ABSTRACT This study explored the personal characteristics and the health and health-related concerns reported by members of the local homeless population in order to design population-specific health programming. The study also examined whether there were significant differences between homeless who are shelter residents and those who are not. An exploratory descriptive design was used to analyze retrospective data collected by a local County Health Department in interviews of 132 homeless adults. The demographic characteristics found reflect many common patterns: marked over-representation of males, mean age in the mid-thirties, education levels comparable to similar socio-economic groups, high unemployment rates, and low health insurance rates. One third of the sample reported self-assessed health statuses of fair or poor. The most frequently identified physical health issue was joint problems, followed by cardiovascular disease. Depression was mentioned most frequently as a self-identified mental health problem. Loneliness was the number one fear identified. Chi Square analysis showed that homeless who did not stay in shelters were significantly longer term residents (p < 0.0001) of the community and reported fear of loneliness significantly more frequently (p < 0.01). This study identifies health concerns that local homeless people themselves find important and provides direction for development of sound population-specific health programming.