Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Despite What You Heard At Prez News Conference 1 in 50 Children are Not Homeless

There were many jaw droppingmoments in the President's Pres conference last night. You know such as the President saying his budget is concerned about the deficit. However one gave me a similar reaction that Kaus had

kf's BS Detector Explodes
One in 50 Children Homeless? Here's a question from President Obama's press conference, asked by Kevin Chappell of Ebony--

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. A recent report found that, as a result of the economic downturn, 1 in 50 children are now homeless in America. With shelters at full capacity, tent cities are sprouting up across the country.
In passing your stimulus package, you said that help was on the way. But what would you say to these families, especially children, who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the country?

This is one of those statistical assertions that you know is BS before you even set out to show it's BS. If you just live here and go around with your eyes open you know it's BS. Sure enough, it's BS! Chappell's question is based on
this study by an anti-homelessness advocacy group with every incentive to maximize the estimate of the problem. 1) The report apparently counts all people who are "homeless" even one night over the course of a year. That's very different from saying that one-in-50 are homeless at the same time--e.g., "now." 2) More significantly, the report counts as "homeless" families who've "doubled up"--e.g., moved in with relatives--apparently on the grounds that while these children in these families do have a home, they don't have "a home of their own." That's not what most people mean by homeless, and not the image Chappell conjures (tent cities, sleeping under bridges). Will I be "homeless" if Fire Mickey Kaus succeeds and I have to move in with my brother's family? Don't answer that. ... The study also counts families living in motels and trailer parks--again, lousy living arrangements, maybe, but not what we usually mean by "homeless."

P.S.: "Doubling up" counts for fully 56% of the "1 in 50" estimate. (See
page 9). "Hotels/motels" counts for 7%. In other words, right off the bat almost two-thirds of the study's once-a-year "homelessness" isn't actually homelessness. ... 3:46 A.M.

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