To make appropriate treatment and public policy recommendations to address the problems of homeless mentally ill persons, it is important to differentiate the homeless mentally ill population from the homeless population in general. Effective advocacy for homeless mentally ill persons should have realistic goals that address the specific needs of that population rather than attempt to change the basic problems of society. The effective advocacy that has secured services for developmentally disabled persons can serve as a model. Mental health professionals' limited response to the problems of homeless mentally ill persons has further stigmatized mentally ill persons in general; one of the most powerful actions mental health professionals could take to fight stigma would be to help provide treatment and residential alternatives for homeless mentally ill persons. The recommendations of both the first and the second American Psychiatric Association taskforces on the homeless mentally ill are discussed.