16% of Veterans Homeless?

  • #1
russ_watters
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Er, wait - that's 16% of homeless are veterans:
USA Today.com said:
[cover] 16% of Veterans Homeless

[article]
About 16% of homeless adults in a one-night survey in January 2009 were veterans, though vets make up only 10% of the adult population.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-10-1Ahomelessvets10_ST_N.htm

Yet another overnight editing gaffe from USA Today. This happens so often they should hire, well, anyone to check their postings overnight. Or get their overnight staff free coffee or something!
 

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  • #2
Evo
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That's really bad. There was another thread recently that brought up the lack of editing or proof reading.
 
  • #3
turbo
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One should not rely on USA Today for actual news. For the most part, they collect stories from external sources, condense them, and dumb them down. For social and political issues, the devil is generally in the details, which sadly are in short supply in that rag. When I was traveling as a consultant, the motels and restaurants that I frequented would often supply free copies of that publication. After a couple of experiences, I declined and bought copies of NYT, WSJ, WP, etc instead. News Lite couldn't cut it.
 
  • #4
Gokul43201
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Yet another overnight editing gaffe from USA Today. This happens so often they should hire, well, anyone to check their postings overnight. Or get their overnight staff free coffee or something!
How did you figure out it was a gaffe by the overnight staff? I guess it's possible I might be a little more forgiving if I knew that.
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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I saw it this morning and it wasn't there last night.
 
  • #6
BobG
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Lots of people have trouble with homeless statistics - they're hard to find.

What are you actually counting - currently homeless, have been homeless sometime during the last year, have been homeless sometime during their lifetime? (My favorite survey determined that 7.4% of the American population had been homeless sometime during their lifetime - my favorite because it was a telephone survey.)

Just checking wikipedia, about 1% of the American population is homeless each year, but most are only homeless for a short time. About 842,000 are homeless in any given week, which is about 0.24% of the American population. Chronically homeless, about 123,000, makes up about 0.035% of the population.

Of that 842,000, I guess 16% are veterans? About 10% of the population, or about 35 million, are veterans. So about 0.38% of veterans are homeless? (Statistics on the http://www.nchv.org/background.cfm [Broken] website would suggest that 0.36% was a more accurate number, primarily because they say 8% of the population are vets and there are about 102,000 homeless vets at any given time.)
 
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  • #7
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Yet another overnight editing gaffe...
If you think homeless vets are a "gaffe," you're completely without a clue.

I work with homeless vets. Do some (better) research, "pal."
 
  • #8
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If you think homeless vets are a "gaffe," you're completely without a clue.

I work with homeless vets. Do some (better) research, "pal."
Read the post. It's the numbers that were 'gaffed'. Nothing to do with the vets.
[cover] 16% of Veterans Homeless

[article]
About 16% of homeless adults in a one-night survey in January 2009 were veterans, though vets make up only 10% of the adult population.
There's a difference.
 
  • #9
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Read the post.
I did, thanks. The numbers are higher than what's being "officially" reported. In your country, as well.
 
  • #10
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I did, thanks. The numbers are higher than what's being "officially" reported. In your country, as well.
That maybe, but it's not the immediate error. Just pointing it out that's all - got the impression you hadn't noticed it.
 
  • #11
BobG
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I did, thanks. The numbers are higher than what's being "officially" reported. In your country, as well.
Quite possibly true, since there are no "official" numbers for homelessness, only estimates. Plus, the numbers can vary a lot depending on what you're counting.

What are you actually counting - currently homeless, have been homeless sometime during the last year, have been homeless sometime during their lifetime?
The point was that the numbers cited were blatantly wrong. Even saying 16% of homeless people are veterans when they only comprise 10% of the population is a little misleading since males are more likely to be homeless and males are also more likely to be veterans.

Generally, the number of programs to assist homeless people should affect how many are homeless. There's more programs to assist women (especially women with children) than there are males and there's also more programs to assist veterans. So, you'd expect veterans to have a lower homeless rate than males, but a higher homeless rate than females. If the statistics don't match the programs available, then you have to look at how effective the programs are (which is really the only significance of the statistics - with no context, they're just numbers).
 
  • #12
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Even saying 16% of homeless people are veterans when they only comprise 10% of the population is a little misleading...
The following numbers are ficticious, but serve to prove a point:

Population: 300 Million
Veterans: 20 Million
Homeless: 15 Million
Homeless Veterans: 6 Million

Do the math.
 
