Homeless is a term that has been used to describe people living without permanent housing, often on the streets for many years and is the common term used by many governments, journalists, and people in everyday conversation. 

However, on the left, some people have come to find the term offensive. They say it is a dehumanizing term that attaches someone's housing situation to their personhood. Their belief is that the problem isn’t the people themselves, but lack of affordable housing, discrimination, or other external factors, and that by separating the person from the experience of being unhoused, they can reduce stigma/shame and move toward solutions. Due to this perspective, several alternative words have emerged: unhoused or unsheltered, houseless, people experiencing homelessness or those struggling with homelessness. Some suggest using whichever term the community themselves identifies with. Through using “person-first” language, these people would argue, we can give those struggling with homelessness dignity, and a voice in societal policies that might lift them out of poverty. 

Much of the right sees no issue with the term homeless, viewing it as a descriptor of a reality that many people face rather than something with offensive connotations. One reason the right does not agree with “person-first” language is that it may remove personal responsibility from the homeless. Those with this view may see the use of new terms as trivial; they don't feel a need to separate the person from the situation, seeing the two things as intertwined. Those on the right also tend to believe that the solutions to homelessness are strong families and faith communities rather than government. While the left generally finds it important to use inclusive language, people on the right may view it as a waste of time which distracts from the real problem of solving homelessness—which is dependent on some personal action and local community building.

There are a wide swath of solutions and disagreements on the right and left about how we might address the homelessness problem in many cities. The right tends to think we should hash out those ideas and their practicality rather than focusing on language which de-emphasizes personal responsibility. The left also wants to create solutions but would generally argue that we can both discuss solutions and treat these people with dignity.