142. Who’s Counting Part III

(Abandoned Homeless campsite Seattle suburb)

Dear Friends and Wanderingvets…

This is Part III in a series of how Local, State, and Federal agencies undercount homelessness in this nation through intentional and unintentional methodology…

In King County Washington, there is the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness who came up with these 2008 Unsheltered Homeless Counts. At the rate that HUD and the VA processes data currently this data will show up correalated in the 2010 – 2011 homeless year reportings.

King County 2008 One Night Homeless Unsheltered Homeless Count

King County, Washington is 2,126 square miles. that means according to this count, they found over 1.23 homeless people per square mile of county.

They would have found more if King County and the Continuum of Care that HUD boasts about had really counted…

Federal Way, WA found 90 Homeless in 21 sq. miles for an actual total of 4.28 per sq. mile..

Renton found 44 Homeless in 22 sq. miles for a total of 2 per sq. mile.

Auburn found 40 Homeless in 21 sq. miles for a total of 2.1 per sq. mile

Seattle found 1976 Homeless in 84 sq. miles for a total of 23.52 per sq.mile

Kent found 65 Homeless in 28 sq. miles for a total of 2.32 per sq. mile

White Center found 58 Homeless in 3.4 sq. miles for a total of 17 per sq. mile

Now not counting the North End, or East Side of the county which is undertiminate space 187 Homeless People counted or the Night Owl Busses 171 Homeless People…

In the other 179 sq. miles covered out of 2,126 of this Continuum of Care… they managed to find 2273 Homeless People for a real average of greater than 12.6 Homeless People per sq. mile of actual spots that they really searched!

These searches were conducted by volunteers only. These volunteers only went to areas where they knew Homeless people normally congregate or slept at. This report is actually not at all conclusive of how many Homeless people were ACTUALLY sleeping outside unsheltered in King County, Washington on this night in January 2008. Also the counters do not go into abandoned buildings (of course for safety reasons) and also do not enter private property.

Abandoned Tarp and clothes bag(Abandoned bag of clothes and tarp)

The SKCCH is careful to note that these numbers are an undercount entirely! There is no possible way to count all of the Homeless in King County, Washington. Of Course both HUD and the VA do know this.

Unfortuately when HUD reported that Homelessness remained neutral in this country (754,000) and then the VA’s Secretary Dr. James Peake made the outlandish statement that homelessness amongst Veterans declined by 40,000 veterans or 21% of those homeless, they were supposedly quoting from data gathered in 2005. The exact undercounted numbers reported.

With all that is going on with foreclosure up 62%, demand for shelter up 22%, emergency support up 28% and so on… Isn’t that like telling the man that died of a heart attack to relax based on his check up two years before? Our fore fathers did not celebrate V-J day two years after the end of World War II. What is HUD and the VA celebrating here.

The funny thing about all of this is that no one in the media or running for office is saying anything is amiss? Everyone is saying: Oh the economy is bad and that at one time the politicians were saying “We have to help our Homeless Veterans”. Now that there is some sort of numbers juggling going on, there seems to be some confusion amongst the politicians, and this numbers juggling will definitely impact low income housing and funding for homeless programs in the future. Unfortunately since the funding for the coming years will be based on HUD and the VA’s requests being based on their use of their own low reporting. So Homeless Veterans are going to get it in the neck again from the VA it seems.

How are they going to explain the numbers for this year in the future?


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