Homelessness is a complex and pressing issue that affects millions of people around the world. It is a condition that is often misunderstood and stigmatized, and is often seen as a personal failing rather than a systemic problem.

In this article, we will explore some of the most thought-provoking and insightful quotes about homelessness, and consider how these words can help us to better understand and address this crucial issue.

From the perspective of people who have experienced homelessness and their advocates, to the observations of social commentators and policymakers — these quotes offer a wide range of perspectives on the challenges and realities of homelessness — and offer inspiration and opportunity to make a difference.

You might also like: How to create a homeless care package that actually helps | The best good news about homelessness

The Best Quotes About Homelessness 

Famous Homelessness Quotes

“Fear is dangerous. It creates an environment in which it’s acceptable to treat those experiencing poverty and homelessness with anger and hate. The first step to stopping this is to realize that this fear is unfounded and dangerous.”
— Terence Lester, I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People

“Fear is dangerous. It creates an environment in which it’s acceptable to treat those experiencing poverty and homelessness with anger and hate. The first step to stopping this is to realize that this fear is unfounded and dangerous.” —  Terence Lester, I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People

“Before you ignore another homeless person on the street, just remember that that could be someone’s father or someone’s mother and they have a story.”
— Syesha Mercado

“Before you ignore another homeless person on the street, just remember that that could be someone’s father or someone’s mother and they have a story.” — Syesha Mercado

“To save a life is a real and beautiful thing. To make a home for the homeless, yes, it is a thing that must be good; whatever the world may say, it cannot be wrong.”
— Vincent Van Gogh

“To save a life is a real and beautiful thing. To make a home for the homeless, yes, it is a thing that must be good; whatever the world may say, it cannot be wrong.” — Vincent Van Gogh

“Having an open mind means learning to add more to our already existing beliefs about affirming dignity of those who are impoverished.”
Terence Lester, I See You

“Having an open mind means learning to add more to our already existing beliefs about affirming dignity of those who are impoverished.” — Terence Lester, I See You‍

“Don’t try to drive the homeless into places we find suitable. Help them survive in places they find suitable.”
— Daniel Quinn

“Don’t try to drive the homeless into places we find suitable. Help them survive in places they find suitable.” — Daniel Quinn

“The biggest misconception about the homeless is that they got themselves in the mess — let them get themselves out. Many people think they are simply lazy. I urge those to make a friend at a local mission and find out how wrong these assumptions are.”
— Ron Hall

“The biggest misconception about the homeless is that they got themselves in the mess — let them get themselves out. Many people think they are simply lazy. I urge those to make a friend at a local mission and find out how wrong these assumptions are.” — Ron Hall

“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.”
— Leo Tolstoy

“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.” — Leo Tolstoy

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
— Dalai Lama

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” — Dalai Lama

Inspirational Quotes

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
— Mother Teresa

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.” — Mother Teresa

“If you know of someone who is homeless; or by chance you are homeless yourself; you are not alone.”
— Asa Don Brown

“If my fans want to do something for me when that time comes, I say, don’t waste your money on me. Help the homeless. Help the needy... people who don’t have no food... Instead of some big funeral, where they come from here and there and all over. Save it.”
— B. B. King

“If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”
— Will Smith

“If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.” — Will Smith

“Gentle reminder: People experiencing homelessness deserve to experience the type of love that goes to battle alongside them, not against them.”
Love Beyond Walls

“I have often spoken about the importance of intentionality in philanthropy: that it has to stir the soul. This is true whether you are feeding the homeless, mentoring a child, or working on climate change.”
— Charles Bronfman

‍“I have often spoken about the importance of intentionality in philanthropy: that it has to stir the soul. This is true whether you are feeding the homeless, mentoring a child, or working on climate change.” — Charles Bronfman

→ Read more quotes about humanity

Short Quotes

“None of us are home until all of us are home.”
— Project HOME

“None of us are home until all of us are home.” — Project HOME

“We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.”
— Linda Lingle

“A lot of communities pretend they don’t have homeless and just ignore them or try to make them go away.”
— Alexandra C. Pelosi

“Making it so you don’t have to look at homeless people isn’t a solution to homelessness.”
— Sara Luterman

“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.”
— Sheila McKechnie

“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.” — Sheila McKechnie

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
— Mother Teresa

“Give, but give until it hurts.”
— Mother Teresa

“Give, but give until it hurts.” — Mother Teresa

On Poverty

“People can be so apathetic. They continue to ignore the real people trapped in poverty and homelessness. It’s almost maddening”
— Daphne Zuniga

“People can be so apathetic. They continue to ignore the real people trapped in poverty and homelessness. It’s almost maddening” — Daphne Zuniga

“We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction.”
— Dennis Kucinich

“Reminder:
Being hateful towards people going through homelessness and poverty doesn’t solve homelessness and poverty.”

