20 Homeless Experience Stories That’ll Move You

Posted by , Updated on May 24, 2024

Here is a poignant collection: 20 stories of homelessness that are certain to touch your heart. Data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that approximately 554,000 people are experiencing homelessness in the United States.

With a rocky economy and rising rent costs across the nation, the possibility of becoming homeless is becoming easier and easier. The struggle for survival while living on the streets takes a toll on a person’s mental and physical health.

For some people, hope is the only thing they can hold onto. For many people in this article, it took dedication and a helping hand from others to get them back on their feet.

Get your tissues ready as we present to you, 20 Homeless Experience Stories That’ll Move you.



Homeless Is Not By Choice


Jessica, a young woman with two children, became homeless after her husband got sent to prison. She was forced to become the sole provider of her household.

After bouncing from motels to the streets Jessica found salvation at Bridges Safehouse. With help from her new community, she was able to begin taking college classes to become a Nurse.


Breakfast at Sally's


Richard LeMieux, author of Breakfast at Sally’s, writes about his life as a homeless man. LeMieux life fell to shambles when he lost his company, family, and home.

However, it was during his lowest hour that he finds a rich inner life and hope. His journey is an inspiration for readers and it helps breakdown the stereotype of homelessness.


Tyler Perry


Tyler Perry had a difficult childhood. He was sexually abused as a child which led him to become an angry troubled teenager. Perry escaped his reality through his writing.

After moving to Atlanta he tried to produce a play he had written but it failed six times. With no money, he was forced to live in his car. Finally, in 1998, the play became a hit and his entertainment career took off from there.


The streets to Wall Street


It was during Chris Gardner’s midlife when things came crashing down. Gardner’s wife left him and his son when their financial situation became too unbearable for her.

Soon after, he was evicted from their apartment and were forced to sleep in subway stations when they had nowhere else to go. Chris Gardner fought for success. He took a nonpaid internship with a prestigious brokerage firm which led him to become a multi-millionaire stockbroker on Wall Street.


James Bond

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Daniel Craig, most famously known for his role as James Bond in Skyfall, has experienced being homeless. During his early acting career, Craig would work in various restaurants to get by.

He admits to having to sleep on park benches in London when times got really rough. Through it all, Craig made it to the top. He now has a net worth of 95 million dollars.


Michael Oher


Michael Oher grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. His early life was filled with hardships, he was one of 12 siblings to parents who were not always around. His father was in and out of prison while his mother struggled with her addiction to drugs.

Oher bounced around from different foster homes until the Tuohy family came into his life. Their love and care for him helped Oher to succeed in becoming a college football star and a top NFL draft pick.


Jim Carrey


Many people wouldn’t believe that Jim Carrey, with a 150 million dollar net worth, was once homeless. It was after Carrey dropped out of school when he began living out of a small bus with his family.

They roamed from place to place. Eventually, they moved into a tent on his sister’s property. Carrey admits that it was during this difficult time when he truly understood the value of his humor.


New York Times Best-Selling Author

record yourself readinghttps://addicted2success.com/life/3-lessons-that-got-me-out-of-homelessness/

Andy Andrews was living under a pier when he met a remarkable man. The man who would change his life forever. The gentleman went by the name of Jones. He taught Andrews the value of reading a novel. “Remember, young man, the experience is not the best teacher.

Other people’s experience is the best teacher,” says Jones. He also taught Andrews to do extraordinary things and to try things that not the average person was doing.

Lastly, Jones taught him perspective. The mind can turn any seemingly negative action into a positive experience. Andy Andrews is now a New York Times best-selling author and speaker.


Business Owner

Coffee Shophttps://www.toptenz.net/10-inspirational-stories-homeless-people.php

At the early age 13 Frank O’dea, a Canadian born, grew a taste for alcohol. By the age of 21, his family grew tired of his habits and kicked him out.

With nowhere to go, he took to the streets. It took his alcoholism to get worse before he finally found an alcohol support group. His life was slowly coming together.

It was while volunteering at a political campaign where O’dea met his future business partner, Tom Culligan. Together they created the Second Cup, one of the biggest Canadian Coffee Chains.


Ivy League


When people think attributes of an Ivy League student the stereotype is often associated with prodigy or wealth. For Liz, a girl from New York City, her journey to Harvard began with homelessness. After losing her mother and becoming homeless she fought to get herself out of the rut. Liz applied and excelled at Humanities Preparatory Academy which led her to be accepted into Harvard.


