Activity 3:
Life in Hooverville

In Bud, Not Buddy, Bud and Bugs headed out of Flint in search of a town they thought was called Hooperville. Instead, they found a shantytown or cardboard jungle called a Hooverville. What's a Hooverville and why were they found throughout the United States in the Great Depression?


Visualize what life was like in a Hooverville in the 1930s. Formulate a plan for helping people in your own community.

Process and Resources

  1. Reread Chapter 8 of Bud, Not Buddy and think about the setting of the Hooverville. Summarize the most important characteristics of the setting that help you visualize what it might have looked like. Now, explore some photos online. Do the photos match the author's description of life in the Hooverville? Why or why not? Use computer graphics software to combine elements of the photographs to create your own picture.
  2. Money was scarce during the Depression. Go to the Then and Now page. Print out the chart. Compare the prices of things then and now.
  3. Let's learn more about life in a Hooverville during the Depression. What caused these places to spring up around the country? There were many reasons that people were forced out of their homes and into Hoovervilles. What caused the end of Hoovervilles? Use the websites below to find the causes. Discuss your findings with a small group.
  4. Homelessness didn't end with the Great Depression. It's still a problem today. Go to the page, Who Are Homeless? Read about a person in one following homeless categories: mentally ill, substance abuse, domestic abuse, elderly, juveniles, veterans, rural, or family. What could your town do to help a person in this situation? Use the links below for ideas. Discuss your findings with a small group.

Project Guidelines

Use the following guidelines for creating your setting image:

  • Summarize the most important features of the Hooverville.
  • Match the summary information to the photos provided.
  • Create your own image using the photos and imaging software or a digital camera.
  • Consider the brightness, contrast, and clarity of the picture.

Use the following guidelines for creating your discussion on causes of Hooverville's and today's homelessness:

  • Create charts and lists to help show your ideas such as a reasons list, cause/effect chart, timeline, or idea list.
  • Listen carefully and be ready to add to ideas or provide an example.


 Learn about homelessness in your own community. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or help someone in need.

Teacher Resources
Student Resources

Developed by Annette Lamb, 3/00.