How to Overcome Struggles in Life: Coping Strategies of The Homeless

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 3405 |

Pages: 7|

18 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 3405|Pages: 7|18 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Life Struggles of Homeless Elderlies
  3. Struggles Faced by Homeless People
  4. Methodology
  5. Discussion
  6. Conclusion
  7. References


Manila Philippines is home to one of the world's largest populations of homeless people, primarily due to pervasive poverty and unemployment. The escalating population growth in the Philippines has led to an increasing number of individuals succumbing to the harsh realities of destitution. Many Filipinos are unable to afford decent housing, grappling with unaffordable costs and insufficient income. In the face of extreme poverty, numerous citizens struggle to secure even three meals a day due to their meager earnings. Notably, statistics from the National Statistics Office (NSO) in 2012 revealed that approximately 3 million, or three-fourths of the total urban population in Metro Manila, reside in informal settlements commonly known as squatters' areas. Homeless individuals in the Philippines often find makeshift dwellings under bridges or on public lands, with some resorting to sleeping beside roads or public establishments. The country's rampant poverty crisis is a significant contributor to homelessness, particularly among the elderly who lack family support and need support with how to overcome struggles in life. This dire situation is exacerbated by factors such as limited job opportunities, sluggish economic growth, surging population rates, the unattainability of affordable housing, drug and alcohol dependency, and fractured family relationships (Yap, 2012) [1]. While the elderly constitute a relatively small portion of the overall homeless population, their numbers are steadily increasing, rendering them among the most vulnerable due to their physical frailty and susceptibility to illness, especially in the hazardous environment of Manila's streets. In light of these circumstances, the inquiry 'What are the lived experiences of homeless elderlies?' was conceived to delve into the daily lives and narratives of homeless senior citizens. Through this exploration, the researchers aim to uncover the transformations that transpired when they became homeless, the adversities they confronted while living on the streets, and the strategies they employed to surmount these challenges, providing valuable insights.

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The Life Struggles of Homeless Elderlies

It is very likely for homeless people to experience danger while living on the streets. Homeless people cannot maintain their safety, a good shelter and security. They do not have a comfortable shelter to stay on or do they have permanent housing, so they usually wonder around the streets and find some place to sleep which will highly risk them to danger. Lack of shelter and safety are not the only problems homeless people face, they also face everyday problems like hygiene, clothing, food and water. There are also instances where other beggars steal their foods and stuffs. Homeless people also face social disadvantages from living on the streets like the lack of good education, a proper health care and the risk of being abused, violated and discriminated by other people because some people judge homeless people base on their appearance and social status (Anonymous, 2012)[3]. According to Connell and James (2009)[4], the percentage of elderly who became homeless have increased to 60% from 1999 to 2002. It was stated that the growing population of homeless elderly people living in poverty are the people who were forced to live on the streets and grew old being poor. The very cause of elderly people to live on the streets is due to poverty and the lack of ability to afford a house. It is a struggle for homeless elderly people to experience finding a place to stay. They mentioned that they do not trust the people in the shelters and clinics, which is why they choose to sleep in the streets. According to a study, homeless elderly people are more prone to the risk of victimization and are more likely to be ignored by the government. They also suffer from depression and dementia. Elderly people who became homeless are said to not live for a long time and they will probably not live up to the age of 62. In the research study of Lamudi (2016)[5], Manila has a safety index of 39.1 which suggests that there is a high amount of crime rate in the city of Manila. There are a lot of problems faced in the city of Manila like drug dealing, vandalism, and theft. It is very likely that your safety cannot be reassured when walking along the streets be it in a day time or night time, also due to violent crimes present in the streets like assault, armed robbery, corruption and bribery.

