9 Homeless People Who Won the Lottery and Made Millions

Winning Lottery. It may sound like a dream come true, maybe it is, but for many people winning lottery is not always the best solutions. We never really relate good luck charm with homeless people. However, they do like to test their luck by entering into some lottery games such as Powerball or even scratch tickets. Surprisingly, they sometimes win too!

You might have witnessed people winning millions of dollars through lotteries. However, after reading these stories, you’ll realize that even a small amount of money can entirely change someone’s life. It might as well surprise you that there are many stories of homeless people winning a substantial sum of money through winning lotteries. Check out these formerly homeless people who won big when Lady Luck smiled at them!

1: Glenn Williams


They say that you can’t win until you play. Well, that’s not always the case, and Glenn Williams shows how. Thanks to the generosity of Sofia Andrade from Massachusetts. Compared to the other people listed here, Sofia scratch ticket winning was a scanty sum of worth $200. However, it was a substantial windfall for people like Glenn.

With temperatures plummeting, Glenn stood at the side of a road hoping for some change when Sofia spotted him and took him for some hot food and coffee. Upon learning that he had nowhere to spend the night at, she used her prize money to buy him three nights at a hotel.

Giving away the lottery money would be enough for most of the use, but Sofia was way too generous. She started a GoFundMe on behalf of Glenn and raised over $15,000 within two days. People happily donated material goods and warm clothes for Glenn. He even got a haircut from a local barber. Glenn was overwhelmed with gratitude, and this example shows that good and helping people still exist.

2: Anonymous Winner


While a few people happily donate their prize money to homeless, however, some like to keep it for themselves. Emily Leach from California won $1,000,000 from a scratch ticket and got her significant medical debt paid off with it. She had gone through a ruptured spleen and a severe case of pancreatitis in the prior year. This lottery was a miracle to her.

Emily made it to headlines quite fast, and it seemed as if everything was going her way. Surprisingly, she won $26,000 on another scratch ticket. And guess what happened? She accidentally gave that ticket to a homeless man, instead of giving him money. Oops!

According to the homeless man, he gave her the money to buy the ticket from her, as he knew she had won previously and thought she would bring him luck. Emily was of the view that she mistakenly handed it over to him while she wanted to give him cash. The clerk, however, said that she gave the ticket intentionally.

Emily asked that homeless person to share the prize money with her, but the public backlash on her was immediate. They didn’t like millionaire asking for money from a homeless person. Poor luck!

3: Wilbur Herbert Jr.

For a long period of his life, Wilbur Herbert Jr. was homeless and lived on the streets. He had been declared as disabled, and so he couldn’t work even to afford his basic daily expenses. Fortunately, he reconnected with his brother and sister-in-law who were eager to help him get back on his feet.

She even encouraged him to take part in the amazing $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot. Wilbur only purchased a single line of numbers for $2 and left lottery terminal to pick what would become his lucky number. Although he didn’t win a grand prize, he did win $50,000, which was no small for a person like him.

Many years before he had also played Powerball but merely won $500. This time he didn’t expect to win and slept through the draw. Much to his surprise, he got to know next day that he had won. This shocked not only him but also his brother. According to her sister in law, this prize money will change his life forever, and it was the right booster needed to bring Wilbert back on his feet.

4: Steve Borik

If you’re sleeping rough, things seem like they can’t get much more frustrating. However, Steve Borik found out that they could by winning the lottery and not receiving a penny. Steve lives in Vancouver Canada where he played an $8 Keno game for the first time. Much to his shock, he won a prize of $25,000.

The catch is that because he didn’t have a valid identification, he was unable to claim the money. According to him, he lost his ID during the period of upheaval and never felt the need to replace it. He was left homeless ever since his marriage fell apart and suffered from medical debt as well as depression. He claimed that he lives day-to-day taking temporary jobs as suitable.

To replace his photo identification card, he needed a copy of his birth certificate and vice versa. Luckily, he was able to collect his money eight months later. Thanks to the support of Canadian Broadcasting Cooperation. He used his money to rent a condo and was able to secure a job with a construction company.

