If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression would I use to describe this? The expression should include the word 'street'.

Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the streets"? Or what would a native English speaker say?

  • 3
    "lost real estate" has "street" in it: [lo]st re[al] e[s]t[ate]
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 19:12
  • If you wanted to take a lighthearted approach, you could say "living al fresco" or "sleeping under an open roof," but really there's nothing jolly about it. "Sleeping in doorways" and "camping on the streets" have a suitable air of physical discomfort and economic desperation to them.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 19:29
  • Where I come from, if you expressed to me "I was pushed to the streets" then my initial thought would be that you joined a gang and started committing crimes in order to support your family. Homelessness is a possibility but not guaranteed when using that phrase.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 20:46
  • Does the expression have to have "street"? There are many alternatives to "homeless" which means living on the streets.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 6:22

5 Answers 5


It sounds like the phrase you're looking for is "kicked out on the street", which typically implies homelessness or unemployment.


I don't think we (Brits) have a neat expression for that, we would have to say that NN became a homeless person, or a "rough sleeper".

"Pushed to the streets" has to be Indian English, right? AFAIK we don't have it, but I think it is nevertheless transparent to us. Just don't have the person "walking the streets" unless you honestly mean that (s)he is now a street prostitute.

  • 1
    A similar problematic term in U.S. English (in addition to "street walker") is "turned out," which I believe in pimp argot means "made to become a prostitute."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 19:17
  • @SvenYargs: Ouch! Given that landlords turn tenants out when evicting them, this is really dangerous.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 19:20
  • 2
    I think the term they are on the street is sometimes used in this context.
    – WS2
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 20:08
  • @SvenYargs Not much. Also, there's "The men will cheer and the boys will shout. The ladies they will all turn out." Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 23:11

In U.S. English, a common phrase used to indicate homelessness would be "sleeping on the streets".

  • 1
    You're right, but I think the question is asking for a term that means "becoming homeless", not "being homeless".
    – GMA
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 4:21

While pushed to the streets is grammatically correct and carries the meaning you want to convey, it's a little off idiomatically.

First, it would be pushed onto the street. I have a strong feeling that street should be singular. For example, you say I live on the street and not streets.

Here forced would work better than pushed. For example, "He was forced to the street."

The problem with pushed is that it has a connotation that the agent doing the pushing is a human being and the pushing is literal (i.e. physical). For example, "He pushed me to the street." describes a rough physical act and has nothing to do with being homeless.


A street urchin is a synonym for a child who is homeless and living on the streets.

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