[Hpn] In NH We Question The Counting Of Homeless Heads For What Purpose?

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 08 Feb 2008 12:10:14 -0500


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http://newsok.com/article/3202171/1202444053

Fri February 8, 2008

Surveys show an increase in Oklahoma homeless
Related Videos
 Homeless surveyed
Volunteers interview members of Lawton's homeless population.=20



 By Ron Jackson and Julie Bisbee
Staff Writers
LAWTON - At 61, Brad Douglas could be enjoying a comfortable retirement. =
Instead, he is grateful to be sleeping at the Salvation Army homeless =
shelter and not under the freeway overpass where he lived last year.=20

=20

"My health is too bad now," said Douglas, who has lived primarily on the =
streets since age 13. "I can't take sleeping out there any more. It was =
bad out there.=20

"How bad was it? I have fought dogs for food."=20

Douglas is among a growing number of people in Oklahoma communities, =
large and small, who have no permanent housing. Community agencies =
across the state attempted last week to count the ever-shifting number =
of homeless people. Many agencies are still compiling their data taken =
from surveys and counts Jan. 31.=20

Early data for at least one area of the state shows an increase in the =
number of people without permanent housing, although the number can be =
attributed at least in part to better methods of counting than were =
employed last year.=20

Volunteers in cities across the state canvassed streets, free dinners =
and homeless shelters to get an accurate count on the number of people =
in Oklahoma who don't have a home.=20

Counting a transient population is difficult. People's status could =
change from day to day.=20

Agencies that work with the homeless do a Point-In-Time survey on the =
same day each year to see how many are in need of housing, food or other =
assistance.=20

The information is compiled and used to apply for grants to provide =
services, said Jervis Jackson, executive director of the Southwest =
Oklahoma Continuum of Care.=20

Oklahoma City and Tulsa have been counting and surveying their homeless =
population for several years. In rural Oklahoma, counting the homeless =
is a relatively new endeavor.=20

Jackson said the higher tally in counting southwestern Oklahoma's =
homeless population can be attributed to better counting methods.=20

"Some people meet the definition of homeless and didn't know it," =
Jackson said. "Maybe they've been staying on a relative's couch until =
that got uncomfortable."=20

Jackson said numbers of homeless also have increased around Altus and =
Chickasha. Last year, Altus reported seven people who were without =
permanent housing.=20

This year that number more than tripled to 25. In the Chickasha area, =
where residents from Grady and Caddo counties receive services, there =
were 244 people who were homeless.=20


Counting in the cities
In Oklahoma City, Dan Straughan, director of the Homeless Alliance, used =
a police helicopter to find homeless camp sites across the metro areas. =
Straughan said shelter populations seemed steady the day the survey was =
taken, which was a cold blustery day.=20
Officials across the state had hoped cold weather would help the count =
as more people sought out shelter.=20

In 2007, Oklahoma City reported 1,930 people without permanent housing, =
Straughan said. Straughan expects the numbers to be about the same this =
year.=20

Cold weather may have hindered the count as many people got to warm =
spots and stayed there, he said.=20

The city has seen its homeless population increase over the past three =
years.=20

About 60 percent of the increase in Oklahoma City's homeless population =
comes from improved counting methods, Straughan said.=20

"Every year we get a little better," Straughan said.=20

In Tulsa, organizers say cold weather helped to get an accurate count of =
people living on the street as many sought shelter on the cold night of =
Jan. 31. During last year's one night survey there were 890 people =
without permanent housing, including 772 adults and 118 children under =
the age of 18, according to the city's report from January 2007.=20

Agencies in Tulsa and Oklahoma City don't expect to have numbers from =
this year's count until mid-February or March.=20

"We're anticipating showing higher numbers," said Donnie House, homeless =
management information systems manager with the Community Service =
Council of Tulsa. "The snowy weather helps us."=20

In Lawton, many are reaching out to help the homeless after news stories =
about the count, Jackson said.=20

"I've had people bringing me coats, shoes and clothes," he said. "I have =
to take it to the organizations every day just to be able to get around =
in my office. People are starting to be aware. That's our community =
plan. That's what we're here for. To be a consortium of care, where =
people can come together and bring resources to people in need."


