I hope I'm not alone in thinking that lumping together homeless people as "the homeless" is itself morally problematic ?

Homeless people are not a homogeneous group; using a phrase like "the homeless" invites the idea that they are not people like the rest of us, and are therefore somehow fair game for any photographic pursuit - a bit like animals in a game park perhaps - as well as degrading any sense of empathy with their situation.

Photography of homeless and other people in difficult situations has a long and often honourable history, but the photographer who wants to do so does need to understand and question his or her motivations for doing so.

I commend the work of Don Springer in Philly - stark and empathic at the same time - as a good model for this sort of stuff.