This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book reviews several of the themes in the literature on poverty and shelter in the Third World. It traces the arguments around housing access both historically and ideologically through the implementation of policies. The book offers the contextual background to the study with a brief discussion of history and social change in Amritsar. It introduces a number of social categories which have significance in the socio-economic make-up of poor communities in Amritsar. The book examines the paths that are available to poor households in obtaining housing through a schematic diagram. The inter-linkages and gaps between the self-help and public sector housing supply systems has shown a highly diversified and complex picture of shelter arrangements being accessed by the poor.