Using participant observation as a homeless shelter volunteer and through face-to-face long interviews with four homeless elders (50+) and six service providers throughout the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan area, data revealed unique coping strategies and patterns of service use of older homeless people. A state of hopelessness characterized many older homeless people who adapted and functioned in their culture of poverty. Sources of hopelessness were identified. Unique adaptations were noted for certain individuals who either learned to use the services opportunities provided or learned to exploit/abuse the service network. This group of people have found a social niche in which they can function and meet basic survival needs. © 1995 Human Sciences Press, Inc.