end of 2020: https://www.government.nl/topics/brexit/question-and-answer/...

I would suggest to look for organisations that support you while dealing with the paper stuff but from a quick glance this might be useful (at least health insurance, monthly money, maybe access to some kind of paid training program that fit's your needs).

Coming from someone who has actually been homeless, it’s entirely possible to get back on your feet with freelance work, and probably a much better idea than taking a low paying job.

I spent a year homeless on the streets of San Francisco due to my mental health and the atrocious safety net we have in the US. Eventually, my mental health improved, and I met an extremely generous person who was also in tech and helped me tremendously by giving me an old laptop of his and introducing me to the owner of an agency he used to work at. They didn’t have any work for me right away, but eventually I got a 6 week contract that paid $12k. Since I was a contractor, all of this money was available to me immediately (I could worry about taxes later), and I was able to get back on my feet and find a job soon after.

Obviously my situation involved a bit of luck, but I do believe that as long as you have access to a computer, this is possible. The important things to remember are that your skills are valuable. Do not sell yourself short because of your current situation. And things will get better. I know you’re living through a hell very few people can understand, but if you’re fortunate enough to be intelligent and skilled, you have a very good chance of coming out of this. Most homeless people don’t have this benefit.

What kind of work were you able to do for the $12k contract?

Web development

>After you get yourself a place to stay, better clothes, and a haircut then I’ll start branching into tech again.

I'd strongly disagree with this. If you can code, you are wasting your time doing any other kind of work. Do whatever it takes to land a job. Lie about your living situation. Spend all day at the library practicing Leet Code. The amount of time you spend trying to land a job will more than be made up by the salary delta of tech vs. menial labor.

You might be severely underestimating the impact that a bad living situation can have on a persons confidence, motivation, and mental energy to approach tasks.

The most important thing they can do is ANYTHING that gets them into a stable living situation.

I agree with this comment. First seek stability. Then you have a base, launch position, to move upwards from at your personal mental pace, after you get your feet back under you. Most people do not function well at all under the intense stress of homelessness, it breaks you down.

If they can quickly find a tech job, that's great of course; otherwise find anything that provides the necessary stability to make further sound moves from. It's dangerously easily to get trapped in homelessness for extended periods of time as it breaks people down and they can't get back out.

I’ll second this. Getting any job, and keeping it, will give you a self esteem boost in addition to giving you some structure and income. Use that as a launch pad for bigger and better things.

Put another way, it’s easy to reach too high and then feel depressed or hopeless because you can’t achieve it. It’s much better to walk up the steps one at a time.

Tech is a better meritocracy than other fields but is still a field with barriers. If you don't have a good resume, a CS degree, recommendations or particular open source contributions, you'll have a hard time getting any job.

I'm not sure if you tried being homeless for 1 or 2 days, but I can't imagine you'll be able to pass an interview if you slept in the church door last night and had nothing for dinner.

> Do whatever it takes to land a job.

That's what I'm suggesting and unless there is someone or some community that will bail you out for 3-4 months to get your affairs in order, you'll have to start from rock bottom.

Oof... Sounds like a shit situation.

Honest advice:

Quit sitting around waiting for life to drop an opportunity in your lap! Create opportunity for yourself! This post is a great start, but keep going. Approach people in real life with the same friendly and open-hearted attitude, just like you've done here, and your situation will improve - and fast.

Anyone who tries to judge your situation and condemn you for it can fuck right off - ignore them.

Many hostels I've stayed in offer work-for-stay arrangements. Where you spend a couple of hours during the day helping clean, making beds, etc, and they give you a bunk to sleep in. This might help you network with some people - make some friends, and get out of your current squatting situation.

One real conversation can change your entire life, if you are open to it

Honest question:

what did he say that you would presume he's been "sitting around waiting for life to drop an opportunity in his lap?"

It sounds like you're trying a lot of out there ideas (volunteering at cafe, open source donations, helping out at hackerspaces, etc).

My advice is to try to halt all of that and dedicate 100% energy towards traditional ways of finding a job over the next month.

Out of curiosity, what about family?

If you have an internet connection:

Either post on Craigslist or walk in to small business with the following offers:

- I will build you a website for (small sum) - I will build your facebook page for (small sum) - I will setup your Twitter account for (small sum)

On and on and on until you can generate a few hundred dollars. The world is a VASTLY different place when you have zero money versus when you have a little money. A little money is a bed or a warm shower or a new set of clothes for a job interview or a warm healthy meal or some advil for a headache.

Avoid trying to solve being homeless and not having a job and not knowing about the future and and and......focus on solving the key challenge right in front of you: lack of resources (money).

