[Hpn] Numbering the homeless;Editorial;Plain Dealer;Cleveland, Ohio;6/29/01

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Fri, 29 Jun 2001 14:06:48 -0400


-------Forwarded Editorial-------

Friday, June 29, 2001
The Plain Dealer <http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/today/>
[Cleveland, Ohio]
Editorials section
Numbering the homeless

The Census Bureau wants to keep secret the numbers of homeless Americans it 
has counted, and some homeless advocacy organizations like that just fine. 
They fear the numbers will be gross underestimates.

But every other American should be bothered at the government's resistance 
to disclosing an impartial count conducted with $10 million in public funds.

The count of the homeless is and should be a matter of public record, and 
treated no differently from information gathered on Americans' personal 
habits - from the number of bedrooms to sexual orientation.

Census numbers are far from infallible on these and many other questions, 
but they are at least a start in answering questions about our citizenry.

The official word is that the bureau will report next year on the number of 
people in emergency shelters. It won't release a figure for homeless people 
who were counted living on grates, standing in food lines or attending 
special gatherings.

"We were concerned about the numbers being misused, basically," said Edison 
Gore, a census spokesman.

But the bureau mission is collecting and disseminating figures, not fretting 
about how policymakers will use them.

Any count of the homeless will be just a fuzzy snapshot of a highly mobile 
population whose status can change abruptly.

If people could have been double-counted accidentally, or if a high number 
refused to participate, or if the department didn't survey all of the 
shelters (an easy way to count the homeless, since most times they have to 
sign in and give some basic information), it should simply say so.

But the numbers of homeless people it counted last year belong in the public 
record, and the sooner the better.


**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 <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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