Homelessness is the most extreme example of poverty in industrialized countries. Economic research on homelessness is almost non-existent because of the difficulties in surveying highly mobile populations. The paper presents and discusses an extensive and representative survey among homeless people in Milan and it aims at opening a new line of research in the economic literature. We found an overwhelming majority of males in the central part of their life. Surprisingly, 30 percent of the respondents is currently working and about 33 percent has completed compulsory education. The main reasons for homelessness are unemployment, followed by a family relationship breakdown.