People who live among these streets should be brave enough to face these kinds of situations. Moreover, over 12, 000 Filipinos are living in the streets especially in Metro Manila as of 2013. It is said to be continuously increasing up to 139 % for the past 3 years according to the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). In addition, some of the reasons why Filipinos end up being street dwellers because of lack of money and losing their home from demolitions; and the streets are the only place where they can build their homes. We all know that poverty is the one of the main problem in our country which is the Philippines; it’s one of the reasons why majority of the street dwellers is suffering from illness and lack of food. In that case, Filipinos living in the street tends to be a street vendor or garbage collector to have at least one meal a day. Consequently, a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) the most frequent struggle of people living in the street is seeking money. Today, here in the Philippines 18 percent of Filipinos declared or saw themselves as thriving financially, while the rest of them are said to be struggling and agonizing in terms of economic security. In a recent global study, Philippines were one of the 135 countries that were assumed to be facing social and financial community and physical well-being. For that reason alone, the Philippines continue to be low in spite of having a rapidly growth in economic status and continuously excelling at it. Furthermore, reports found out that having faith and spiritually had a positive outcome in the lives of the street dwellers. There was a study conducted from the homeless people who are regularly attending church or other religious ceremonies are less likely to be alcoholic and less likely to use drugs or cocaine. So even though there are lots of challenges they encounter in their lives no matter how hard is it they are always finding a way to overcome it because they have faith in God. They can do the things that they want with the help of their faith and spirituality. The researchers at the University of British Columbia had surveyed a hundreds of homeless people and they found out that there is nothing that such individuals tend to have particularly abuse problems if they have faith and persistently believing in God (Blackwell, 2014)[6].

Struggles Faced by Homeless People

This study focuses mainly on the lives of homeless elderlies, because of that the aim of this study is to know the “the lived experiences of homeless elderlies”. Through that main research question, the following fields were also examined by the researchers to make this study more accurate and reliable. First are the changes that took place in their lives when they become homeless. Second, what are the struggles that they experienced living on the streets. Lastly, how they surpass the everyday struggle of living in the streets. Since, the topic of this study is the everyday experience of the homeless elderlies, the reason why the researchers conducted this study is to help the people living in the streets not only the elderlies to be notice to the public as well as to our government. The conductors of the study hope that this study will be an eye opener for every one of us for the real situation of all the street dwellers or people living in the streets in the Philippines and their everyday struggles and suffering. Also, the researcher conducted this study to serve as a bridge to everyone to know their everyday battle and to let the public realize that there are a lot of people who are in need and if you are financially capable, they hoped that you would extend your hands to those people who really needs it. Learning to accept and support the homeless elderlies in spite of their predicaments would be a less burden to them, because people only see what is outside of them not what they are inside, not who they truly are. So let’s not judge them base on their physical appearance since we don’t know what they are going through, instead admire those because those are battle scars.


This study is a qualitative research that mainly focuses on Interpretivism, a type of research method which includes human elements because it depends on how the researchers demonstrate the facts cultivated through this study. This study centered on qualitative type of research that requires conducting different in-depth interviews for the researchers to gather data from different lived experiences of homeless elderlies (Gill, Stewart, Treasure, & Chadwick, 2008)[7]. The researchers conducted series of interview with the co-researchers. It is the most common method used to generate data in a qualitative study, it explains the lived experiences of elderlies that are homeless and living in the streets. The co-researchers of the study are elderlies that are homeless and living in the streets for at least three to five (3-5) years, with ages ranging from 60 and up. This study has a total of five (5) co-researchers. This study utilized purposive sampling technique where in specific part of a population is used for a certain study. This sampling technique is done by carefully selecting individuals with specific characteristics to know who would qualify and fit the requirements or the purpose of the study. The criteria needed for the study are those homeless elderlies, with ages ranges from 60 years old and up and willing to share their experiences. Specifically, typical case sampling is used in this study. It is purposive sampling technique used when the researchers are interested in the normality or typicality of the units for example people, cases, event, and settings. One of the common cases around the world are Homeless elderlies (Andrew et al., 2011)[8]. In conducting the study, the information that were gathered came from the results of the in-depth interviews of homeless elderlies around the area of Recto, Manila particularly those elderlies living in the streets. In gathering the data, the researchers used Informed Consent to protect the co-researchers’ rights. The researchers sought the approval from the selection who participated through informed consent which they either declined or approved. Voice Recorder was used to record all the statements that the co-researchers said during the interview. Pre-Qualifying Form (PQF) was used which serves as a pre-questionnaire to determine if the elderlies were suitable to perform in the study and Aide Memoir was also used. It contains a list of questions and details that will be needed by the researchers before the interview.