5: Dennis Mahurin

Upon winning the lottery, most of the people think of securing their housing if they didn’t have a place to stay before. However, for Dennis Mahurin, such an upgrade wasn’t needed, as he spent his two decades in a tent located in a homeless encampment in the Bloomington Illinois

One day he treated himself with a scratch ticket and found out that he had won $50,000. Although he was shocked yet delighted, Dennis decided to spend it on helping others. An employee at the gas station, from where Dennis bought the ticket, claimed that he’s a regular customer with a very kind in nature and a great sense of humor.

He decided to divvy up his winnings amongst the people who lived in his homeless community rather than keep it all for himself. Not that he’s completely selfless; he had planned to get himself a bigger tent to live in.

6: Crystal Nelson

Despite living in a vehicle, Crystal Nelson considered herself to be somewhat lucky. She had won $1,000 in a lottery but due to some unfortunate circumstances, found herself living in a truck with her friend. Crystal worked as a carrier for a local newspaper and one day she purchased a Powerball ticket. Hoping for the best, she ended up winning $50,000 and had big plans to fulfill like most of us would have. Such as; getting a new apartment, buying a new vehicle, and maybe even go on vacations to meet her brother in Arizona. Crystal didn’t intend to change her lifestyle and still planned to take things one day at a time. However, she did plan to own a few things to make her life easier.

Calling a parking lot your home becomes quite depressing. Therefore, Crystal was extremely excited to own a place. Moreover, once she gets settled, Crystal wants to spend some of the money to help her brother pay off his house so he can own something as well.

7. John Michael Le Blancq

This homeless man went from happy to sad in rapid succession. Unfortunately, he discovered a winning scratch ticket but later got prosecuted for cashing it in.

John considered it a lucky day when he found a scratch card of worth $260. However, it turned out to belong to some woman who had lost it earlier. Not just that, she had also taken a picture of it on her phone-strong evidence! When she reported it missing in the police station, John was prosecuted for cashing the prize. He claimed the classical legal defense of Finders Keepers, which didn’t work with the magistrate. Of course!

He was ordered to pay back $260 in compensation which he had spent on a bus ticket. Moreover, he was fined an additional $130 on top of that for the charge of stealing by finding. Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Local residents, Kylie and Cameron, were outraged at the verdict and offered to pay his fine. Once word about the decision got out, the couple was able to raise over $1,300 for John.

I’m sure these ten stories made us firmly believe in luck all over again. You must never give up on your luck and keep giving yourself a try! No wonder you turn out to be the lucky one. Maybe or maybe not!

8: Michael Engfors

Following a divorce and collapsed business, Michael Engfors lived homeless for six years on the streets of Aspen Colorado. Whenever possible, he stayed at a local homeless shelter. One day he bought a scratch ticket worth $10 at a gas station and to his absolute shock, he won $500,000.

The probability of winning that ticket was 840,000 to 1, and luckily he managed to come on top. Rather than moving to a luxurious hotel, he spent the weekend sleeping on the floor before the shelter director could drive him to the lottery office to claim his victory. An employee of the homeless shelter stated that this win couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

You know what he did with his money? He planned to reconnect with his daughter because he could afford her by this substantial win. Moreover, he also looked forward to buying a cool pair of skis. Michael doesn’t usually spend on lottery tickets, but that day he decided to do so. What luck!

9: Derek Maboussou

Many of us reluctantly coughed up a few dollars to put into our office’s lottery pool knowing that we probably wouldn’t win, but we also don’t want to risk the odds. Derek with his eight co-workers from Omaha Nebraska won a $365 million jackpot that they divided it among themselves.

Derek himself wasn’t a homeless person, but every year he donates tens of thousands of dollars of his winnings to the local homeless community. Each Christmas season he makes a huge donation of $45 Walmart Gift Cards to the Siena Francis House homeless center. The center’s director, Mike Sackler, claimed that as Derek wanted to help homeless people directly during that time of giving, so they decided on the gift card idea. He further added that holidays are an especially tough time for people at the center. Therefore, Derek’s contributions help lift their spirits.

It has now become a tradition for Dereck to donate every year. Simply put, for almost ten years, these homeless people have been indirectly winning the lottery without buying any tickets. The perks are real though!

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