Homeless children stats grossly inflated

Sheesh – does this news surprise anyone?

A well publicized report this week that an estimated 1.5 million American children experienced homelessness in 2005-06 did not use the federal definition of homelessness. Instead, it used a different definition that grossly inflated the actual number.

The report — released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness and reported by numerous news organizations, including FOXNews.com — estimated that one out of every 50 children in America experienced “homelessness” during that two-year span.

But rather than using the definition of homelessness established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts-based organization used a standard adopted by the Department of Education that includes children who are “doubled up,” or children who share housing with other persons due to economic hardship or similar reason.

The difference? About 1,170,000 children.

An estimated 330,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless children were identified in HUD’s July 2007 report to Congress as those who are “literally homeless,” or those living in homeless facilities or in places not meant for human habitation, according to the report.

The remaining 1.17 million — those who are precariously housed or who may be doubled up with friends and relatives or paying extremely high proportions of their resources for rent — are not included in HUD’s report.

“It’s not consistent with the definition that we’ve applied in academic research for more than 20 years and it’s inconsistent with federal housing policy,” University of Pennsylvania Professor of Sociology Dennis Culhane, a principal investigator of HUD’s report, told FOXNews.com. “People who are doubled up are not counted as homeless.”

Read the rest here.

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