Terence Lester, in a tweet

“We live in a world where there is so much wealth. There shouldn’t be a homeless person. That’s crazy.”
— Raheem De Vaughn

“We live in a world where there is so much wealth. There shouldn’t be a homeless person. That’s crazy.” — Raheem De Vaughn

Read more quotes about poverty

On Hunger

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
— Mother Teresa

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” — Mother Teresa‍

“It is important for people to realize that we can make progress against world hunger, that world hunger is not hopeless. The worst enemy is apathy.”
— Reverend David Beckmann

“Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? There is no deficit in human resources. The deficit is in human will.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you want to eliminate hunger, everybody has to be involved.”
Bono

“If you want to eliminate hunger, everybody has to be involved.” — Bono

Read more quotes about hunger & feeding the poor

On Societal Failure

“These things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten-point drop in the stock markets of some cities is a tragedy.”
— Pope Francis

“These things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten-point drop in the stock markets of some cities is a tragedy.” — Pope Francis‍

“The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.”
— Pearl S. Buck

“As an immigrant, I truly believed when I was coming to this country that people had the tools necessary to life to live a life that is prosperous, that is just and free. So, every single day, I am shocked with the hypocrisy of this country. That we are the wealthiest nation in the world. But we cannot figure out how to house our homeless people.”
— Ilhan Omar

“Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them.”
Nelson Mandela

“Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them.” — Nelson Mandela

“‘Who is going to pay for that?’ is never asked when it comes to police & military budgets, yet it is the default response to policy agendas that dare to help folks experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, & mental health issues. We fund what we value, we police what we don’t.”
— Ahmed Ali

“Homelessness is the canary in the mine. It’s the prophetic call to all of us that there’s something radically wrong in our society if anybody is living on our streets.”
— Sister Mary Scullion, in an interview to Global Sisters Report

“Healthcare as a human right, it means that every child, no matter where you are born, should have access to a college or trade-school education if they so choose it, and I think no person should be homeless if we can have public structures and public policy to allow for people to have homes and food and lead a dignified life in the United States.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“Healthcare as a human right, it means that every child, no matter where you are born, should have access to a college or trade-school education if they so choose it, and I think no person should be homeless if we can have public structures and public policy to allow for people to have homes and food and lead a dignified life in the United States.” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Homeless Youth

“Most homeless kids are on the streets because they have been forced by circumstances that cause them to think that they are safer there than in any home they once knew.”
— Jewel

“Most homeless kids are on the streets because they have been forced by circumstances that cause them to think that they are safer there than in any home they once knew.” — Jewel

“We can’t forget that there are so many young people who are homeless — and unbelievably vulnerable.”
— Stacey Dooley

“More than half of homeless youth became homeless for the first time because they were asked to leave home by a parent or caregiver.”
— Dr. Resa Matthew, director Division of Adolescent Development and Support, Family & Youth Services Bureau, HHS

“Support for shelters and transitional living and housing programs is necessary if we are going to change the landscape for homeless boys and girls in America.”
— Jewel

“It’s hard being homeless at any age, but at 16 years old? I can’t even imagine. When you’re a homeless twithen, how do you build a future or have any sort of life?”
— Stacey Dooley

“It’s hard being homeless at any age, but at 16 years old? I can’t even imagine. When you’re a homeless teen, how do you build a future or have any sort of life?” — Stacey Dooley

Homeless Veterans

“There’s no reason someone who has fought for their country should be homeless or jobless.”
— Chris Kyle

“There’s no reason someone who has fought for their country should be homeless or jobless.” — Chris Kyle

“When passersby ignore homeless people, they don’t know if that was a man or woman in uniform previously. They should not be invisible. They cannot be ignored.”
— Max Martini

“A homeless veteran should not have to stand at a freeway exit with a cardboard sign. That’s not okay.”
— Joe Walsh

“Long before I achieved financial success and became the subject of a Hollywood film, I was a veteran, a single father, and a working person who was homeless.”
— Chris Gardner

“Long before I achieved financial success and became the subject of a Hollywood film, I was a veteran, a single father, and a working person who was homeless.” — Chris Gardner

On Addiction & Mental Health

“Not everyone who’s homeless is a drug-addict or in need of mental health care. Some are normal people who’ve been knocked down, and it can happen to you too. Not all of us made bad life choices.”
— Sherrilyn Kenyon

“Not everyone who’s homeless is a drug-addict or in need of mental health care. Some are normal people who’ve been knocked down, and it can happen to you too. Not all of us made bad life choices.” — Sherrilyn Kenyon

“Like you, I know people who drink, people who do drugs, and bosses who have tantrums and treat their subordinates like dirt. They all have good jobs. Were they to become homeless, some of them would surely also become ‘alcoholics,’ ‘addicts,’ or ‘mentally ill’.”
— Elliot Liebow

“Escaping poverty among the physical barriers is difficult, but with the added emotional toll, it’s almost impossible. It’s not as simple as we’d like to think.”
Terence Lester

