A 1985 class action suit on behalf of homeless individuals living in the City of St. Louis mandates both short-term and long-term services to homeless persons. These court-ordered requirements bring together an interesting triparite system: (1) the adversarial and justice-oriented legal system, (b) the highly political city government, and (c) the traditionally voluntary system of human service providers. Service provision to the homeless, the utility of advocacy, privatization, and the ethics of public disclosure are examined from a sociological conflict and control perspective. The St. Louis experience provides guidance for communities wishing to engage the legal, political, and social service delivery systems on behalf of the complex needs of the homeless.

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