  • #13
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16% of veterans homeless =/= 16% of homeless adults. The only way that could be possible is if number of veterans = number of homeless adults. So one number is wrong.

Mugs I must be missing the point you're making. If they're ficticious then I'm not sure what their purpose is.
 
  • #14
BobG
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The following numbers are ficticious, but serve to prove a point:

Population: 300 Million
Veterans: 20 Million
Homeless: 15 Million
Homeless Veterans: 6 Million

Do the math.
What point?

If we're using fictional numbers, this would probably be more relevant:

The nation faces an epidemic of a fatal disease. 1 out of every 1000 people catch this disease and it is always fatal. There's a test to find out if you have this disease and it has a 99% accuracy rate. You test positive for this disease. What are the chances of you dying?

Dealing with different orders of magnitude creates deceiving results.

If 1,000,000 people receive this test, then 1,000 of those people have the disease. Of the 999,000 people that don't have the disease, 9,990 of them will test positive because the test has only a 99% accuracy rate. Of the 1,000 people who have the disease, only 990 of them will test positive because the test has only a 99% accuracy rate.

9,990 false positives
990 true positives

Do the math.

You need real numbers or your entire point is just lost.
 
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  • #15
turbo
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Some eye-opening stats, especially regarding black and Hispanic vets.

http://www.nchv.org/background.cfm [Broken]
 
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  • #16
Gokul43201
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If you think homeless vets are a "gaffe," you're completely without a clue.
Clearly, you misunderstood the point of the thread, but that's understandable, and easily excused.

mugaliens said:
I work with homeless vets. Do some (better) research, "pal."
That kind of attitude isn't.
 
  • #17
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16% of veterans homeless =/= 16% of homeless adults. The only way that could be possible is if number of veterans = number of homeless adults. So one number is wrong.

Mugs I must be missing the point you're making. If they're ficticious then I'm not sure what their purpose is.
What has been said in this report I believe is that 16% of the homeless adults surveyed were veterans. Meanwhile they only comprise 10% of the total population. THEREFORE in the survey amount there was a disproportionate amount of veterans in the homeless category.

I'm not sure what you're argument with mugs was but this seems quite possible and I wouldn't doubt it either.
 
  • #18
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What has been said in this report I believe is that 16% of the homeless adults surveyed were veterans. Meanwhile they only comprise 10% of the total population. THEREFORE in the survey amount there was a disproportionate amount of veterans in the homeless category.
So your point is?

That isn't an error. That could quite well be true.

Now either I've completely missed the point of this whole "not proof reading" issue, or my interpretation was correct in the error I pointed out. I don't see what you posted above has any relevance on what I said.
I'm not sure what you're argument with mugs was but this seems quite possible and I wouldn't doubt it either.
General attitude and it appeared he misread the OP. No argument, only attempted clarification.
 
  • #19
BobG
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The point was that the numbers cited were blatantly wrong. Even saying 16% of homeless people are veterans when they only comprise 10% of the population is a little misleading since males are more likely to be homeless and males are also more likely to be veterans.

Generally, the number of programs to assist homeless people should affect how many are homeless. There's more programs to assist women (especially women with children) than there are males and there's also more programs to assist veterans. So, you'd expect veterans to have a lower homeless rate than males, but a higher homeless rate than females. If the statistics don't match the programs available, then you have to look at how effective the programs are (which is really the only significance of the statistics - with no context, they're just numbers).
From the http://www.huduser.org/Publications/pdf/2009_homeless_508.pdf] [Broken] (way down on Exhibit 3-1 on page 23):

About 63.7% of adult homeless people are males. Veterans made up 9.7% of the population and the huge majority of veterans are male. Just as a starting point for a ballpark figure, I'd expect up to 13% of homeless being veterans, maybe as low as 10%. In the 2009 report, 11.1% were veterans which falls somewhere in the range I'd expect.

Increasing from 11.1% to 16% of homeless in such a short time is a huge increase and is a valid reason for concern (that still doesn't mean that 16% of veterans are homeless - that would give a ridiculous number of 5.4 million homeless vets when, on any given night, there's only somewhere between 600,000 to 900,000 homeless people total).

