03
May
08

144. Why we Count Part IV – The Final Conclusions

Dear Friends and Wanderingvets:

In researching these articles, talking with other advocates and agencies that compile these reports, I admit I have become overwhelmed at the laxness of the public, media, municipal, state and federal governments / agencies, as well as the tirelessness of agencies trying to keep the issues of homelessness in this country at the forefront.

The first is the VA and HUD:

HUD has stated that homelessness in America has remained neutral at 754,000 Homeless Person in this nation. If you consider the fact that demands for emergency housing are up 22% according to the National League of Cities that number could be up and above 920,000 people. One can also infer from this 22% increase that the numbers of unsheltered homeless are skyrocketing since shelter space is limited.

The VA in turn has concluded that they reduced homelessness among veterans by 21% or over 40,000 veterans. According to an email from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the VA said this feat was due to the fact that WWII and Korean War Veterans are passing away at a rate of 1,000 a day. The VA is also mentioned in this email that the VA had 15,000 veterans in transitional housing. Odd Fact: In 2006 the VA only had about 9,600 beds in 2006 Congressional Testimony. (see graph below)

GPD Report 2006

In interviews with the volunteer agencies that enumerate the Unsheltered Homeless, they have clearly stated that it is physically impossible to count all of the Unsheltered Homeless in the United States.

HUD and the VA though in understanding this impossibility, have decided that this number is THE NUMBER to be transmitted to the public and be used for record purposes.

Congress will either have to understand that this fictional number presented by HUD and VA is not even close to what the actual numbers of homeless are in this country. That HUD and the VA will have managed to create an argument in our congress to reduce funding for homeless and other housing programs by downplaying the actual numbers.

The fact that in 2008 according to CNN there is over 680,000 foreclosures so far… Not all of those families will end up on the sidewalks as their new home, but a portion have. This 680,000 reflects Housing foreclosures only. It does not take into account the record number of rental or apartment evictions in this nation.

HUD also states that families and individuals are not eligible for services or aid until they have been homeless for a week. That staying with a friend or family member does not make one homeless either, no matter if the families or individuals are “doubled up”.

Under HUD and VA guidlines, their definitions of what they have added to the McKinney-Vento definition of what homelessness is creates “gray areas” which allows both agencies to disqualify the homeless for whatever reason they decide. Often their explanation is “Oh we are doing it this way now”.

HUD lost over 35% of the data from surveyed veterans. In other words, a lot of the homeless are otherwise unclassified as being veterans or not. A lot of the homeless from these counts that were in shelters during this time frame were never asked any questions at all regarding their veteran status.

One of the saddest facts is that Hurricane Katrina Homeless Statistics are not included in the 2007 Annual Homeless Assessment Report.

Katrina occurred after the counting period and is not included. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has since resigned over contracting issues in New Orleans.

Of Course the VA agrees with these numbers and have double and triple checked them. (See page below from New 2007 CHALENG report)

Look at all the columns including the Census column. When was the last time you answered a Census?

As I proved also, if you take the 2005 numerology and subtract 15,000 that the VA claimed to have in rehabilitative housing you end up with the same numbers as what HUD ended up with in 2005. It is a miracle. The VA has 7 columns to HUD’s counting the homeless in shelters and a few volunteers in select areas to match up exact numbers.

All we can call it is a MIRACLE!

No, we cannot. It is B.S. From the VA, and James Peake should be ashamed.

Wanderingvet

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