Good luck

what exactly is someone who pays a (small sum) for a setup Twitter account expecting to receive?

A functioning Twitter account and instructions on how to use it. Technologists (you, me, others here) GREATLY overestimate the technical capability of the other adults around us. If a small business does NOT have a Twitter account then it's a safe bet that they either don't have company email or don't know how to set it up. A well written profile, header and profile picture, and an explanation of hashtags and how to post is worth $50 to $100 in a lot of cases.

Maybe banners, artwork, bio, follow relevant accounts, make some starter tweets with popular hashtags to get some follows back, interaction with some key people. I wouldn’t pay for it personally but someone might.

Lots of good answers here.

"All I want is to make enough money to survive" well, this may be what is wrong with you.

You have programming skills? This is amazing. I understand you currently need some help, but someone also most likely needs your skills.

It's a tough world, but most businesses will not care about your needs to make money. They might even avoid you. However, they will beg for you skills if they realize what you can bring them.

In other words, you may want to focus on learning how to sell yourself, help a business to solve their problems and you will make money.

PS: I know a few people who made lots of cash on upwork with programming skills without qualifications. Try looking for agencies looking for hands.

I volunteer at shelters and have spoken to many homeless folks. It’s hard. I feel you.

First you gotta have a place to live so you can focus on other things like finding a job. To find a job you need an address and a bank account. To do a job you have to be well groomed and presentable. You need to get good sleep and be in a decent headspace so you can provide a service to your employer that they’ll pay you for.

Their isn’t much I can do. I just quit my job to go solo so I don’t have a stream of income.

That being said, I am more than happy to donate $100 to help you out to get your wheels moving to the next step.

We software engineers (at-least in the US) are fortunate to make plenty of dough.

find a döner kebap restaurant which run by turkish people. probably they will help you out, find a job for you to enough to get fed. think about something you can provide. thats all they mostly have soft hearts cannot leave people die.


For what it’s worth— I moved here in the US from CA to NY. I spent months in a shelter and living in my car before I found an SRO above a bar. But I still needed gas money, food, etc. At the first shelter I found everybody was either disabled or working at a day labor company. (You’re in NL, so this isn’t any good for you, but maybe the reference will give you an idea [1]).

[1]: https://www.peopleready.com/home

Since there is no PM on HN and I don't want to make my e-mail address to spambots please contact me via my projects contact form and I'll get back to you to see if I can give you a hand:


Drop your CV here, somebody might call you

Hello sir. Good luck. In addition to all the other good advice, if there is someone you know and respect, and who has a stable living situation overall, I would strongly encourage reaching out to them and ask for help and meeting with them regularly, both for the advice that they can give, with their more intimate knowledge of you than those of us online, and for the encouragement and motivation that comes from feeling like you have someone in your corner. It's one day at a time.

You said you had connections with some hackerspaces. When I did a brief stint of homelessness I was able to lean on my local hackerspace to take showers and receive mail (a fixed address is extremely helpful when job hunting). If you go this route don't get too comfortable and start spending all your time there/sleeping there or you will attract negative attention.

1. Hang in there. Take care of yourself by being kind to yourself as best you can

2. Keep applying to jobs. Don't give up on that. Something will work out.

3. In the interim, have you considered doing some freelance work via Upwork or something similar? The pay will likely not be great, but it'll be a hell of a lot more than 10 Euros / week, and can grow as you build a client-base.

Is there an advice organisation similar to the UK's citizen's advice organisation? I imagine that since the cost of living is so high in the netherlands what you're experiencing must not be an unheard of problem. maybe find the mayor's office (or regional equivalent) and politely ask for advice on where to get help?

Good luck, hope everythig works out.

> I don't know what's wrong with me.

There is nothing wrong with YOU. In a bad situation, it's easy to think that you must be a villain or a victim, but you are a hero/ine and you can overcome these challenges.

Connect with social services, they exist to help. Being in a stable and safe situation is going to free up that mental bandwidth to focus on next steps.

This reminds me of:


in that when one is homeless, most of the budget is already spent, so managing them is critical to success.

There are Freelance websites where you can work on small coding projects for money.

Use those get some immediate money and start building up confidence and accomplishments that you can use on your resume/cv.

After doing that for a while apply for a full-time role with your updated resume showing multiple successful small projects from freelance roles.

Your biggest problem is not your lack of experience or lack of an address. Your biggest problem is that you are trying to get a job from a position of complete exhaustion (physical, mental and economical).

If your country has social services get in touch with them, they can give you shelter, food, an some job to get you back on track.

You deserve better.

