The NYT published an article which is no longer available called about those new homeless people, even families, living in their car and keeping it secret. the article presented their shame, their fear for their safety and their struggle to find a shower, try to look ‘normal’ and keep their dignity. Although the article is no longer online, you can still use the excellent audio files and invite the students to read her quite stiking blog.
You can also read those other articles which deal with the same distressing problem:
you can start your unit with this photo, and let the clichés come : homless are all drug addicts and so on…
Audio : invisible lives : tactics of discretion
Listen to this interview of a British homeless girl (in several parts, no script, but clear and easy to understand)
and read what she writes in her blog, her fears, her feeling. It is not literature, but it is well written, full of true feelings, real dispair, and a different way to look at life. See how she describes the swans in the park at the end of the page (March 19th+20th), or the shooting star on the 20th. Also read the comments people wrote to her after the article in the NYT. And maybe your students (or yourself) would like to write something too…