The failing economy had a big impact on individuals during the great depression. Some people were lucky enough to still be in their homes. During the Great Depression, families used to live together under the same roof. Sometimes two and three families would live together in one persons house... if they were fortunate enough. However, others weren’t fortunate enough to have a real home to live in.

Homeless, tired, hungry, and poor men, women, and children lived in makeshift towns called “shantytowns”. Inside shantytowns and hoovervilles, the shelters people made themselves were referred to as "squatters shacks". Squatters shacks were made of "bits of lumber, tin, cardboard, tar paper, glass, compostion roofing, canvas...packing boxes...stone blocks and old bricks...". Shantytowns were called “hoovervilles” because they were cleverly named after president Herbert hoover.

People blamed a great deal of their live's struggle on President Hoover. "Hoover Blankets", for example, were newspapers or scraps of cloth used as a blanket. Many makeshift household items were named after the President, with his name in front of every word.

Squatters shacks existed before and after the great depression, in fact, some still exist today. But, the squatter shacks in shantytowns and hoovervilles saw a peak during the Great Depression.

Hoovervilles started spreading like wildfire, popping up near just about every major city in the United States. The homes people made for themselves were called “squatters’ shacks” because the unfortunate people living in these towns were called “squatters”.

Squatters were often confused with the more popular term of a "Hobo", however, these two lifestyles were different from each other.