The basic problem of homelessness is the human need for personal shelter, warmth and safety, which can be literally vital. Other basic difficulties include:
- personal security, quiet, and privacy, especially for sleeping
- safekeeping of bedding, clothing and possessions, which may have to be carried at all times
- hygiene and shaving facilities
- cleaning and drying clothes
- obtaining, preparing and storing food in small quantities
- keeping contacts, without a permanent location or mailing address
- hostility and legal powers against urban vagrancy.
Homeless people face many problems beyond the lack of a safe and suitable home. They are often faced with many social disadvantages also, reduced access to private and public services and reduced access to vital necessities:
- Reduced access to health care and dental services.
- Limited access to education.
- Increased risk of suffering from violence and abuse.
- General rejection or discrimination from other people.
- Loss of usual relationships with the mainstream
- Not being seen as suitable for employment.
- Reduced access to banking services
- Reduced access to communications technology