Homeless individuals receive money from various sources. Some receive government benefits, whereas others perform odd jobs or panhandle. There are also homeless individuals who have regular or part-time employment but are still unable to secure housing.
Many organizations provide opportunities for homeless individuals to earn income in exchange for work. The jobs usually consist of sweeping, selling newspapers, cleaning, painting, lawn-care maintenance and performing miscellaneous tasks in the community. Scrap dealers pay cash by the pound for recyclable goods; therefore, some homeless individuals collect recyclable materials and sell them as a form of generating money. This involves collecting cans, bottles, copper and other metals that are valuable to recyclers. Selling blood and participating in paid medical research studies are other ways that the homeless earn income.
Homeless individuals who have disabilities may receive assistance in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). However, a large majority of homeless people rely on the generosity of others to survive. These are the people that are seen soliciting handouts at traffic lights, or in front of stores. Some of the homeless turn to crime to sustain life, and this involves prostitution, committing robberies, selling drugs and stealing.