01
Apr
08

137. Who’s Counting / Part 1

arlington.jpg(This is where the VA says a lot of Homeless Veterans found housing last year!)

I have thoroughly written numerous discourses on the state of homelessness in this nation when it comes to how the Department of Veterans Affairs has been handling it jointly with Housing and Urban Development.

I found an interesting quote from John Burroughs (1837-1921), an American essayist and naturalist from earlier last century, who said:

It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative.

When VA Secretary James Peake stated that Veteran Homelessness fell by 40,000 or 21% of the Homeless Veterans, without explanation as to how the VA accomplished this miracle, he must have been thinking of Burroughs.

The now departing HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, in his 2007 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, stated that Homelessness had not increased nor decreased in the United States in over ten years. On March 31st 2008, he stated in his resignation speech that during his tenure he had “reduced chronic homelessness.” If homelessness neither went up nor down, how did he reduce it?

These agencies used the News Media (Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, Associated Press, Reuters) and nonprofits such as the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, among others, to parrot this incorrect information. I strongly fault all of the above for not RESEARCHING before reporting, or following up.

Listening to a political pundit yesterday on CNN he stated,

“The Media hates doing its own homework.”

One agency, a nonprofit that calls itself “advocates”, does nothing more than send numerous emails asking for donations, holds seminars where the attendees have to pay to attend, and receives grants from both the VA and HUD. You might receive their emails frequently. Recently, they sent me the following:

 

Spotlight On…
VA Reports Decrease in Number of Homeless Veterans

vethat.jpgLast week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released their annual CHALENG report, estimating that 154,000 veterans were homeless in 2007. This represents a decrease of 21 percent from the 2006 estimate of 195,827. There are a few reasons cited in the report that contribute to the decrease:

· The data collection methodology improved. For the first time, estimates from local VA medical centers were collected at one given point in time within the last week in January similar to when the Continuums of Care conduct their counts. In the past, counts were created using the highest average from any given night. In addition, these numbers were then compared to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) local point-in-time counts. As a result, many VA sites adjusted their numbers to be more consistent with HUD’s figures.

· VA programs have been working to provide housing for homeless veterans, and 15,000 veterans were provided Grant and Per Diem residential services.

· The population of World War II and Korean War veterans is decreasing, contributing to a lower number of overall veterans.

“Number of Homeless Vets Drops 21 Percent

I liked that last sentence in the first bullet:

“As a result, many VA sites adjusted their numbers to be more consistent with HUD’s figures.”

I wrote to them asking for assistance in figuring out this dilemma on how the VA and HUD performed these counts. Their reply was:

“The XXXX is unable to speak for either HUD or the VA. Any questions regarding their data or data collection methods should be taken up directly with them.”

If I decided to send emails to tens of thousands of possible donors, I would prefer to know what I was talking about since the above sender received close to $7,000,000.00 in donations previous years annually.

Well since HUD did state that they managed to lose over 35% of the data pertaining to Homeless Veterans, I imagine this did assist Secretary Peake and other VA staffers in reducing Veteran Homelessness.

From the Annual Homeless Assessment Report data pertaining to Homeless Veterans:

percent2.gif

percent1.gif

35% of the Veterans surveyed data lost and over 55% of the unsheltered and unsurveyed? How does VA or HUD get a Homeless Veterans count at all?

Now the media and Homeless Advocates are parroting this report that the reduction in Veteran Homelessness is a miracle. It is not a miracle at all; just a numbers game using omitted, not collected and lost information of counted veterans.

In Congressional testimony on the Grant and Per Diem program regarding transitional bed shortages for Homeless Veterans, the VA said:

vaest1.gif

Something bizarre here is that HUD used just 80 Continuum of Cares and supposedly the VA used 135 Hospitals and came up with the same numbers in both of their reports!

In the 2006 report they also needed more beds, as listed below:

vaest2.jpg

If they could not count them all before, what has really changed?

Here are the amazing figures:

The VA states that there are 154,000 Homeless Veterans (including 15,000 in Grant and Per Diem Transitional Beds.)

The HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report States that there are approximately 141,000 Homeless Veterans.

If you add the 15,000 GPD Veterans to the AHAR figure you are within 1,000 homeless veterans of each report. A very small margin of difference in counting between 80 Continuum of Cares out of the hundreds of CoC’s that there are and 135 VA Hospitals, or a difference of 55 locations. If HUD can find even with lost data 141,000 Homeless Veterans in 80 locales, how come the VA can only find 1,000 more at an additional 55 counting locations?

How shameful it is that those appointed to assist homeless veterans, advocate their issues, as well as cover and report what is going on in the nation will not do their homework. That this report is being accepted as fact is a disgrace and those that advocate for homelessness should be taking notice and held to task. Those donations are given for a reason. Do your jobs. You are as responsible as anyone for the dissemination of information, as the media looks to you to be experts as well.

Wanderingvet

Part 2 to be continued

From a VA CHALENG official

“The 2007 CHALENG report does use the AHAR as an important reference. Neither the VA, nor HUD collect social security information to make these homeless counts.”

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3 Responses to “137. Who’s Counting / Part 1”


  1. 1 A grandmother
    April 2, 2008 at 6:27 am

    So many numbers games being played in so many aspects of our lives.
    The true miracle will be when we wake up and stop allowing the BS to pass for truth.
    Good job exposing it!

  2. 2 AnAmerican
    April 2, 2008 at 9:02 am

    The entire numbers game can be manipulated to show whatever results are desired~the government does this all the time . What strikes me as very sad is that no matter what the numbers may reveal, the fact that we have any homeless veterans on the street is simply proof that the VA needs to strive to not only reduce the numbers but to come up with programs that prevent any veteran who doesn’t want to live on the streets a way out. Until we have those in charge who value the actual lives that these numbers represent , the illusion of actually taking care of our vets will continue. Amazing that we pour more and more money into the ongoing war in the Middle East,yet we fail to provide equitable funding for veterans issues.

  3. 3 Jim
    April 5, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    HUH? Sorry for the harsh language, but how the hell do they really know how many is homeless. Once a year they go out with flashlights to look. Im sorry, but thats not how theyre found. They’re found in the VA hospitals and local welfare depts asking for help, which theyre denied because there single or something in that catagory. I know, Ive asked and told…NO.
    Now if I was an illegal immigrant, thats a different story, and yes, I was told that by a case worker.
    Forget the fact that he raised his right hand and swore to die to protect his country. That dont matter these days.
    Sorry for the rant, but dang…this burns my post toasties to read stuff like this.
    They dont know whos out there and theyre not gonna find out till they make an open door policy to the homeless and MAKE AWARE THE HELP AVAILABLE. They dont do this unless the vet has resources to research whats out there.
    The VA dont offer this info…Trust me, I know this first hand.
    Its a shame that our soldiers, sailors, marines and my commrade at arms has to suffer because of a lame system.
    This is my opinion, sorry if its to blunt. Thats just the way it is.


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