Here’s a socio-political Rorschach test for you. The Christian Science Monitor tells the story of a kid from a middle-class background in North Carolina who moved to Charleston and played homeless (if you’re from N.C., living in S.C. is probably as down-and-out as you can imagine) with $25 in his pocket and no prospects.
He wrote a book about it. It seems to be based on the premise that any poor person should be able to do this. Read it and see what you think.
And yeah, I know "Horatio Alger" is a stretch, since he was only trying to amass $2,500 in savings (and did twice that). But it was the best allusion I could think of.