Tag Archives: homeless count

Can We Trust the Numbers, More or Less?

For the most visible homeless individuals, at least, the numbers seem to be trending down. More or less.

DC Homelessness Figures Buck Nationwide Trends

This year’s State of Homelessness report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) presents, in some ways, a rosier picture than last year’s. Big headline is that homelessness decreased between 2009 and 2011 — not only the overall rate, but the rates for people in families, veterans and the chronically homeless, i.e., individuals with disabilities, including […]

Homeless Counts Should be Counting Backwards

In the darkness of early morning, the counting can be monotonous, an exercise that almost puts you to sleep. I have written before about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated homeless counts that occur throughout this country during the month of January. Municipalities have to count their homeless population at least every other year, or they will lose their HUD funding. Some cities count every year.

Counting how many people are languishing on our streets, however, is good. How can we address a sad human tragedy without knowing the extent of the problem? How can we know if we are successfully reducing the number of people on our streets without regularly assessing our work through counts?

No Consensus on Poverty Census

I sometimes wonder if announcements from the government on embarrassing data related to poverty are intentionally confusing in order to shield the reality of hurt in this country.

Recently, the United States Census Bureau declared a new model to assess poverty. Two months ago, the Bureau announced that the number of poor Americans was 46.2 million. Now, they say the number is 49 million.

What Imprecise Homeless Counts can Actually Teach Us

A couple of weeks ago, David Henderson wrote a piece criticizing the Los Angeles City Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) for failing to report margins of error around its estimate of the size of the Los Angeles Homeless population.

Most likely, as David argued, LAHSA failed to report the statistical error bounds around its estimate because doing so would have revealed that LAHSA could not statistically determine whether homelessness had increased or decreased since its last estimate, collected in 2009.

Homeless Counts and the Politics of Facts

He was the Iraqi Information Minister eight years ago when American troops triumphantly entered the capital city of Baghdad. Like a true public relations spokesperson, “Baghdad Bob” spoke on the television airwaves falsely explaining to his countrymen and the world that everything was fine. History, however, recorded how wrong his assessment was. But boy did […]

We Cannot Count on Homeless Counts to end Homelessness

If you were one of those compassionate Americans wanting to help resolve the sad state of homelessness in this country, you may have woken up hours before sun rise to help your local city count homeless persons. I know how it works. You drag yourself out of bed hours before you typically get up so […]