Articles About Homelessness: Top 5 Examples and Prompts

Our handy guide will give you the tips you need to write high-quality articles about homelessness, so you can give people the information they need on this.

Every night, it’s estimated that around half a million Americans experience homelessness: it’s thought that almost one in five of these people are under the age of eighteen. Articles about homelessness can help to dispel stigma, explore some of the solutions to the problem of widespread homelessness, and – crucially – offer those experiencing it advice about how to access the help and support that could help turn things around.

Writing around this topic is an effective way to get across key background information and statistics; with a lack of affordable housing predicted to make the issue of homelessness even more acute this year in the US, these details are more relevant than ever. For help with this topic, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing?

Articles About Homelessness Examples

1. The Obvious Answer to Homelessness by Jerusalem Demsas

“Why are rates of homelessness so much higher in New York than West Virginia? To explain the interplay between structural and individual causes of homelessness, some who study the issue use the analogy of children playing musical chairs.”

This in-depth article discusses the difference between individual and structural cases of homelessness and why it’s important to make the comparison. The former considers personal circumstances leading to an individual ending up on the streets. At the same time, the latter takes a bigger-picture view to try to work out why, for example, there are so many more homeless people in California compared to Texas.

Demsas talks about how the crisis is occurring due to the high number of people in a financially precarious position: on the cliff edge of disaster, where a single nudge from an unexpected bill or the moving out of a roommate could tip them into homelessness.

2. Homelessness and Health by Stephen W. Hwang

“Homelessness affects tens of thousands of Canadians and has significant health implications.”

Hwang details how those experiencing homelessness are at significantly greater risk of dying prematurely from serious health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, and seizures. The article also explores the barriers that many homeless people face in accessing the healthcare they need, concluding that, in Canada, the healthcare system is mainly unable to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness.

3. Homeless in America by German Lopez

“No factor matters more to homelessness than access to housing.”

The author summarizes the origins of the current homelessness problem in the US, which he suggests go back decades. Lopez considers the supply and demand of housing stock and policy failures that have limited the number of homes becoming available – such as legislation concerning zoning that has worsened the issue.

The author touches on how some states are trying to turn things around by recently passing laws designed to end single-family zoning.

4. Homelessness and Mental Illness: A Challenge to Our Society by Peter Tarr Ph.D

“Studies do show that homelessness can be a traumatic event that influences a person’s symptoms of mental illness.”

Homelessness may be related to higher levels of psychiatric distress and increased levels of alcohol use, Tarr suggests in this article, which looks at the connection between the trauma of experiencing homelessness and problems with mental health.

The author also points out how mental illness can cause a greater risk of an individual becoming homeless. For example, mothers suffering from postpartum depression during the first year following birth have a significantly higher chance of experiencing homelessness than their counterparts who are not suffering from this condition.

5. Here’s How Finland Solved its Homelessness Problem by Alex Gray

“The Finns have turned the traditional approach to homelessness on its head.”

This article looks at Finland’s innovative – and successful – approach to homelessness through the Housing First policy introduced in 2017. The central premise is to give the homeless individual a permanent home first rather than requiring them to sort out a range of other problems to be given access to housing.

As well as housing, tailored support services are offered to help people get back on track. As a result of the scheme, there are no longer any homeless shelters in Finland – all have now been converted to supported housing units.

Prompts for Articles About Homelessness

1. What Causes Homeless Figures to Rise?

This article looks at the factors that can cause a spike in homelessness, such as rising inflation and unemployment rates and a lack of mental health support services. 

Consider systemic failures, for example, welfare services not being up to par, and individual issues, such as the sudden loss of a job or a divorce. This article is an excellent opportunity to help break down stigmas about homelessness, and adding plenty of case studies can help with this aspect.

2. What Is It Really Like to Sleep on the Streets?

What is it really like to sleep on the streets?
In this prompt, highlight the support available for those experiencing homelessness and how it can be accessed.

Around 30% of those experiencing homelessness in the US are people in families with children. Use this statistic as a jumping-off point to consider the reality of living a homeless existence and what it’s like to do so with children. Interviewing someone currently facing or who has faced this situation is an excellent way to add extra impact to this article. Conclude by highlighting the support available for those experiencing homelessness and how it can be accessed.

Structure this article carefully to tell a story and add impact to your words. If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips!

3. Homelessness Risk and Race

Marginalized and minority groups are at a significantly increased risk of becoming homeless. This article discusses the factors that contribute to this being the case, such as a higher prevalence of unemployment, issues accessing healthcare, and a comparatively higher chance of experiencing incarceration. 

Ethnic minority groups are at higher risk of experiencing poverty than their white counterparts, making this section of the population particularly susceptible to becoming homeless. Check out our essays about poverty writing prompts for students.

4. Solving the Homelessness Crisis

Consider the actions that countries and governments can take to solve the issue of homelessness. As well as Finland’s Housing First approach, as mentioned above, look at some of the steps other countries and cities around the world have taken to address homelessness. 

For example, Vienna has almost eradicated homelessness by offering affordable housing to all. In contrast, Japan offers temporary housing provisions and employment advice to individuals who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. When editing for grammar, we also recommend taking the time to improve the readability score of a piece of writing before publishing or submitting

5. Veterans and Homelessness

Veterans and homelessness
In this prompt, highlight the support available for veterans experiencing these things and the steps needed to access support

There’s a higher prevalence of homelessness among veterans compared to the general population in the US; use the article to look at the reasons for this disparity and what can be done to solve it. Mental illness and substance abuse are generally considered contributing factors; highlight the support available for veterans experiencing these things and the steps needed to access support.

6. Homelessness and the Pandemic

In large cities in the US, the pandemic saw Covid-19 sweep through homeless shelters, causing high levels of infection and making it difficult for homeless people to be discharged safely from the hospital. Discuss how the pandemic impacted those sleeping rough; speak with someone who experienced this and describe what their daily life looked like during this period. 

Discuss if the pandemic made homelessness more visible and whether the subsequent provision of shelter for those experiencing homelessness precipitated an ongoing shift in perceptions around this issue. For help editing your articles, we recommend using the best grammar checker. Our round-up profiles these tools and offers discounts.