There is the hero that drifts from place to place helping people as he walks the earth. Then there are these heroes: ones that stay in the same place, but are so down on their luck that they live in squalor or, worse, have no place to live at all. Perhaps their dedication to doing heroic deeds provides them with little time for making money or starting a home or family. Or perhaps they've had a string of bad luck, sometimes due to a decidedly non-heroic addiction. In any case, even though they may save lives, normal people will still dislike them.
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Anime & Manga
- On Ranma ½, Ryōga may as well be one of these. Yes, he has a real house, but he's almost never there. In fact, the entire family is equally prone to being lost, so the house really only exists as a wayside stop. Most days he simply camps out, or sleeps in Akane's bed as her pet pig.
- The title character of Rurouni Kenshin has been one for ten years before the official start of the story. Then Kaoru let him move into her dojo.
- Sakuya from Dancougar Nova was homeless and unemployed before being recruited to pilot the titular Super Robot, and stays that way for a few episodes. Pointing out that he is, or was homeless is also something of a catchphrase for him. Gets a little ridiculous after a while.
- Ren and Rai from Diabolo qualify.
- The new Doctor Fate from Steve Gerber's Countdown to Mystery was a successful psychiatrist until one of his patients went on a killing spree. He eventually ended up homeless and alcoholic - then the Helmet of Fate landed in his life. By the end of the mini, he'd at least found a job and somewhere to live.
- Access from DC vs. Marvel (or vice-versa) not only is homeless, at least in his own future, he doesn't even have a home universe.
- The indie comic Street Angel played this up with one issue of the book (which is normally about defeating government-issue ninjas or wacky threats like that) dedicated to the main character scrounging for food.
- In our world, The Maxx literally lives in a cardboard box.
- The titular character in Usagi Yojimbo, naturally, considering the fact that he's a Ronin
- D-Man of the Marvel Universe (once sidekick to Captain America) was homeless due to a mental illness. Last time he was seen, he was getting treatment.
- Watchmen's Rorschach lives in squalor and has poor personal hygiene.
- Ragman from the DCU is also a hero who seems to have no home.
- Marvel's Sub-Mariner spent the gap between The Golden Age of Comic Books and The Silver Age of Comic Books living as an amnesiac hobo. Johnny Storm found him and helped him remember who he was.
- Tony Stark once hit rock-bottom, lost everything, and wound up a homeless alcoholic. But he also gave up being Iron Man for the time.
- There was also a time in the 1960s where Captain America lived in a series of seedy hotels, before taking to the open road on his motorcycle. It made for an interesting metaphor about the state of country at the time, but it was more than a little annoying to read him bemoaning his lack of home and family, when all he had to do was join the Avengers again and move into their mansion.
- The Crow wears found clothing (boots from a dumpster, etc.) and lives in an abandoned building. The fact that the apartment was his former home only adds dramtatic signifance to its current state of squalor.
- The DCU's Uncle Sam was homeless for at least a little while.
- Squadron Supreme vol. 3 also has a homeless incarnation of liberty (or something along those lines).
- Then of course there's Top 10, where everyone in the city has powers and a Code Name - and like any other city, there are homeless people.
- The Punisher has to move pretty frequently among the safehouses he's established around the area. They are often abandoned buildings, storage units, or even little used access areas of the New York Subway.
- Spawn couldn't exactly get a job and rent an apartment, what with being dead and all that. Early on he befriended some homeless man and spent his time living with and defending them.
- Apollo and Midnighter spent many years after their escape from Henry Bendix living in abandoned warehouses and being damn grateful that they didn't have to eat or sleep much. They were still fighting crime, though, and it caught the attention of the new and improved Stormwatch, who helped them out. Then along comes Jenny Sparks with a proposition...
- Frank and Ernest often appear as bums in their strip.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The titular Hancock lives like a stereotypical media bum, sleeping on benches and using whatever money he does find to buy booze. His reputation is not helped by the aversion of Hero Insurance. Even children call him an asshole.
- The Fisher King (the Terry Gilliam film) fits this well.
