Trying to apply for a job when you do not have access to a shower, clean clothes, makeup, or a hairbrush is barely something you should even bother with unless you’re going to apply for a remote online job, which isn’t an option for everyone. The people who are interviewing you for a job are going through a process of elimination in order to find the best candidates. If you are the only person who showed up for a job without having showered, they are going to have an easy excuse to eliminate you, and they will respond accordingly. The results of job interviews are often determined in a fickle way, and even if you meet the requirements of a given job, you are going to lose to the more presentable person.
Some homeless people do not even have access to the information technology that they will need in order to print out their resumes. If you do not have access to a car, you cannot easily go to a library with public computer access unless you live close to one, which is not always an option for even the homeless people who are living outdoors. Some outdoor areas are more conducive to outdoor living than others, and ‘respectable’ places like libraries are rarely going to count. Libraries tend to be unfriendly places for homeless people in general. The easy solutions that people will recommend for getting around this problem are rarely going to work for homeless people in practice, since the forces that made you homeless will often work to keep you there in one way or another.
If I hadn’t had wonderful people to help me get out of the vicious cycle of homelessness, I would be struggling to live outdoors to this day. I did not lift myself up by my proverbial bootstraps in order to get to this point. Other people helped lift me up initially. It is true that it took a lot of personal effort to get to the point at which I owned a home and had a stable job. However, it is not something that I could have done alone. People should stop expecting other homeless people to do all of this alone when the initial help that they could give in the beginning would make all the difference.