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<DIV class=3Ddate>Fri February 8, 2008</DIV>
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<H1>Surveys show an increase in Oklahoma homeless</H1>
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<DIV class=3Dauthor>By Ron Jackson and Julie Bisbee<BR>Staff =
Writers</DIV>LAWTON =97=20
At 61, <A title=3D"Brad Douglas"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DBrad+Douglas&=
amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Brad=20
Douglas</A> could be enjoying a comfortable retirement. Instead, he is =
grateful=20
to be sleeping at the <A title=3D"The Salvation Army"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DThe+Salvation=
+Army&amp;CATEGORY=3DORGANIZATION">Salvation=20
Army</A> homeless shelter and not under the freeway overpass where he =
lived last=20
year.=20
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<P>"My health is too bad now,=94 said <A title=3D"Brad Douglas"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DBrad+Douglas&=
amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Douglas</A>,=20
who has lived primarily on the streets since age 13. "I can't take =
sleeping out=20
there any more. It was bad out there.=20
<P>"How bad was it? I have fought dogs for food.=94=20
<P><A title=3D"Brad Douglas"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DBrad+Douglas&=
amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Douglas</A>=20
is among a growing number of people in Oklahoma communities, large and =
small,=20
who have no permanent housing. Community agencies across the state =
attempted=20
last week to count the ever-shifting number of homeless people. Many =
agencies=20
are still compiling their data taken from surveys and counts Jan. 31.=20
<P>Early data for at least one area of the state shows an increase in =
the number=20
of people without permanent housing, although the number can be =
attributed at=20
least in part to better methods of counting than were employed last =
year.=20
<P>Volunteers in cities across the state canvassed streets, free dinners =
and=20
homeless shelters to get an accurate count on the number of people in =
Oklahoma=20
who don't have a home.=20
<P>Counting a transient population is difficult. People's status could =
change=20
from day to day.=20
<P>Agencies that work with the homeless do a Point-In-Time survey on the =
same=20
day each year to see how many are in need of housing, food or other =
assistance.=20
<P>The information is compiled and used to apply for grants to provide =
services,=20
said <A title=3D"Jervis Jackson"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DJervis+Jackso=
n&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Jervis=20
Jackson</A>, executive director of the Southwest Oklahoma Continuum of =
Care.=20
<P>Oklahoma City and Tulsa have been counting and surveying their =
homeless=20
population for several years. In rural Oklahoma, counting the homeless =
is a=20
relatively new endeavor.=20
<P><A title=3D"Jervis Jackson"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DJervis+Jackso=
n&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Jackson</A>=20
said the higher tally in counting southwestern Oklahoma's homeless =
population=20
can be attributed to better counting methods.=20
<P>"Some people meet the definition of homeless and didn't know it,=94 =
<A=20
title=3D"Jervis Jackson"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DJervis+Jackso=
n&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Jackson</A>=20
said. "Maybe they've been staying on a relative's couch until that got=20
uncomfortable.=94=20
<P><A title=3D"Jervis Jackson"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DJervis+Jackso=
n&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Jackson</A>=20
said numbers of homeless also have increased around Altus and Chickasha. =
Last=20
year, Altus reported seven people who were without permanent housing.=20
<P>This year that number more than tripled to 25. In the Chickasha area, =
where=20
residents from Grady and Caddo counties receive services, there were 244 =
people=20
who were homeless.=20
<P>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead>Counting in the cities</DIV>In Oklahoma City, <A=20
title=3D"Dan Straughan"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DDan+Straughan=
&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Dan=20
Straughan</A>, director of the Homeless Alliance, used a police =
helicopter to=20
find homeless camp sites across the metro areas. <A title=3D"Dan =
Straughan"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DDan+Straughan=
&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Straughan</A>=20
said shelter populations seemed steady the day the survey was taken, =
which was a=20
cold blustery day.=20
<P>Officials across the state had hoped cold weather would help the =
count as=20
more people sought out shelter.=20
<P>In 2007, Oklahoma City reported 1,930 people without permanent =
housing, <A=20
title=3D"Dan Straughan"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DDan+Straughan=
&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Straughan</A>=20
said. <A title=3D"Dan Straughan"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DDan+Straughan=
&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Straughan</A>=20
expects the numbers to be about the same this year.=20
<P>Cold weather may have hindered the count as many people got to warm =
spots and=20
stayed there, he said.=20
<P>The city has seen its homeless population increase over the past =
three years.=20

<P>About 60 percent of the increase in Oklahoma City's homeless =
population comes=20
from improved counting methods, <A title=3D"Dan Straughan"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DDan+Straughan=
&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Straughan</A>=20
said.=20
<P>"Every year we get a little better,=94 Straughan said.=20
<P>In Tulsa, organizers say cold weather helped to get an accurate count =
of=20
people living on the street as many sought shelter on the cold night of =
Jan. 31.=20
During last year's one night survey there were 890 people without =
permanent=20
housing, including 772 adults and 118 children under the age of 18, =
according to=20
the city's report from January 2007.=20
<P>Agencies in Tulsa and Oklahoma City don't expect to have numbers from =
this=20
year's count until mid-February or March.=20
<P>"We're anticipating showing higher numbers,=94 said Donnie House, =
homeless=20
management information systems manager with the <A=20
title=3D"Community Service Council of Tulsa"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DCommunity+Ser=
vice+Council+of+Tulsa&amp;CATEGORY=3DORGANIZATION">Community=20
Service Council of Tulsa</A>. "The snowy weather helps us.=94=20
<P>In Lawton, many are reaching out to help the homeless after news =
stories=20
about the count, <A title=3D"Jervis Jackson"=20
href=3D"http://newsok.com/keysearch/?er=3D1&amp;CANONICAL=3DJervis+Jackso=
n&amp;CATEGORY=3DPERSON">Jackson</A>=20
said.=20
<P>"I've had people bringing me coats, shoes and clothes,=94 he said. "I =
have to=20
take it to the organizations every day just to be able to get around in =
my=20
office. People are starting to be aware. That's our community plan. =
That's what=20
we're here for. To be a consortium of care, where people can come =
together and=20
bring resources to people in need.=94</P></DIV></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>

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