The increasing number of homeless persons, especially in the US, has led to a search for explanations along with some attempts at providing assistance. In considering the many faces of homelessness, it becomes clear that both the reasons offered for the loss of home and attitudes toward the homeless have long and complex histories. In order to address these issues I am examining descriptions of homelessness in earlier times, particularly explanations of why people are homeless and public responses to it. One step involves an analysis of articles in the New York Times reporting on homeless children and adults from 1868 to the early 1900s. Other sources are being reviewed as well. This information will be used to present a perspective on homelessness and a critique of the use of historical sources.