Friday, January 16, 2009

Akron Paper Reports Bogus Homeless Numbers

Counting Jelly Beans While They are in Motion

The Akron Beacon Journal reported today that homelessness had dropped in Summit County. The article itself has contradictory information with COHHIO having different numbers. This all does not make any sense when compared to the US Census numbers. In 2006, a little over 12% of the total population in Summit County were living in poverty. In 2007, the Census shows over 14% of the population living in poverty with about 10,000 more poor people than in 2006. So, if poverty increased, how could homelessness decrease? How does the most extreme expression of poverty decrease when poverty increased? The figures from the National Alliance to End Homelessness are incorrect. The numbers cited in the ABJ article are based on a flawed system for counting homeless people, and should not be part of the discussion.

We have talked about this before, but once again this research is based on the annual count required by HUD every year. This is where a bunch of volunteers go out and try to count people where they are sleeping on one morning. This is similar to counting jellybeans while they are in motion. People move around all day. Homeless people go to work at 4 a.m., and others are returning from third shift around the same time. It is hard to tell one homeless person who is sleeping from the guy walking down the street with a large bag. Every city has a different method for attempting this impossible task including giving out rewards for the simple fact of being counted. There is variation from year to year on how the count is done, the area covered, and the diligence of the volunteers. It is rediculous to use these numbers for anything. It is a waste of time, and NEOCH never participates. There will be this big report put together. A bunch of researchers will put their name on these meaningless words and will get paid to produce future door stops.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All homeless people should have the constitutional right to housing, period.


January 11, 2009

TO: President-Elect Barack Obama

FROM: Ruben Botello, Founder


Dear Mr. Obama:

I have been in and out of homelessness since being honorably discharged as a USMC Vietnam veteran in 1969. I wound up homeless then, in and out of homelessness with my two sons in the Eighties, and homeless on my own again in the Nineties.

I started the American Homeless Society in 1987 while my sons and I were homeless in California. I have been in several hunger strikes, marches and demonstrations for homeless rights since then but have seen little progress.

My longest hunger strike was 58 days against President Reagan’s “trickle down” economic policies that created much more instead of less homelessness in our country. You now speak about fixing our nation’s economy from the “bottom up” and that should mean you are starting by ending involuntary homelessness at the bottom.

HUD Secretary Philip Mangano has been promoting 10-year plans to end homelessness in major cities across the country on behalf of the Bush Administration for the past few years. We would hope and pray you make a similar commitment to abolish homelessness but throughout our nation, not just in individual cities because there are far more homeless than these urban plans will ever reach.

Slavery was abolished in America over a century ago; why not abolish homelessness today, Mr. Obama? Homelessness is just as bad as slavery in several ways and much worse in others.

Men, women and children from all the races, colors, cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, religions and creeds in our diverse society find themselves homeless daily. They are forced to endure harassment, discrimination and persecution in our nation today much like the slaves President Lincoln’s armies fought to free in the Nineteenth Century.

America’s homeless are also forced to endure nature’s harshest conditions without warm homes or shelter for protection; without good food and nutrition; without essential hygiene, medicine and healthcare; and without the necessary education, training or experience required to qualify for the dwindling supply of jobs in today’s worsening economy. Many of America’s homeless today are even employed but underemployed and unable to afford existing rentals while thousands of others are altogether unemployable.

How can our great nation permit so many of these poor souls to continue to suffer and die needlessly on our streets? I joined the Marines to fight for my country in the Sixties so that all Americans could have a better life, not just the rich and well-to-do who are receiving all the bailouts today.

The list of barriers and obstacles facing today’s homeless goes on and on, Mr. Obama. Please, if you are serious about fixing our nation’s economy from the bottom-up, begin at the real bottom by making a firm commitment to end involuntary homelessness throughout our country without further ado.


Ruben Botello, Founder