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Abstract An increase in the number of individuals who are homeless since the 1980s has made homelessness a major social, economic, and political problem in the United States. The number of homeless in this country is estimated as high as 3 million, with women and children constituting the fastest growing subgroup of this population. A study of eight homeless women using a shelter in a southeastern city was conducted to explore the experience of homelessness from the women's perspectives. A modified ethnographic approach using a semistructured interview provided qualitative data. The constant comparative method of analysis identified themes of heightened awareness, guarding, identification of needs, and strategies for resolution. This study provides a new understanding of how some women experience homelessness. as well as the responses they take to solve this problem.