[Hpn] 3 Democrats demand data on homeless:The Plain Dealer;6/28/01
Morgan W. Brown
Thu, 28 Jun 2001 11:03:51 -0400
Below is a forward of yet another article about the growing controversy
surrounding the census and people who are homeless.
This one, however, is a follow-up article -- to one published exactly one
week earlier in the same newspaper -- which has some additional details
about what is going on in the U.S. House over this matter.
Morgan W. Brown
Thursday, June 28, 2001
The Plain Dealer <http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/today/index.ssf>
3 Democrats demand data on homeless
By DAVE DAVIS and JOAN MAZZOLINI
Angered by the U.S. Census Bureau's refusal to release the count of homeless
Americans, three congressional Democrats yesterday called for an
investigation into the closed-door decision and its effect on federal
funding for homeless service providers.
"This is an issue of human dignity and of the conscience of our country,"
said Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, one of the three. "We're going to push
hard for these hearings."
The Census Bureau spent about $10 million trying to count the homeless in
the massive April 2000 national count, a Census official said yesterday.
But before final numbers were compiled, the bureau's executive staff decided
that the number of people counted at soup kitchens and observed on the
streets would never be released.
And the figure for people sleeping in shelters would be delayed a year or
more so that the bureau could caution the public that it was not an accurate
picture of the homeless.
"I can't walk two blocks from the Capitol without running into people who
don't have a place to live," Kucinich said. "But if we don't have these
numbers, these people are invisible."
A Census Bureau official defended withholding the numbers, fearing they
would be misused. Edison Gore said the bureau would answer any questions
raised by Congress.
Kucinich joined Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York congresswoman, and William
Lacy Clay of Missouri in a letter requesting immediate hearings by the
subcommittee which oversees the Census Bureau.
Maloney indicated yesterday that politics played a role in the bureau's
decision. "Sounds like the Bush administration has turned the Census Bureau
into the Censor Bureau," she quipped. " . . .This is clearly a pattern of
behavior that will undermine confidence in all government statistics."
Figures for the homeless were to be released over the summer as the bureau
rolled out the last of the short-form data on a state-by-state basis.
Kucinich, Maloney and Clay yesterday expressed concern that the decision not
to release the data was made privately.
"We only just learned about this policy change from press reports," the
Democrats told census subcommittee Chairman Dan Miller, a Republican from
Florida. They were referring to a Plain Dealer story last week that revealed
Chip Walker, subcommittee staff director, said, "We weren't aware that the
homeless numbers weren't going to be released. We're going to ask for the
people who made this decision to come over and explain."
After that briefing, which will include Democrats, Miller will decide
whether to hold hearings or even have an outside agency involved, Walker
While Cleveland Mayor Michael White's office did not comment yesterday,
other city officials expressed concerned about the numbers being withheld.
The figures are used to gain federal funding for poverty and homeless
"The American public paid for the count and we're entitled to the numbers,"
said Jessica Heinz, an attorney specializing in housing issues for Los
Angeles. "We probably spent $300,000 of city money gearing up for the
Heinz said shelter numbers, which may be released by the census in a year or
so, are not good numbers for a warm-weather city like Los Angeles because
the homeless are less likely to use shelters.
Nationally, before the April 2000 count, homeless advocates hotly debated
whether to assist because they believed it would not accurately reflect the
number of homeless people. In some cities, groups decided not to help Census
officials because they felt no numbers were better than low numbers.
But Cleveland homeless advocates devoted months to helping Census officials
because they wanted to help Cleveland reach the 500,000-person mark and they
felt the homeless deserve the same effort given to everybody else.
"We put a lot of work into it," said Brian Davis of the Northeast Ohio
Coalition for the Homeless. "It's sad that we won't get to see the results."
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 216-999-4808 E-mail: email@example.com
---End of forwarded article---
Thursday, June 21, 2001
The Plain Dealer <http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/>
US & World News section
U.S. to keep count of homeless hidden:
**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**
-------End of forward-------
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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