Contrary to at least one popular stereotype, only about half of all homeless people receive any form of social welfare benefit; the other half survive on their own resources, without assistance from the welfare safety net. Alienation from, suspicion about, and often outright hostility to-ward society and its institutions are common outlooks among homeless people and are significant barriers that all persons face in ministering to the needs of the homeless population. The sheer demography of the homeless population, coupled with the eligibility criteria that govern program participation, pose strict limits on how far the existing social welfare system can be pressed in solving the problems of the homeless. The most of the homeless people seen in the HCH program were already receiving all the entitlements due them when they first made contact with HCH. Among the HCH clients receiving any benefits, relatively large fractions participated in more than one entitlement program.