20 Politically Correct Terms for ‘Homeless Persons’

Discussing homelessness can be tricky, and the language we use matters. It’s important to remember that the individuals we are referring to are people first. They are not defined by their lack of stable housing, but rather it is just one aspect of their circumstances.

20 Politically Correct Ways to Say ‘Homeless Persons’

Let’s look at some respectful alternatives to ‘homeless persons’ that you can use in your conversations.

politically correct term for homeless persons

1. “Individuals Experiencing Homelessness”

This term puts the emphasis on ‘individuals’ first and recognizes that homelessness is a situation, not a permanent condition or identity.


“Our organization provides aid to individuals experiencing homelessness.”

“Individuals experiencing homelessness can access services at our community center.”

2. “People Without Housing”

This is a straightforward, factual term. It describes the situation accurately without making any assumptions about the individual.


“The city council is developing new programs for people without housing.”

“Our food drive aims to support people without housing in our community.”

3. “Unhoused Individuals”

Here, the focus is on the individuals, not their housing situation. The term is concise, clear, and respectful.


“Unhoused individuals face numerous challenges in accessing basic services.”

“The shelter offers temporary accommodations for unhoused individuals.”

4. “Persons Living Without Permanent Accommodation”

This phrase provides a detailed description of the circumstance. It emphasizes that the situation is not permanent, and the person’s state can change.


“Our mission is to provide employment opportunities for persons living without permanent accommodation.”

“This fundraiser aims to support persons living without permanent accommodation.”

5. “People in Transitional Living”

Transitional living refers to temporary housing situations, such as shelters or group homes. This term recognizes the transient nature of the person’s situation.


“Our volunteers work with people in transitional living to develop essential life skills.”

“The program aims to provide health care services to people in transitional living.”

6. “People in Unstable Housing Situations”

This term acknowledges that housing situations can fluctuate and that instability can lead to temporary homelessness.

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“The agency offers rent assistance to people in unstable housing situations.”

“Our outreach efforts focus on helping people in unstable housing situations.”

7. “Persons Without Fixed Address”

A non-judgmental, factual description of the situation. This term focuses solely on the lack of a fixed living address.


“The job fair aims to provide opportunities for persons without a fixed address.”

“Persons without a fixed address can find resources at the community center.”

8. “Individuals in Housing Crisis”

This term recognizes that homelessness is often the result of a crisis situation. It humanizes the issue and calls attention to the seriousness of their condition.


“Our nonprofit provides emergency support for individuals in a housing crisis.”

“Individuals in a housing crisis can find shelter and assistance at our center.”

9. “People Without Residential Stability”

This term acknowledges the importance of stable, long-term housing. It suggests that homelessness is a symptom of larger systemic issues.


“The goal of our program is to provide people without residential stability with the necessary resources.”

“We must advocate for affordable housing solutions for people without residential stability.”

10. “People Who Are Housing Insecure”

This term captures a broad range of situations, from those at risk of losing their housing to those who already have. It recognizes the insecurity and fear that comes with housing instability.


“The food bank serves people who are housing insecure.”

“We offer tutoring for children of families who are housing insecure.”

11. “Individuals Living on the Streets”

This term is accurate for individuals who are literally living on the streets. It paints a clear picture, emphasizing the need for immediate action and support.


“We conduct regular outreach to help individuals living on the streets.”

“Local businesses can donate food and clothing to assist individuals living on the streets.”

12. “People Without a Permanent Place to Live”

This phrase simply states the situation and puts ‘people’ first, reminding us that we’re referring to human beings, not just a social issue.

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“Our foundation provides educational support for children without a permanent place to live.”

“It is crucial to provide mental health services for people without a permanent place to live.”

13. “Persons Without a Home”

It’s a less clinical term than some others, using ‘home’ rather than ‘housing,’ which may feel more personal and relatable.


“The community center offers warm meals to persons without a home.”

“We provide job training for persons without a home to improve their circumstances.”

14. “People Who Lack Stable Housing”

It acknowledges the importance of stability in housing, which can impact every aspect of a person’s life.


“The government should invest more in providing affordable options for people who lack stable housing.”

“We provide medical assistance to people who lack stable housing.”

15. “Persons in Need of Housing”

It’s a respectful term that highlights the person’s needs, reminding listeners or readers of the importance of addressing those needs.


“Our shelter is always open for persons in need of housing.”

“We offer legal services to persons in need of housing.”

16. “People Living Outside”

This term helps to humanize the individuals in question by recognizing their current living situation.


“During the winter months, our charity increases support for people living outside.”

“Our free health clinic provides care for people living outside.”

17. “Individuals Without Permanent Shelter”

This term emphasizes the lack of security and safety that comes with not having a permanent shelter.


“We are raising funds to provide temporary housing for individuals without permanent shelter.”

“Individuals without permanent shelter can access resources at our local outreach center.”

18. “Persons Living in Sheltered Accommodation”

This is a respectful term for individuals living in homeless shelters or temporary accommodation.


“We offer counseling services for persons living in sheltered accommodation.”

“Our new education program targets young adults living in sheltered accommodation.”

19. “People in a Temporary Living Situation”

This term underscores the temporary nature of the circumstance and emphasizes the individuals’ potential to change their situation.

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“Our organization provides job placement assistance for people in a temporary living situation.”

“We distribute hygiene kits and blankets to people in a temporary living situation.”

20. “People Struggling with Housing”

This term conveys empathy and recognizes the struggle associated with finding and keeping safe, stable housing.


“We provide resources and tools for people struggling with housing.”

“Our mentorship program matches volunteers with people struggling with housing to help them navigate their challenges.”

Language is a powerful tool, and the terms we use can shape our perceptions and attitudes. When referring to individuals experiencing homelessness, prioritize terms that affirm their dignity and humanity.

These 20 phrases emphasize their personhood first and foremost. By using respectful language, we can help shift the conversation around homelessness towards empathy and understanding.