Tips for desperate job seekers: Crisis management

Always get advice when dealing with a crisis. Ask the professionals in the problem areas. You need information to know your options, as soon as possible. You also get information you don't have, and that's vitally important.

The most reliable sources of information for all these problems are the charities. If you tell a charity social worker your situation, they can tell you in a few minutes things you could spend literally weeks trying to find out for yourself.

Welfare agencies can help, too. Professional advisors are always worth talking to as they have access to information readily available, so you can get a lot of current information and ideas with a simple phone call.

Accommodation

Shelters and hostels aren't everyone's preference, but the people who provide shelters can also suggest alternatives, and they have the local knowledge to save you a lot of time looking. A phone call can save you several days of hunting if you need a place to stay.

Be prepared to look outside the area for accommodation, if necessary. Your best option is a place which will allow you to stay long enough to give yourself time to get things organized.

Paying bills

If you're struggling to pay bills, know that most payments can be rescheduled. Most billing agents don't mind rescheduling, as long as there's a payment plan in place and you have a good history with them. Even mortgages and car repayments can be rescheduled, to a point. Get in contact with the billing company, make them aware of your situation, and see what can be done.

Food

Many charities hand out food, and a lot of it. This has a major impact on the finances. It helps cover the sort of costs basic groceries can inflict, and can gives you at least some spare cash to work with. Get cereals, canned food, anything with a long shelf life, and try to hunt down some fresh vegetables when you can.

No money

You can get financial assistance from some charities and welfare agencies, depending on circumstances. It's not likely to be a huge amount of money, but it usually does cover the gaps. Stick to this money like glue, and only spend what's required.

The other, much riskier option is a personal loan. These aren't always available, but they can work, if you're sure you can handle them and they aren't for amounts of money that will cause more problems than they solve. Avoid anything where the repayments look difficult, or where you can see them causing an obvious cashflow problem.

All crises can be managed. The important elements are to buy some time and remain calm. Get help and give yourself some room to maneuver.