Another interesting tidbit out of that paper. 37.8% of homeless were disabled, except that characteristic, too, is one specific to males. The typical homeless male tends to be 30-50 years of age and have a high likelihood of having a disability. The typical homeless female tends to be younger than 30 and have children but no physical disabilities. Obviously, the problems of homeless females with children are deservedly given a much higher priority than single males, so female homelessness is much more likely to be for short durations than males. Family members are probably also more likely to step in for homeless female relatives, as well. Hence females making up only a third of the homeless population.

I think there's a chance of the disabilities and the veterans group overlap (but I really don't know), since about 2.4% of veterans have a 70% or higher disability rating. That winds up being a pretty large number when compared to the overall homeless group (and perhaps that makes the numbers just a little more disgraceful if your veterans are homeless because of the disabilities they suffered serving their country).
 
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  • #20
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So your point is?

That isn't an error. That could quite well be true.

Now either I've completely missed the point of this whole "not proof reading" issue, or my interpretation was correct in the error I pointed out. I don't see what you posted above has any relevance on what I said.


General attitude and it appeared he misread the OP. No argument, only attempted clarification.
You certainly seem to have general attitude as well.
 
  • #21
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You certainly seem to have general attitude as well.
You took my post and implied what I was saying was incorrect. I wasn't disagreeing with mugaliens about homeless figures being higher, but your response was as if what I was saying somehow had a bearing on the 'number of veterans being homeless is actually higher' issue. It didn't, I was simply pointing out what the error being discussed. I have a right to be annoyed at misrepresentation.

Mugaliens on the other hand misread the OP and attacked.
 
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  • #22
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You took my post and implied what I was saying was incorrect. Your response was as if what I was saying somehow had any bearing on the 'number of veterans being homeless is actually higher' issue. It didn't, I was simply pointing out what the error being discussed. I have a right to be annoyed at misrepresentation.

Mugaliens on the other hand misread the OP and attacked.
I was just pointing out that mugs was not, I believe addressing any sort of 'error' in the article he was basically saying what I said (I think). You posted after his post as though what he had said was wrong and the numbers might have been wrong but it was still possible.
 
  • #23
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I was just pointing out that mugs was not, I believe addressing any sort of 'error' in the article he was basically saying what I said (I think). You posted after his post as though what he had said was wrong and the numbers might have been wrong but it was still possible.
He said:
mugaliens said:
If you think homeless vets are a "gaffe," you're completely without a clue.

I work with homeless vets. Do some (better) research, "pal."
In response to:
russ_watters said:
Yet another overnight editing gaffe...
What he said was wrong, he misinterpreted the OP (I think) and felt that Russ was saying the homeless issue is a "gaffe" and not the fact the front page numbers (as per my post) were a problem.

Again, I'm not arguing the actual figures.

Everyone take a step back and breathe deeply. Back to the OP.
 
  • #24
BobG
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He said:

mugaliens said:
If you think homeless vets are a "gaffe," you're completely without a clue.

I work with homeless vets. Do some (better) research, "pal."

In response to:

russ_watters said:
Yet another overnight editing gaffe...

What he said was wrong, he misinterpreted the OP (I think) and felt that Russ was saying the homeless issue is a "gaffe" and not the fact the front page numbers (as per my post) were a problem.

Again, I'm not arguing the actual figures.

Everyone take a step back and breathe deeply. Back to the OP.
Actually, this discussion illustrates what's wrong with making news gaffes like that. The headline was so ludicrous that it trivialized the content of the story. And I could see where just pointing out the difference between the headline and the content and going no further could be interpreted as "The headline said it's a problem when it's not". An incorrect conclusion, but it wouldn't be particularly shocking to see someone interpret it that way. People often read entire books into single sentence replies. You can say that, in itself, is a mistake, but it's a common mistake of people.
 
  • #25
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Actually, this discussion illustrates what's wrong with making news gaffes like that. The headline was so ludicrous that it trivialized the content of the story. And I could see where just pointing out the difference between the headline and the content and going no further could be interpreted as "The headline said it's a problem when it's not". An incorrect conclusion, but it wouldn't be particularly shocking to see someone interpret it that way. People often read entire books into single sentence replies. You can say that, in itself, is a mistake, but it's a common mistake of people.
That may be so, but was it the intention of the OP and did it deserve the response?
 

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