Monday, August 02, 2010

Census Update 2010

Ben Holbert of the US Census gives an award to Luke Drotar VISTA for NEOCH for his work in making sure that homeless people were counted in 2010. Then some guy in a Hawaiian shirt crashed the photo shoot.

Done for Another 10 Years
NEOCH and especially Luke Drotar did a ton of work on making sure that the US Census did not miss homeless people during the count. We are pretty sure that every shelter in Cleveland was counted, but most of those who were outside or those who only surface at a meal program were largely missed. We hope that the Census releases the shelter count as they had done in the 2000 Census. NEOCH staff have prepared a list of recommendations for the 2020 Census if we still have not got it together as a country and solved homelessness.

1. We need one staff person from the Census to be designated as liaison to NEOCH and the County Office of Homeless Services that will cover the whole county. This time there were three different offices that covered different service areas, and each had one supervisor.

2. We need more field staff counting, and fewer staff advertising the Census. Also, there were not enough administrators coordinating or directing the field staff that we could communicate with in the office. Those directing the field staff were also out in the field and we had a hard time getting in touch with Census staff.

3. We need to have Census clearly define to us the definition of shelter that they intend to count as part of the homeless count. Where do the mental health and treatment programs fit into the count?

4. We need the privacy of the outdoor sites communicated to workers early in the process and this should be a United States policy and not just a regional policy.

5. One month before the count, outreach workers and homeless individuals should be hired and sworn in as Census employees to guide them to the outdoor locations on the day they count those resistant to shelter.

6. We need some guidelines for how they eliminate duplication with regard to the meal count since as many as 50-60% of the population are counted in other locations.

7. All the numbers should be released to the City and County after the count to compare to our February HUD count and to use for planning.


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