Dwayne Johnson

the rockhttps://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rambling-reporter/dwayne-johnson-fights-back-tears-recalling-youth-he-lived-motels-stole-steaks-1100284

Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, is a true example of rags to riches. Dwayne and his family were evicted from their home in Hawaii when he was 14 years old.

He admits that he had to steal food from a grocery store to help feed his family. Even though times were extremely tough for him and his family he knew he had to keep fighting.

“Hold onto that fundamental quality of faith. Have faith that on the other side of your pain is something good,” says Johnson. He is now known as one of the top superstars of Hollywood.


One of the estimated 22,000 homeless Children in New York


William’s earliest memories involve being homeless. He remembers bouncing from house to house and admits that one of the places he and his mother lived in was also home to 15 other people.

While living a life of instability William and his mother found comfort from Ms Hedda, founder of the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. With her help William’s mother was able to find a job and William got accepted into a semi-boarding high school.


Becoming a Peer Advocate


Kitty Zen hopes to transform the views of the word “Homeless”. Zen grew up in a stable household until her family home caught on fire and they were never able to truly bounce back.

Moving from place to place put a strain on her and her family. Zen became engaged as a peer advocate in hopes to lead a positive change for housing challenged individuals.


Invisible People


Granny, a 73-year-old homeless woman, is just one of the heartbreaking stories on Invisible People. She has been homeless since she ran away from her orphanage at age 13.

Invisible People is a website that educates the public about people who have been affected by homelessness. It also provides information that helps you get involved in your local community.


Queen Mimi


Marie Elizabeth, also known as Queen Mimi, became homeless after she lost her house. She slept in doorways in Santa Monica until she found a home at Fox Laundry. The owner allowed her to seek refuge there.

It was at Fox Laundry where Mimi was able to meet a lot of kind-hearted people. One of those friends was  Zach Galifianakis, a famous actor.

He admired Mimi’s charm and charisma their friendship grew and Galifianakis gifted Mimi with her own apartment across the street from Fox Laundry.


A Forth Graders Dream


Gio Dargaj, a 10-year-old fourth grader, spends his free time making pillows for the homeless. He was inspired after a visit to a local homeless shelter with his mother.

Gio was able to get the attention of Rich Smith, Founder of Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, who gave him a sewing machine and materials for his project.


From J.P Morgan to Feeding the Homeless


Robert Lee, a finance and accounting graduate from New York University, gave up his six-figure salary to focus on his nonprofit organization that helps feed the homeless.

His parents from Korean instilled the notion never to waste food. That trait has inspired him to distribute over 250,000 pounds of food to people in need.


Spreading Love


Adam August, 28, continuously saw Tarec Atkinson, a 27-year-old homeless man, walking around near San Francisco. He finally built up the courage to ask Atkinson to lunch.

That one lunch meeting turned into a friendship. With a little help and guidance from August Atkinson was able to land a job at Safeway.

From this experience, August got to see first hand that spreading a little love could dramatically change a person’s life.


Hats for The Homeless

old manhttps://all.org/stories-to-inspire-helping-the-homeless/

Morrie Boogaart, a 91-year-old cancer survivor, spends his days in bed at a hospice care center knitting hats for the homeless.

In the later years of his life, he has made over 8,000 hats. “God had a plan for your life. You can see it in every step you took. I’m the hat man. I just did what I liked to do, help people,” says Boogaart.


Homeless by Choice


Keith Wasserman has chosen to live the life of a homeless person on 11 different occasions over the past 25 years. Wasserman is a graduate of Ohio University and has worked with Good Works for 39 years.

He believes reporting on his homelessness experience can help expand knowledge and peoples understanding of the issue.

Photo: Featured Image - Pixabay (Public Domain), 1. Pixabay (Public Domain), 2. Pixabay (Public Domain), 3. PIxabay (Public Domain), 4. Pixabay (Public Domain), 5. Pixabay (Public Domain), 6. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marc_Maron_and_Zach_Galifianakis.jpg, CC BY 2.0, 7. Pixabay (Public Domain), 8. Pixabay (Public Domain), 9. Pixabay (Public Domain), 10. David Shankbone, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson 2009 NYC by David Shankbone, CC BY 2.0, 11. Pixabay (Public Domain), 12. Pixabay (Public Domain), 13. Pixabay (Public Domain), 14. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jim_Carrey_2008.jpg, CC BY 2.0, 15. Pixabay (Public Domain), 16. Pixabay (Public Domain), 17. Pixabay (Public Domain), 18. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:82nd_Academy_Awards,_Tyler_Perry_-_army_mil-66455-2010-03-09-180359_(cropped).jpg (Public Domain), 19. Pixabay (Public Domain), 20. Pixabay (Public Domain)