Scenario: This winter, you have 15 applicants - friends and family and co-workers (and their kids) - who have asked to stay at your house. They are obviously desperate, and have assorted job losses, health problems, bankruptcies, home foreclosures, and disaster areas they are fleeing from.
1. A 30% probability your applicants will be able to find other decent accommodations if you turn them down. A 20% probability they will endure frostbite, starvation or death/severe illness from exposure if you turn them down. And a 50% probability they will be able to find a homeless shelter if you don't have room.
2. You cannot have people sleep in your kitchen or bathrooms. All else is fair game. They will be bringing their own sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and clothes. You will supply couches, floors, and mattresses as available.
3. The majority of applicants will need to stay indefinitely - meaning at least 3 months. Many will need to stay 6 months, or until winter is over.
4. Applicants have only a little money. They will not be able to pay you except in barter or work arrangements. But they will be able to provide 95% of their own food from food banks, jobs they manage to find, and "free-ganing".
I know this is a terrible scenario, but it may well apply if there is a Greater Depression, a devastating winter in the Northeast or Upper Midwest, or if hurricanes continue to knock out power and cause flooding and destruction along the Gulf Coast. Maybe all of these and more.
OK - search the house - the garage - the attic - the enclosed porch - how many spots can you find for people to sleep? How many of the 15 friends, family, co-workers, and kids can you let stay with you for the next 3 - 6 months?
These people are now your team.
Freeloading is bad for the soul and the self-esteem. So, what will you ask them to do in exchange for their accommodations - will they cook? babysit? chop firewood? gather firewood? work in your garden? can food? build you a new kitchen? put up a fence? make new raised beds for the spring garden? put up gutters for your rainwater system? dig out a root cellar? build an adobe oven?
With a team of people, you can accomplish a lot. What will your team do with you?