Homelessness may be chosen to avoid the cost of prison. Our first reaction when people panhandle and ask for money is that they are using it for drugs and alcohol. Actually, many are unaware that prisoners are charged a daily fee for their trip through the system and many cannot afford to pay it back when they get out and find low-paying jobs if they can find jobs at all. Therefore, they choose to be homeless.
For those who are serving long sentences, this daily fee may run in the tens of thousands. The wasteful part of this is that the fee charged does not even begin to cover the costs of maintaining the prison system, which falls on the taxpayers. When prisoners get out, their records are ruined and the Internet background check makes it difficult for them to find jobs and pay their actual debt to society.
If they do find a job, they will be subject to garnishment of wages for their daily prison fee, which is upwards of $5 a day in some areas of the country. At minimum wage, it makes sense to stay homeless if you are coming out of prison or commit a petty crime and return again.