This is a follow up to an earlier post about the U.S. government's recent unbelievable claims that chronic homelessness is dropping. Michael Stoops, in an interview with Melinda Tuhus of Between the Lines, squarely dismantles the report and points out that it, by design, under-reports homelessness based on its definitions of who is UNHOUSED and who is not.
Stoops also predicts a vast increase of the number of people without homes because of recent down turns in the economy, higher unemployment, the mortgage crises, municipalities unprepared to deal with the increases so they oppress rather than help, and more.
Homelessness is caused by structural inequalities in our society, ones that we have exacerbated – or elected officials to do so on our behalves – and done little as a nation to fix. And don't expect Barack Obama (or any other political leader) to solve this problem – don't expect a public accounting for all the brutal greed unleashed on this country by Ronald Reagan and neoliberal politicians and the resultant lack of social support infrastructure. Their putrid hateful ideology so thoroughly suffuses how we treat our fellow citizens that we should collectively be ashamed that we have allowed more than 1.6 million people to live without homes.
Interview with Michael Stoops,
acting executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless,
conducted by Melinda TuhusListen to the interview.
According to a Bush administration report announced in late July, the number of chronically homeless people living on the nation's streets and in shelters has dropped by about 30 percent -- from about 176,000 to 124,000 -- from 2005 to 2007. Chronically homeless people make up 18 percent of the total number of homeless in the U.S. Officials at HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the drop was largely due to implementation of its Housing First policy, in which hard-to-house individuals are placed in permanent shelter - apartments, halfway houses or rooms -- and provided services for drug addiction, mental illness and health problems.
Some housing advocates hail the reduction, but others are skeptical that more of the chronically homeless have, in fact, escaped homelessness. Many are also concerned about individuals and families who may be homeless for shorter periods of time or are not counted as homeless at all. Nationally, the government estimates the total number of homeless people in the U.S. has dropped to about 666,000 in 2007, from 754,000 in 2005.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. He addresses different definitions of homelessness that are used by the federal government and by advocacy groups, and predicts a coming wave of homelessness due to the home mortgage crisis.
Contact the National Coalition for the Homeless at (202) 462-4822 or visit their website at http://www.nationalhomeless.org