Come back to the ground. It is easier if you take some steps to evolve. Find a job in a bar, spa, shop, cleaning, or so. Those jobs do not require a CV or ref letter. Then, you may get enough money to pay a room or basement. Once you are self sufficient, work hard to get further in you plan.

You should post something about what your strongest skills are (programming languages, technologies, etc) as well as your email address. Maybe edit your original post so they're easier to find. You're on the front page of HN: there are a lot of folks here who could help you find work.

Do you have family you could stay with for a little while? It sounds like you need some stability where you're living as a platform to look for some employment.

Even not immediate family. I know that I would take in a cousin that needed help for a while Even if asking is really hard.

It sounds like you are still looking for a tech job? What about day labor, retail, fast food restaurants, etc.. Yeah it sucks, but you just need enough to afford a cheap studio with 6 other guys crammed into it like grad students often do to get by...

Anyone is welcome to use my address for receiving official documents. Just email me to let me know, and I'll send you photos of anything that arrives with your name on.

couple of my hacker mates living in the squats works in simple manual jobs, warehouse or street cleaning. zero contract and agency but gives them around £1k a month on minimum wage, well enough to survive. Facebook is good for finding freelance jobs, join a local group and there you find posts about folks looking for someone to do something for them.

Become a webdev. Current or recent homelessness is a job requirement.

Church and ANY JOB POSSIBLE ASAP, like others have pointed out.

Have you tried going to a farm and helping there.

Which city are you currently in?


Do you speak dutch? The salvation army might be able to support you in getting you off the street first, help feed you etc. Their website is dutch only though. They have a local chapter in Rotterdam.



My parents are from villages just outside that area. They emigrated to NZ 42 years ago.

I spent about three and a half years in NL, which was five years ago. I worked in Arnhem doing electrical testing. I lived in Nijmegen for two years. I definitely found it friendlier and living in a smaller city a lot easier on my mental health, not to mention financially easier. I found Rotterdam to be a bit of a concrete jungle.

In the immediate term, you have shelter right now, which is extremely important. Use that while you find more secure shelter.

I'm just so gutted I'm living on the other side of the world, or I'd help you in a more personal way.

Don't give up.

pls explain more.

There must be someone here who can find vertex-four a job?

>. I'm going to be dead in a few months if I can't work something out.

why would you be dead? Can't tell if this is a troll post.

He has ten Euros a week in donations. If he can't come up with solutions and find more resources, there's nothing crazy about predicting "The path I'm on could actually end in my death in the not too distant future."

Is everyone on HN this oblivious to that fact? Do most well-heeled people just find it impossible to recognize that "I have no money currently and no means to reliably make money and it's been a persistent problem that isn't resolving." is, in actual fact, a life-threatening situation and this isn't hyperbole?

Because, wow, if most rich people are that amazingly obtuse, that might go a long ways towards explaining the horrifyingly callous treatment I've been subjected to over the years.

people are dying of starvation in Netherlands?

In the US, homeless people have a much lower life expectancy than housed people and other categories of poor people also generally have lower life expectancies. You don't have to be pronounced dead from literal starvation for poverty to kill you.

I guess that's a "yes, well-heeled people really are completely oblivious to what actual poverty means."

Which would explain an awful lot of super shitty policies in the world.

you are really reaching here, Lower life expectancy doesn't mean "dead in a few months". Are you really saying poor ppl in Netherlands have a life expectancy of few months?

Also, lol at all your other irrelevant points, I grew up in one of the poorest parts of Africa. You clearly have no idea what poverty means. Funny how ppl who lived all their lives in a first world country think they know what poverty is.

I'm saying homeless people can die on the street in fairly short time frames and being concerned that such circumstances are a genuine threat to survival isn't just someone being completely histrionic or deluded.

Yes I agree with you. I shouldnt have been cynical/dismissive in my original comment.

I initially had that the same thoughts, but by quickly scanning the person’s comment history, and also seeing that it goes a long way back, it’s clear to me that they’re not a troll.

But, yes, I also don’t get (when thinking from my perhaps too strictly rational and pragmatic point of view) what would imply death being only a few months away.

Negative thought spiral. Life is rough for the OP right now; negative thoughts are begetting negative thoughts. I think most folks have been there, with variance in magnitude.

Nothing is wrong with you. First fix your self esteem, stop beating yourself up.

So now since temp agencies are not hiring. Go gangster. Look at the nearest biz getting customer complaints. If you can stop the customer complaints than talk to the owner and sell him or her on hiring you even if its few hours a week. Should work as they have an immediate pain problem they want to go away.

I hope it helps and please talk to more people and ask for help.

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