From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
1 having no luck or money a down-and-out actor
2 having no home and living on the street
Examples from the Corpus
down-and-out • But he will still be organising 13,000 volunteers into bringing some kind of Christmas to 125,000 needy, lonely or down-and-out people.
Here is an American speaker who also is unfamiliar with the noun form used to mean people:
Hmmm...that's bizarre. I've never heard "down and out" used as a noun like that. Perhaps it means "around the down and out [people]"? and is an implied adjective? What is the song or the rest of the lyrics?
Some of them have money but not enough to pay for rent in a city that just doesn't have available housing for them. Some of them are out-and-out alcoholics and psychotics, or down-and-out people who in the old days used to be in the Bowery or in places here on Beacon Hill that we had where they could find some kind of community. And now we've gentrified these places.
[Beyond Homelessness: Frames of Reference von Benedict Giamo, Jeffrey Grunberg]
He said B.C.’s budget for shelters is up about 20 per cent this winter as the annual winter migration of down-and-out people to the province’s mildest climate has swelled. Some of the extra arrivals are coming from Alberta, where the economy has suffered with the downturn in oil and gas prices.
Down-and-Out People Need Not Appear Downtown in Lakeland
Posted May 24, 2006 at 12:01 AM Updated May 24, 2006 at 5:50 AM
“The city that prides itself on compassion toward the less fortunate . .
“I really like working with the homeless, I like inner-city ministry, I like working with down and out people.”
So, what’s his end goal?
“I don’t know. Wherever God leads me.”
Idioms and Phrases with down and out
down and out
Lacking fund or prospects; destitute, penniless. For example, After losing his job, car, and home, he was completely down and out . This term probably originated in boxing, where it alludes to the fighter who is knocked down and stays down for a given time, thereby losing the bout. [c. 1900] Also see down for the count.