In data gathering, the researchers go in search for elderlies that are homeless and living in the street around the vicinity of Manila, where this elderlies were found to ask Permission that allowed the researchers to conduct a qualitative study regarding the lived experiences of homeless elders who are 60 years and up. In addition, the researchers’ handed out the PQF to determine if the elderlies were qualified to perform in the study. After examining if the elderlies were indeed suitable for the study, informed consent was given to assure the participant that the information will be between the participant and the researcher also to protect their identity. Subsequently, it was also stated in the informed consent the right of the co-reasearcher to withdraw or decline from the study. Furthermore, voice recorder was also used to record the whole conversation of the researcher and the co-researcher.

The responses of the co-researchers were acquired through an interview which were analyzed by the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). It is an approach to psychological qualitative research. The aim of IPA is to examine in particular on how the co-researchers are making sense of their personal and social world, it attempts to investigate personal experience of the co-researchers (Smith & Osborn, 2007)[9].


The study was conducted by the researchers to help the people living in the streets and not only the elderlies to be noticed by the public and the government. The researchers would like this study to bring awareness to the public about the real situation of all the street dwellers or people living in the streets in the Philippines and be able to learn the everyday struggles and sufferings of these people who live in the streets. The researchers conducted this study to make the public realize that there are a lot of people who are in need and if one is financially capable, they hoped that they would not hesitate to extend their hands to these street dwellers. The study aimed to answer the question, “What ate the lived experiences of homeless elderlies?” and find out the changes that took place into their lives when they became homeless, the struggles they have experienced and the coping strategies they have employed to overcome the struggles. By using the validated aide memoir, the researchers were able to gather data from the five (5) homeless elderlies and asked them questions. The researchers used purposive and typical case sampling in choosing their co-researchers. Using the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the statements gathered from the co-researchers were analyzed. During the analysis, the master themes and superordinate themes were revealed.

The master themes are consist of Changes in their Lives, Challenges and Struggles of living on the street and Coping Strategies. From the master theme Changes in their Lives, the participants stated that the changes that took place in their lives and how these changes affected their decisions and view in life. The theme Challenges and Struggles stated that the challenges and struggles that were experienced by the participants while living on the streets were shared by them. The co-researchers compared their lives from before to their lives right now. In the theme Coping Strategies the participants indicated ways to overcome the struggles they faced when living on the streets. The researchers came up with eight (8) superordinate themes, the Relationships, Way of living, Safety and Security, Financial, Emptiness, Recreation, Optimism, and Faith in God. The Relationship theme indicated the relationship between the participants with their families who are far away from them. The Way of living theme mentioned the experiences of the participants on how difficult it is to live in the streets. From the Safety and Security theme, the participants are worried about their personal safety because living on the streets is dangerous especially to elderlies like them. Financial theme stated how the participants became conscious in making both ends meet or budgeting their money for foods and other expenses. The Emptiness theme indicated that the participants encountered mood disorders wherein they experienced sadness and the feeling of emptiness in their lives. From the Recreation theme, it was indicated that watching television and gambling are some of the activities they usually do to relax or have fun. The Optimism theme indicated that the participants showed positivity despite the challenges and struggles they experienced and the Faith in God theme showed that the participants remain faithful to God no matter the situation they are in.

