Essays About Homelessness: Top 8 Examples Plus Prompts

Everyone has heard of homeless people at some point in their lives; if you are writing essays about homelessness, read our top essay examples and prompts.

Poverty is one of the greatest evils in the world. Its effects are seen daily, from people begging on the streets to stealing to support their families. But unfortunately, one of the most prominent and upsetting diversity is homelessness. Homelessness is a significant problem in even the most developed nations, including the U.S. and Canada. Despite all the resources used to fight this issue, countries often lack the means to reduce homelessness significantly. With the proper aid, homelessness can be entirely eradicated in the future. 

If you want to write essays about homelessness, keep reading to see our essay examples and helpful writing prompts.

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Are you looking for more? Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays

1. That Homeless Man is My Brother by Megan Regnerus

“But the subtext of my friend’s statement is really Why should I give money to someone who’s lazy; who isn’t willing to work for money like I do?’

And to that I say, her opinion that people who ask for money are freeloaders who could work but choose not to, is based on assumption. It relies on the notion that the two things that shape us into able-bodied adults who can hold down a regular job, nature and nurture, are level playing fields.

And they’re not.”

Regnerus writes about a friend’s claim that the homeless are “lazy,” reminding her of her homeless brother. She cites genetics and circumstance as contributing factors to homelessness. Despite the other woman being her friend, Regnerus strongly refutes her belief that the homeless are non-disabled freeloaders- they should be treated with empathy. For more, check out these articles about homelessness.

2. A journey with the homeless by Sujata Jena

“I realize that the situation of poverty and homelessness is a huge social problem around the world. But when I meet them, I face fellow human beings, not some abstract “social problem.” The very phrase, “What would Jesus do at this scene?” haunted me. 

I ventured to ask their names, age, where they came from, where they live (street, bridges, cemetery) and the reason they are on the streets.

Their stories are poignant. Each one has a unique story to tell about his/her reason to be homeless, how they were forced to leave distant rural villages to live on the city streets. I tried to listen to them with empathy.”

In her essay, Jena remembers the homeless people in Manila, Philippines. She can see them beyond some “aspect of society” as human beings. She empathizes with them extensively and recalls the words of Jesus Christ about loving others, particularly the neediest.

3. I Chose to be Homeless: Reflections on the Homeless Challenge by Emily Kvalheim

“I, too, have not been compassionate enough, and I have allowed my prejudices to distort my view of the homeless. One woman, who sat across from me at a feeding program, talking to herself erratically, may have seemed strange to me before the Homeless Challenge. But when I really saw myself as her equal, and when I took the time to watch her get up and laugh as she danced to the music playing in the background, I thought she was beautiful. She had found her own happiness, amidst despair.”

Kvalheim details her experiences during an immersion challenge with the homeless. She recalls both the discrimination and generosity she experienced and her experiences with other homeless people. She was amazed to see how they could stay positive despite their terrible circumstances. We should be thankful for what we have and use it to help others in need. 

4. My Experience Being Homeless by Scott Benner

“As my funds dwindled, and the weather got colder, I sought shelter at Father Bill’s in Quincy Ma.

When you are homeless, sometimes very small things mean a lot. A dry pair of socks, shoes without holes, a pocketful of change.

You begin to realize how much you value your personal space. You begin to realize other people want space too. A lot of people have issues or have suffered in one way or another and you can see their pain. I think that there are people who for a variety of issue are chronically homeless and a larger portion of homeless are transitioning through a series of bad events.”

Benner’s essay, written for the company ArtLifting, reflects on his experience of being homeless for a brief while. Then, he and his wife grew ill, and Benner sought refuge at a homeless shelter after his company shut down. After that, he realized how his struggles were very different from those of others and the value of the more minor things he previously took for granted. Luckily, he escaped homelessness by making art with the help of ArtLifting. 

5. What People Get Wrong When They Try to End Homelessness by James Abro

“The court denied my sister’s request and named me our mother’s legal guardian, but it appointed my sister as guardian of her property.  In 2009, when my mother passed away, my sister evicted me.

The day I was scheduled to move out, I stood in a convenience store, dazed, as I stared at microwaveable meals.  These would be my new staple when I moved into the motel room.

My phone rang—my sister.  She told me she needed me out of the house in a couple of hours—she was a real estate agent and a client wanted to see the house.

‘No hard feelings,’ she said.”

Similar to Benner, Abro narrates the circumstances surrounding his homelessness. After his mother’s death and a conflict with his sister led to his eviction, he ended up homeless. While his situation was unfortunate, he believes that there are many people worse off than him and that something must change to address the housing and poverty crises in America.

Top 5 Prompts On Essays about Homelessness

1. Causes of Homelessness 

Essays about Homelessness: Causes of homelessness
Research the different causes of homelessness and elaborate on them

For your essay, it would be interesting to write about how people become homeless in the first place. Research the different causes of homelessness and elaborate on them, and be sure to provide sources such as statistics and anecdotes. 

2. How Can Homelessness Be Reduced?

What solutions to homelessness can you think of? In your essay, propose at least one way you think the homelessness problem can be solved or at least reduced. It must be concrete, realistic, and defensible; be sure to explain your solution well and defend its feasibility, backing up your claims with facts and logic. 

3. Mental Illness and Homelessness

Homelessness and mental health can be linked—research into declining mental health and how homelessness can impact a person’s mental well-being. Make sure to use research data and statistics to show your findings. Conclude whether poor mental health can cause homelessness or if homelessness causes poor mental health.

4. Reflection on Homelessness

You can write about what homelessness means to you in your essay. Perhaps you’ve heard stories of homeless people, or maybe you know someone who is or has been homeless. Use this essay to highly the effects of homelessness and how we can work together as a society to eradicate it.

5. Is Homelessness a “Personal Problem?”

Many say that homeless people “choose to be homeless” and are underachievers; otherwise, they would simply “get a job” and lift themselves out of poverty. Is this true? Research this topic and decide on your stance. Then, write about whether you agree with this topic for a compelling argumentative essay.

If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics.


  • Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.