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Ear to the Ground

Chronically Homeless Numbers Down 30%, U.S. Claims

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Posted on Jul 30, 2008
Detroit Homeless Shelter
Detroit News / Ankur Dholakia

Homeless shelters, like this one in Detroit, are being supplemented with more permanent quarters for those defined as “chronically homeless.”

In the face of a U.S. housing crisis and a troubled economy, Bush administration officials claim that the past two years have seen a 30 percent drop in the levels of chronically homeless people, crediting the decrease to a strategy of finding permanent shelter for the long-ignored disabled and addicted.

The administration defines chronically homeless as “disabled individuals who have been continuously homeless for more than a year or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.”


The New York Times:

The number of chronically homeless people living in the nation’s streets and shelters has dropped by about 30 percent—from 175,914 to 123,833—from 2005 to 2007, Bush administration officials said on Tuesday.

Housing officials say the statistics, which are collected annually from more than 3,800 cities and counties, may reflect better data collection and some variation in the number of communities reporting. But officials also attribute much of the decline to a policy shift promoted by Congress and the administration that has focused federal and local resources on finding stable housing for homeless people suffering from drug addiction, mental illness or physical disabilities, long deemed the hardest to help in the homeless population.

Under the strategy, known as “housing first,” local officials have over the last eight years increasingly placed the chronically homeless into permanent shelter—apartments, halfway houses or rooms—and provided them with services for drug addiction, mental illness and health problems.

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By lincoln, July 31, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Q.  How do you know when someone from this administration is lying?

A.  You see their lips moving. 

However, homelessness is about to increase drastacly due to forclosures from predatory lending AND from financial crises brought on by 20% of our manufacturing jobs leaving the country in the past few years compounded by a doubling of fuel prices in the last year. 

We are going to see increased numbers of elderly and disabled homeless who worked hard their entire lives.  we are also going to see increased numbers of suicides.  To keep the statistical INCREASES on these facts below 30% will be extremely challenging.

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By yellowbird2525, July 31, 2008 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Dr knowitall: all but to the legitiamate citizens of the USA that is: who since grandfathers day hav paid repeatedly for aid to every country so much so there should not even BE any 3rd world countries at all; certainly none without adequate drinking water & sewers; BUT according to our Gov we have NEVER done a single thing ever for anyone at any time; truthfully; had it stated & listened to it; & then stood up and said: pardon me, but this quite simply is not true; I quoted her facts; she was an American citizen snowballed by BS political propaganda quoting verbatim what was said to her: and never once did she bother to THINK about what was being said or challenge it as being not true; our Gov does NOT expect you to; they honestly trust for YOU to believe THE LIES; and sadly, most folks do;

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, July 31, 2008 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

I want to save all the heartless neocons the trouble and quickly write, Well, if anyone wants a place to stay in America our tax money is being spent to give them a place.  If they want it, it’s their’s.  Besides, this is the land of opportunity and good tax dollars are being spent to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get educated and get a good job. If they were smart and availed themselves of that opportunity, they probably wouldn’t be homeless.  It’s their own damn fault.  Why should I work my ass off to give them everything?  Nobody gives me anything. 

There, conservatives can skip to the thread about banking and politicians.

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By yellowbird2525, July 31, 2008 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

the Gov “help” in foreclosures: YIKES! what happens is THIS: due to the SET OIL PRICES by the Gov, & Corp’s (see american car companies came out with $2.99 guarenteed price on gas for 36 months) how could they possibly KNOW unless set by US Gov working with house of Saud? SEE PAST THE LIES folks; democracy has come to mean deceit, lies, & criminals worse than any other country on the planet; every other country knows this but AMERICANS; the PRICE on everything being escalated to cause MORE economic stress: see un report on food: ACCESS to food is the problem; storing it to get higher prices just like in the USA cuz the Americans have taken it for years; (why all the farmers deaths in India)? We have DONE IT to the AMERICANS for YEARS! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? Gov actively & agressively raising prices on things folks need; (tip) go GREEN & save your green & Save your lives folks: WE ARE BEING POISONED DELIBERATELY to bring more money to the Pharma’s; round robins folks; THE FORECLOSURE HELP: unwittingly “signing” their homes away from DECEITFUL owner of business “helping” the FBI for the past 2 years has done NOTHING: they CANNOT: their BOSSES AT CONGRESS & PRES have told them to do nothing; added to this: the banks give “new fixed rates” that just like the Fed Reserve Board declared re credit cards: criminal; deceptive business practices (which is the politically correct phrase for “fraud”;) that stay fixed for a short time & then suddenly escalate to many times HIGHER than the original mortgage payment; All done with our Congress & Pres & VP & their “friends” consent & doing; why do you think it took them so long to get to New Orleans? to determine how BEST to HARM the people of the USA; notice how ALL the payments from insurance companies went directly to the MORGAGE companies? NOT to the people? might want to check out youtube re info on levees being broken & who did that as well; read Lou Dobbs reports: & book: WAR on the American “dream”; (might as well read citizens); why are there still homeless in New Orleans? Why are the USURY LAWS that have been around almost as long as banking has been set aside by “lawmakers” who insist we are a nation of LAW (Bush)when the laws are ignored by the lawmakers? why are folks being billed all the interest 1st to be paid on homes before the equity is even touched at far higher rates than should be? We cannot be a “nation” of law; when the leaders are lawless folks; not following the laws of Congress, USA, Internation laws, any of these folks; in multiple instances; and then the SUPREME court of the “land” is HAND SELECETED by these folks; who deliberately hand pick WHO they will be that will go “along” for the ride with them/ tell me, how is Public domain which is quite simply legalized theft in the best interests of the legal citizens of the USA? If there ARE fewer “homeless” no one on THIS planet has seen it; not here in the USA; although many “walking” away from their homes will alas never be seen again. Do not seek help from Pres or Congress: they were BOUGHT & PAID for a very long time ago; & their agenda is NOT good for us; nor has it been for a very long time; Obama: do you feel like victims? if not, you need a cat scan to see if you have a brain; targeted, victimized, repeatedly in every aspect of your life to 1 purpose: MONEY for the rich; all of this is PREMEDITATED drawn out long term goals folks: with a great deal of malice for the citizens of the USA;

