Thursday, March 5, 2009

Associated Press carrying the water...

Associated Press Headline today:

NYC says street homelessness down from past years
It's like clockwork. When a Democrat takes the highest office, all of a sudden homelessness drops.

This is a disingenuous, however. Homelessness has not dropped. In fact, in recent months it has shot through the roof due to the foreclosures in the area. This survey only refers to people sleeping in the actual street (or subways, Port Authority bathrooms etc). Personally, I haven't noticed a reduction in those at all. The same characters are at their assigned places every morning and evening that I can see.

The city's estimate was from a street survey across New York's five boroughs conducted on a specified night. Volunteers looked for homeless people sleeping on the streets, and decoys were planted to test the accuracy of the head count.
Ah...volunteers...and they fail to tell you when the survey took place on that "single night." Here's a clue. If you do the survey in the summer time, the figures are higher as opposed to when the temperature is Lowwwwwww.

The number of homeless people on New York City streets declined 30 percent from last year, thanks to revamped agency policies, the city's Department of Homeless Services said Wednesday.
"Revamped policies" is a euphemism for throwing money at the problem despite having none to throw. New York just settled a law suit back in September 2008 on what defines a "homeless" person or family.

The main sticking point in the case over the years has been whether a family is “homeless.” Virtually all the families in the system are single-mother households, many headed by very young women or teenagers. These young unwed mothers often live with their own single mothers, who themselves usually occupy public housing or rent-controlled apartments. At some point, grandmother, mother, and grandchildren decide they’ve had enough family togetherness, and the younger single mother applies to the city’s homeless-services department for her own city-subsidized apartment. The second-generation single mother and her lawyers claim that she is “homeless”; the city maintains that she has available housing, even if it is more crowded than an apartment of her own would be. This scenario has many possible variants: the single mother may be living with friends or other relatives, or she may be facing eviction from her own apartment but have another possible apartment—that of friends or relatives—theoretically available to her. In almost none of the cases has the shelter-seeking mother literally lost her home through an emergency like a natural disaster. Her housing situation, while crowded, is usually no worse than that of immigrants who may live five to a room and sleep in rotating shifts.
That's a fantastic new policy (sarcasm). My main gripe is how the Associated Press used a headline that really doesn't tell the story. A better headline would have been:

"Why our city is broke"