The researchers validated these themes by the means of prolonged engagement in research, member checking, peer debriefing, external auditor, and self-reflection. The researchers recommended that the homeless elderlies should learn to adapt to the difficulties that they have encountered while living on the streets, to create or sustain a good connection with different people they meet on the street and try to develop ways and strategic actions for coping with the challenges and struggles they experienced. For the future researches, the researchers recommended that the future researchers should be further be informed and recommend more profound solutions on how to deal with the concerns of homeless elderlies, future researchers are also recommended to remove biases on homeless elderlies’ way of living through the recorded and transcribed interviews and to be more aware of the challenges faced by being homeless elderlies and be sensible about it. The researchers also recommended for the government to be cognizant of the conditions of homeless elderlies and to extend assistance to them and to provide programs that will benefit the homeless elderlies and assist them with respect to their rights. The researchers of this study would also like to recommend to the people who read this study to be informed of the seriousness of the problems facing homeless elderlies and understand their struggles, to be more thoughtful of the homeless elderlies’ feelings and give them proper treatment and to learn how to accept and support homeless elderlies wholeheartedly due to their predicament.

One of the limitations of the study was the few number of respondents during the gathering of data. The number of respondents should be increased to acquire a much better result from the gathered data and to gain more information about the objectives of the study, since there are only five respondents that were interviewed, the information was limited. The locale of the study should have a wider scope to better analyse the lived experiences of homeless elderlies. With the increased number of respondents and a wider scope of place to gather data, more information could be obtained and comparison of the lives of the homeless from one location to another can be made to answer the question, “Does the location of the homeless people differ from other homeless people who live in a different location?” and “Does location affect the way homeless people live in the streets?”

For further research, it is suggested to increase the number of samples to acquire a better result and more information. It is also suggested to use a more advanced and well-developed data analysis which eliminates all kinds of biases and interpret the gathered data accurately, locale of the study should be changed to a much wider range to gather more information about the study, and respondents should not only be limited to elderly homeless people, add more criteria for the respondents to a wider view of lived experiences of homeless people.

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In conclusion, the researchers came up with three (3) master themes, the (1) Changes in their lives which formed 2 superordinate themes: Relationship theme which indicated the participants’ relationship with their families who are far away from them and do not have any contact with them and the Way of living theme which stated the experiences of the participants and how difficult it is to live in the streets. In this theme, the participants cannot help but to compare their lives from before and now. The (2) Challenges and struggles of living on the street theme indicated the formed 3 superordinate themes: Safety and security showed that the participants were worried of their safety especially to elderlies like them, the theme Financial stated how the co-researchers balance and manage their expenses to fit into their daily budget, and the Emptiness theme indicated the experiences of the co-researchers about their mood disorders wherein they undergo depression and feeling of emptiness. In the theme (3) Coping strategies, 3 superordinate themes were formed: Recreation theme stated that watching television and gambling are some of the activities they usually do to relax or have fun, the Optimism theme indicated that the participants were showing positivity and confidence despite the challenges and struggles they are facing, and the Faith in God theme showed that the participants have strong belief to God and remained faithful no matter how hard the situation they are in.


  1. Yap, D. J. (2016). 12M Filipinos are living in the extreme poverty. Retrieved from
  2. Stregiopoulus, Dettling, M. & Anghelescu, I. (2015). Housing for Homeless Adults With Mental Illness. Retrieved from
  3. Anonymous (2012). Homelessness in the Philippines. Retrieved from
  4. Connell & James. (2009). Purposeful Sampling in Qualitative Research Synthesis. From
  5. Lamudi (2016). How Safe Are Cities in the Philippines? Retrieved from
  6. Blackwell (2014). Their faith keeps them clean: homeless people who go to church better resist addition. Retrieved Feb. 10,2017
  7. Gill, P., Stewart, K., Treasure, E., & Chadwick, B. (2008). Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. Retrieved from
  8. Andrew, et al. (2011). Purposeful Sampling in Qualitative Research Synthesis. Retrieved from
  9. Smith, J. A. & Osborn, M. (2007). Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Retrieved from  
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How to Overcome Struggles in Life: Coping Strategies of the Homeless. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
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How to Overcome Struggles in Life: Coping Strategies of the Homeless. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 May 2024].
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