Applied research that is conducted in an atmosphere of urgency carries an implied risk. In the near future, findings from a number of studies of the service needs of the homeless mentally ill will become available to planners and service providers. Users of data from these studies are cautioned to view the results with care. Specifically, they should be mindful of biases in studies and aware of the complexity of the homeless mentally ill population. They should also take care not to make a metaphor of mental illness among the homeless mentally ill. Finally, they should remember that each community that plans services for its homeless mentally ill population must take cognizance of its own unique needs and resources.