“Escaping poverty among the physical barriers is difficult, but with the added emotional toll, it’s almost impossible. It’s not as simple as we’d like to think.” — Terence Lester

On Faith & Religion

“What we would like to do is change the world — make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do.”
— Dorothy Day

“What we would like to do is change the world — make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do.” — Dorothy Day

“How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?”
Shane Claiborne

“Government alone cannot solve the problems we deal with in our correctional facilities, treatment centers, homeless shelters and crisis centers — we need our faith-based and community partners.”
— Dirk Kempthorne

“I teach a Bible study for homeless guys in downtown Atlanta every week. Been doing it for years. That’s the guys I’d rather go talk to. I’d rather take my act outside the church.”
— Jeff Foxworthy

“Most people never really sat down and got to know a homeless person, but every homeless person is just a real person that was created by God and it is the same kind of different as us; they just have a different story.”
— Ron Hall

“Most people never really sat down and got to know a homeless person, but every homeless person is just a real person that was created by God and it is the same kind of different as us; they just have a different story.” — Ron Hall

“I learned more about God from the tears of homeless mothers than any systematic theology ever taught me.”
Shane Claiborne

“It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.”
— Dalai Lama

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
— Mother Teresa

“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.”
— Saint Augustine

“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” — Saint Augustine

On Making a Difference

“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.”
— Jan Schakowsky

“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.” — Jan Schakowsky

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
— Albert Einstein

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”
Nelson Mandela

“If you walk down the street and see someone in a box, you have a choice. That person is either the other and you’re fearful of them, or that person is an extension of your family.”
— Susan Sarandon

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
— Barack Obama

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” — Barack Obama

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

“Helping others, serving others — this is the real meaning of life.”
— Dalai Lama 

“Altogether, if we are committed to doing this heart and mind work, we may encounter new people or ideas.”
— Terence Lester, I See You

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike

“When it comes to homelessness, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Does my behavior towards those without an address contribute to the invisibility that they face daily?’
If your answer is yes, it might be time to change how you see those without an address.”

Terence Lester, in a tweet

“The way to feel good is to do good. Find your good — and do it.”
— Jon Bon Jovi, in an interview with CBS News

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
— Mother Teresa

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” — Mother Teresa

→ Read more quotes about making a difference
→ Read more quotes about activism

On Charity

“There were two classes of charitable people: one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.”
— Charles Dickens

“There were two classes of charitable people: one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.” — Charles Dickens‍

“My parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot: buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving, delivering meals to people in hospices, giving spare change to those asking for it.”
— Meghan Markle

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
— Charles Dickens

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
— Mother Teresa

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.” — Mother Teresa‍

Powerful Quotes

“From the comfort of our own homes it's hard to understand the complexities of something like poverty and homelessness.”
— Terence Lester, I See You

“From the comfort of our own homes it's hard to understand the complexities of something like poverty and homelessness.” — Terence Lester, I See You

“You’ve got to put a roof over someone’s head and then you’ve got to give them the ability to provide so they can keep it over their head. You can’t just give the man a home and go, good luck. Because next month there’s a lighting bill coming.”
— Jon Bon Jovi, in an interview with Quota

“Always have a willing hand to help someone, you might be the only one that does.”
— Roy T. Bennett

“Always have a willing hand to help someone, you might be the only one that does.” — Roy T. Bennett

More Meaningful Quotes

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”
— Mahatma Gandhi

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Home was never a dream for homeless people as they used to have their homes. Living in a home was their reality. Now we need to help them to find the lost reality — again.”
— Munia Khan

“Home was never a dream for homeless people as they used to have their homes. Living in a home was their reality. Now we need to help them to find the lost reality — again.” — Munia Khan

“Migrant workers have helped build our roads, homes and offices. We cannot stand and watch them be homeless.”
— Sonu Sood

“After all, a homeless man has reason to cry, everything in the world is pointed against him.”
— Jack Kerouac

“I just think if I can go from being a homeless kid with a dream of being in the biggest band in the world and making that happen, I can do a lot of other cool stuff, too.”
— Nikki Sixx

“There is much suffering in the world — physical, material, mental. The suffering of some can be blamed on the greed of others. The material and physical suffering is suffering from hunger, from homelessness, from all kinds of diseases. But the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, having no one. I have come more and more to realize that it is being unwanted that is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.”
— Mother Teresa

“The homeless often feel invisible, allowed to plummet through widening holes in the social safety net, then hidden in doorways from which people avert their eyes.”
— Dawn Foster

“When you look down on someone visibly suffering because they are experiencing poverty or homelessness, it does not prove how great you are; instead, it reveals how much inner suffering you are experiencing within.”
Terence Lester, in a tweet

“Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.”
Martin Luther King Jr., The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life

“Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.” — Martin Luther King Jr., The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life