A happy homeless man in a proud pose

Homeless people who won the lottery

It’s always nice to see good things happening to good people. Like when someone in dire need of cash for a life-saving operation, for instance, suddenly wins an online lottery; or when an elderly man who has never won anything in his life before, strikes it lucky with a scratchcard. Feel-good stories like these are touching, however some of the most heartwarming stories must be those involving homeless people who won the lottery.

Here are the extraordinary tales of five penniless people who struck it lucky in the lottery and started living a better life.


Michael Engfors wins £374,000 after buying £7.50 lottery scratchcard

Michael Engfors, 61, had been on the streets for six years when he decided to buy a scratchcard from a petrol station. After losing his business and house following a divorce, one would think that luck was not on his side. But after spending $10 (£7.50) on a lottery ticket in Aspen, Colorado, he beat the odds of 840,000 to one, and won the $500,000 jackpot, which is equivalent to approximately £374,000.

Michael initially kept the win to himself and spent one final weekend sleeping on the floor of a nearby church. Shortly thereafter he revealed that he would like to use the money to buy some skis and to try and reconnect with his daughter, who he hadn’t seen for nearly two decades.


Laszlo Andraschek buys winning lottery ticket with last pennies

Laszlo Andraschek, a 55-year old man from Hungary, ended up on the streets after debt and unemployment drove him out of his home. In an act of hopeless optimism, when travelling to Budapest for an alcoholics workshop in 2013, he bought a lottery ticket with the last coins in his pocket. Now, with 630 million Hungarian forint (approximately £1.7 million) in his bank account, the formerly homeless man is one of Hungary's biggest lottery winners.

At first, Laszlo kept his winnings quiet, but his stroke of luck quickly reached the headlines after he made a major donation to a homeless shelter. When asked about his future plans, Laszlo told the media that despite being a recovering alcoholic, he is determined to be careful with the money, and would like to use it to help addicts and abused women. Grabbing the opportunity to start with a clean slate, he also vowed to pay off his debts and treat himself with a holiday in Italy.

Man from Southend-on-Sea waits six months to check £250,000 lottery ticket

In 2000 a man from Southend-on-Sea won £250,000 in the National Lottery. At the time, he was down to his last pennies, living in his car. He bought the ticket, but did not really think much of it, because he waited six months before he checked it. When he finally did, he realised that he had won the lottery – a massive quarter of a million pounds that would change his life forever. He made a fresh start paying off his debts and buying a house and a better car.

Homeless man living in tent wins the lottery, buys bigger tent

When it comes to homeless lottery winners, there are some unusual stories. Dennis Mahurin, who has lived in a tent in Illinois since 1978, won $50,000 (around £37,000) with a lottery scratchcard. However, instead of using his winnings to put a roof over his head, Dennis had no intention to move. He simply upgraded to a better tent.

Aside from using his small fortune to better gear himself for the woods, he planned on getting some much-needed dental work done, visit his son and save the rest. Then, of course, he couldn’t forget about all the homeless people around him. He said that he was going to “give them each $100 (£75).” He also joked that he would leave some money aside for his “new friends,” who he was sure would appear once news spread of his lottery win.


Homeless lottery winner realises he already has 200,000 francs in bank

In 1989, a homeless man in France won 70,000 francs. When claiming his winnings, he was told that he needed a bank account to put the money in. He remembered he had an old account and told the lottery officials about it. When they found his bank account on the system they discovered that he already had more than 200,000 francs in it, which was more than double the amount of his lottery prize. Apparently, he had forgotten about it.