It is interesting for several reasons to describe and analyze the formal organizations and social movements in which street people participate. First, not only does homeless and poor people's interest in, curiosity about, and involvement with a variety of institutions in North City contradict the public stereotypes of the homeless and the very poor, but, as I discuss in the "Discussion" section of this chapter, it also contradicts some ethnographic research that has viewed primary groups of poor and working-class people as aloof from formal organizations and hostile toward the intrusions of "alien forces," such as middle-class-dominated settlement houses (Whyte, 1966:98-108). Second, the description of several elements of alternative institutions in North City will help us to understand the overall social organization of the streets presented in Chapter 7. Some subgroups among North City's street people had a relatively shallow attachment to organizations and movements, whereas other subgroups were actually formed around their participation in organizations and movements. The presence or absence of organizational ties, as well as belief systems (political, religious, and similar systems), among different parts of the homeless community either linked them with others or differentiated them from others and often translated into different amounts of material and social resources.