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By Purple Girl, July 31, 2008 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Job loses Up, Foreclosures Up, Food and energy costs Up…Yet Homelessness is down??? Has this Admin begun the ‘Soilent Green’ tactic to population reduction…Has a ‘cup of Joe’ become a description?
If anyone in gov’t thinks Americans Believe anything they say- or anything they tell the media to say..They are more deluded and stupid then we ever feared!
You can prove anything you want with Statistics and Carefully chosen Rhetoric. which still amounts to BullShit!

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By yellowbird2525, July 30, 2008 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

what I would like to know is this: WHERE are the PEOPLE? Are they like the VETS who’s deaths are higher every single year here in the USA than during the whole year in Iraq? Saw an interesting thing one night on Nightline on ABC: they did an article on the pets (victims) in the foreclosures: this real estate lady who went to the homes of the foreclosed had a large animal (dog) carrier with her & explained that she takes it with her everywhere as so many times the PETS were left behind: as well as all the furniture, family pictures, & Bibles, clothes, etc: just like the families went out to dinner & never returned. So the “folks are just walking away from their homes” had a grain of TRUTH to it: it was in Dayton Ohio: the camera man did shoot the inside of a home, showing the Bible, pics, etc: and asked is EVERYTHING left behind: she stated yes; it started with the $50,000 to $100,000 homes; now is up to the $250,000 to $500,000 homes; one community had 90 percent of the homes then “foreclosed” on: the folks went MISSING FIRST folks: they then shot to a picture of a woman having to give up a beloved dog as her home was going to be foreclosed on; & on to robotic dinasours that folks got attached to altho not alive; immediately the next morning it was being edited: incredibly easy for “homeless” folks to go missing isn’t it? WAKE UP AMERICANS! The greatest danger to the USA is INSIDE the USA NOT from any other country;

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By purplewolf, July 30, 2008 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, thanks for mentioning Reagan. When he turned out the mentally ill, I remember he claimed that people live on the street because they want to homeless and not because they lost their home, job, etc. He even spend $50,000.00 on a study to see how long it took the human body to adjust from living in a heated house in the winter to living out on the streets in the elements, maybe a heating grate outside some business if you were lucky. It took most humans 10 days to make this adjustment. Of course, it was not done in every state where they tested this. So say if you were in Alaska, it might be 40 degrees below zero, but according to Reagan you’ll adjust just fine. I remember him talking about it at the time and all I could think was how cold a person he must be to talk and think that way. I don’t understand how anyone with a thinking brain can think he was ever a great president, let alone a great person. Somewhere in the past 30 years or so, America lost it’s compassion.

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By purplewolf, July 30, 2008 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Well, I know this is another Bush lie from the get-go. Funny, in tonight’s local newspaper there was a write-up on our homeless, who will be officially counted in my area August 26, including those living in the streets, parks, cars and abandoned houses, as well as the homeless shelters, the soup kitchens and other agencies that assist these people.

At last count Michigan had about 79,940 homeless people for 2007. Gee, and the Bushies bunch claims that now there are only about 123,833 homeless in the whole country. That leaves 43,893 homeless in the rest of the United States. Find that real hard to believe. I do not know if they are adding Puerto Rico, American Samoa and any other places to the list. So 65% of the current homeless, according to the Bush administration live in Michigan. And only two years ago we were at 45%. That means in another 3 1/2 years everyone in Michigan will be homeless according to the most recent counts.

As my grandfather always said, “Figures don’t lie, but give liars time to figure.” And we all know how Bush had used the “new math” to provide all of his information to the public.

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By cyrena, July 30, 2008 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

My thanks to Ed Harges as well, for pointing out this very specific definition for the chronically homeless, that has been the *same* definition for the chronically homeless for decades, and on the rise since so many of the state facilities that once accommodated this subpopulation were closed down. (Regan wiped out ALL of our states facilities for the mentally and physically disabled decades ago).

Meantime, we now have a huge increase of homeless veterans who also fit this ‘definition’ of mentally and physically disabled, to add to the foreclosed-upon and jobless among us. I am soon to join the ranks myself.

Checking out RV sales. Anybody have one they wanna sell ... cheap?

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By VietnamVet, July 30, 2008 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Well, I guess the Bush Administration did not bother to talk with the people in Denver! As usual, they cherry pick the data to make themselves look good. People who are loosing their homes is on the rise, not trending down, no matter what “selective definition” they want to apply. Of course, a little white lie on top of all those whoppers this administration has put out seems trivial.

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By Reubenesque, July 30, 2008 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, the devil is indeed in the details Mr. Harges.  Thank you for your enlightenment.

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By bogglesthemind, July 30, 2008 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you believe this, talk to about the nice shinny bridge I have for sale.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, July 30, 2008 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

The “chronically homeless” are a specially defined subpopulation of the homeless.

Homelessness itself is UP.

From the article:

In New York City, for instance, the number of chronically homeless people dropped to 5,233 in 2007 from 7,002 in 2005, statistics show. The total number of homeless people increased to 50,372 from 48,154 during that time.

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