15
Feb
08

116. HUD’s and the VA’s Missing Statistic

2197010808_f198245f17.jpg          Dear Readers and Wanderingvets:

This morning as I was scrolling through the news services, I had a little extra time and noticed some of the local headlines… The one that always gets our attention unfortunately always involves murder, mayhem or death seemingly. This morning, I looked and saw in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Man found dead at construction site . In my heart I knew it was a homeless man.

It made me think of all the reports I have read. I have scanned and read reports from, HUD, the VA, GAO, a myriad of nonprofits to include the NAEH, NCHV, among others, until I have facts and figures spilling out my ears. The one piece of data that is not being presented by ANY agency is how many of the homeless actually die in a year. Secretary Alphonso Jackson in the 2007 Annual Homeless Assessment Report pointed out erroneously that there was no growth in homelessness including the fact that there was over a 6% population growth between 2006 and 2007.

The VA for some unknown reason has barely moved their homeless figures in over four years.If the total figure of homelessness has increased or decreased did “Death Take a Holiday”? The fact is that for some reason homeless deaths have not been reported or noted by these agencies. I am sure, the VA has some of these statistics under lock and key somewhere is disturbing.

In the pipeline of homelessness, with the newly homeless entering and taking priority, and the longer term homeless becoming unsheltered, hardly counted and non-serviced, it is scary to think that these agencies consider death as a means to aid in maintaining their statistics.

Wanderingvet

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1 Response to “116. HUD’s and the VA’s Missing Statistic”


  1. February 15, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    I checked around with medical examiners in Cobb and Fulton Counties after 4 died in Atlanta in one night found that deaths that occur under medical care, such as when a homeless person is taken to a hospital or emergency room are not reported or counted. There is also no way to count those that die in secluded corners, including dumpsters that are never found so the count is always grossly low.

    Various homeless shelters report much higher numbers. In fact, I talked to the Cobb Medical Examiner’s office today and they do not keep any count for statistics on homeless deaths because they claim there is no way to determine if someone that dies is homeless. They have no count breakdown for homeless deaths in 2006 or prior years, but the homeless around here can tell you exactly who died. Word gets around quickly.

    A study done on homeless deaths in Atlanta showed that in 1991, the medical examiner reported 40 deaths and the shelters could name 188 in the same year.

    As our Viet Nam veterans grow older and die off, you would expect a corresponding decrease in homeless veterans, not a flat line. The VA doesn’t have any incentive to get an accurate count.


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