Introducing a thought-provoking list: 20 homeless experience stories that’ll move you. There are approximately 554,000 thousand homeless people living in the United States, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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
Breakfast at Sally's
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.
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.
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.
New York Times Best-Selling Author
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.