- Nada from John Carpenter's They Live! is a homeless drifter and migrant construction worker who first notices signs of something amiss on a visit to a soup kitchen.
- The Name of the Wind: Kvothe spends much of the book homeless in Tarbean.
- Albanac, in Alan Garner's The Moon of Gomrath. In modern (1960's) Britain, when the vast majority of the human race have forgotten they share the world with Elves, Dwarfs, and the peoples and things of Magic, he is one of the few humans who remember the old ways and remain in full communion with the Old Paths. Taken to be a tramp or a dreamer or a gipsy, he provides Colin and Susan with a guide to the ways of the magical world. Seemingly killed in a battle with the things of evil, he is translated fully into the other world leaving no body behind. There is a strong hint that just as Susan will grow to be a white witch and a Priestess of the Old Magic, Colin will follow in his footsteps and become the next Albanac, the human hero in the magic place.
- Played with in Tom Clancy's Without Remorse. A woman reports being attacked by a mugger but saved by the intervention of a "homeless man", who rather brutally disposes of the mugger in the process. Eventually the police realise this is connected to all the dead drug pushers they've been finding lately; their suspect isn't really homeless, but he's disguising himself as a wino to blend in and become Beneath Suspicion.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward becomes homeless when he has to flee from his own castle to avoid being taken to an asylum for insane nobles. After some adventures his "make camp in the wilderness" homelessness is upgraded to the status of an esteemed guest, as he's still a nobleman and thus has connections. As castle Hurog is not just his home, it is also a place of magical power, Ward suffers from quite severe homesickness; he mentions that there are empty spaces in his souls where Hurog's magic is supposed to be. (The fact that Oreg's magic can temporarily fill those empty spaces contributes to the Ho Yay between the two.)
- Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files lives in a crappy little trailer.
- Parodied on That Mitchell and Webb Look, with "The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar." Although he claims to be fighting his unknown nemesis, "some bastard who is presumably responsible," in fact he and his sidekick are deluded hobos who randomly attack people and rob them.
- Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural travel across the country, fighting monsters and staying in cheap motels. The closest thing they have to a home is Bobby's house. This changes in season 8, but only because they're Men of Letters legacies and no one else can claim the bunker.
- My Name Is Earl.:
- Technically, Earl Hickey, since he lives in a motel after his wife divorced him and took their trailer home. (This is lampshaded when he applies for a credit card.) Briefly, Earl gets an apartment, but loses the apartment after going to prison for a crime his ex-wife committed and winds up back at the motel after he gets out.
- Also, Earl and Randy had been briefly homeless before Earl's Accidental Marriage to Joy, because their father got fed up with them and kicked them out of the house.
- Joy was homeless for a while just before she tricked Earl into marrying her. She had been kicked out of the house by her parents for becoming pregnant out of wedlock when her pregnancy began to show.
- Oracle Of Tao. Subverted. The main character, Ambrosia, is a Crazy Homeless Person who cleans up a bit, losing the homeless status when she gets money from killing monsters and is given a tent. She no longer is homeless by the end, but arguably is still very much crazy.
- Kaim, the protagonist from Lost Odyssey, is an amnesiac immortal mercenary whose memories return in the form of dreams as the player progresses in the game. He's had homes in the past, but being immortal, he has outlived most everyone he ever knew. He moves from place to place regularly, to avoid revealing he is immortal, or forging close bonds that will inevitably be broken.
- World of Warcraft, the players have no home to speak of, and since your actions are often less than heroic, the forums dubbed the PCs Murder Hobos
- A variant occurred in Spider-Man: The Animated Series: one of Captain America's old comrades spent the World War II living rough so he could secretly watch over the facility where Cap and the Red Skull were imprisoned.
- By virtue of being on the run, the G.I. Joes are forced to become this trope in G.I. Joe: Renegades.
- The Gaang from Avatar: The Last Airbender fit this trope as they fly from place to place on Appa.
- Wander and Sylvia in Wander over Yonder are always traveling to different planets. It's justified as Wander is a space nomad.