This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the rejection of the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor. It outlines a context of the implementation of the homelessness legislation as it was in 1993-4. The implementation of community care and the Children Act 1989 seemed to require homelessness officers to work closely with social services departments (SSDs) in planning, assessing and providing housing to those categories of persons. The book also outlines the housing obligations and powers created by the new legislation upon local authority homeless persons units (HPUs), the effect that the new legislation had on SSDs, and the effect each has had on HPUs. It focuses on the arguments used by the Conservative government to undermine the homelessness legislation itself.