During the winter of 1981-82 the City of Philadelphia operated an adult emergency shelter for two months. After reviewing the available records, the authors compiled a psychiatric profile of the 193 residents admitted to the shelter. They grouped the residents into three classes: habitual street people, the episodic homeless, and those who did not usually live on the street but were undergoing an acute crisis. Although a large number of the street people who suffered from diagnosable mental illness improved with adequate treatment, the authors found it was ext remely difficult to relocate many of the shelter residents. They discuss other problems such as the need for psychiatric expertise in treating the homeless and the lack of a coordinated effort among several city government departments.