Being homeless means being part of an alternative society. There are many aspects of homelessness in our society, including:
There are families on the street, sometimes with just a mom, sometimes just a dad, sometimes with both parents. Usually these are families who have fallen on hard times, having lost a job or their housing. Families don’t usually stay on the street very long and can get off of the street with some help from a church or the government.
This is a growing population. Many homeless youth have left their families or foster care homes because living conditions there were unacceptable to them, perhaps from abuse or perhaps because they wanted to live an alternative lifestyle that was unacceptable to their guardians. Usually these kids can get assistance if they want to get off the street, but many are content to live their chosen lifestyle.
This category could be adults or youth, families or singles. These are people who have enough of a support network that they can at least get off the street, but they are people who cannot find a place to live, are usually having a hard time obtaining permanent employment and can receive almost no services or help from churches or the government.
This is who we think of as “classically” homeless. They usually have addiction or mental health issues, live in camps around urban areas. These folks have been homeless from a year to forty years, having become hardened by the constant rejection and pity they receive.