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Lest we forget

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Chart shown is the second part of a 2 page chart that begins on p. 28 of the 2015 State of Homelessness report (.pdf). The rate of homelessness for veterans in D.C. is 145.8.

More here.

D.C.’s effort to end veteran homelessness.

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  • Just_Dropping_By

    Any thoughts on why Nevada appears to be so bad relative to the other states on the chart?

    • Warren Terra

      I think maybe the better question is whether Nevada is worse than other states for veterans, or it’s just that much worse for all homelessness – and, indeed, the whole chart lacks context for how much homelessness each state has.

      And: while we owe veterans a special debt, shouldn’t we be trying to done all homelessness in order to have a better society, not just homeless veterans?

      • Hogan
        • If I’m reading that chart correctly, NV has the second-highest ratio of homeless people in the country (behind only NYState, which is an immigrant city and bankrupt environs).

      • Denverite

        I was wondering about this. This chart is only the states from Montana on. Do the numbers for other decent weather (or at least non-cold) states reflect the same thing? AZ, FL, CA, HI, etc.?

        • Denverite

          Annnnnnnd looking at the full chart, it appears that they mostly do. California and Hawaii are well above the national average, and Florida is by a little (as is Colorado — contrary to popular belief, the winters in Denver are fairly mild, notwithstanding the 3-4 inches of snow we got this morning).

          • Michael Cain

            Micro-climates as well. I haven’t biked along the South Platte River trail in the winter lately, but there used to be a substantial group of homeless who camped there. The river seldom freezes, especially the stretch downstream from the Cherokee power plant. Close to the water, and under the bridges that cross the river, there’s a warmer micro-climate except for the very coldest stretches. IIRC from my time working on the budget for the legislature, there’s a large bump in overnight head count at the Denver shelters during those coldest periods.

            • Denverite

              I haven’t biked along the South Platte River trail in the winter lately, but there used to be a substantial group of homeless who camped there.

              Cherry Creek trail between Downing and Confluence Park as well. Except in the very coldest weather, you’ll see homeless camping out under most of the bridges.

        • Michael Cain

          The places on the other half of the chart that are above the line are CA, DC, FL, HI, and MA. CA is a bit higher than NV, and DC is twice as high as NV. There’s clearly some correlation between high overall homelessness and high vet homelessness.

          • And DC, as linked above, has made a major effort to combat the problem.

            Bill DeBlasio has announced an initiative specifically targeting Veteran homeslessness, but Rudy the Firefighter Killer has been back-benching about the need for “tough love.”

        • matt w

          I had the thought about weather too, but then what’s up with Vermont, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska?

          • Denverite

            I’d guess re: NY and MA that’s it’s an urban-rural thing. Homeless vets are much more likely to hang out in cities, and the populations of NY and MA are disproportionately urban. That would be my guess, at least.

            No clue VT, ME and AK. OK, for Alaska, I’d guess that it’s “easier” to be homeless because there more shelter spots on a per capita basis because if you’re homeless in Alaska, you either find a shelter spot, you move somewhere else, or you die.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I’m surprised, as I would have thought NV weather would be a deterrent to homelessness — deadly hot in summer if you don’t have reliable access to air conditioning, combined with not uncommon below-freezing overnight lows in winter even in Las Vegas.

  • yet_another_lawyer

    EDIT: Meant to be a reply to the first comment, but I’m bad at internets.

    Completely uninformed speculation: A disproportionate number of people go to Vegas, lose everything, and end up staying. Overall, the distribution is not what I would expect at all. There is no obvious correlation (although it would be informative to see it overlaid with the overall homeless rate).

    And, of course, DC always looks worse in stats like this, because it’s entirely urban. Compared to other cities, it is probably not such an outlier.

    • Warren Terra

      I suspect more likely explanations include Vegas being the fastest growing community in the US before the 2008 crash, and it having the worst and worst recovering effects of the real estate crash. The relatively high number of low skill jobs and the mild winters may play a part.

    • NonyNony

      DC always looks worse in stats like this, because it’s entirely urban. Compared to other cities, it is probably not such an outlier.

      Note that Virginia is surprisingly low compared to the national rate, which might lend some evidence to your argument (if VA homeless are migrating into DC rather than sticking to the VA urban centers). If Maryland were on that graph and showed similar numbers that would be more evidence.

      What’s the context for the graph? Neither of the links seem to be the source.

      • Neither of the links seem to be the source.

        Updated.

        • Anna in PDX

          Thank you!

        • NonyNony

          Yes – Thanks!

  • Pingback: Balloon Juice | Happy Veterans Day()

  • DrDick

    I note that Montana is worse than average. Of course, our Republican Congress critters and state legislators are all very “pro-veteran” Rep. Zinke even is one) and always eager to create more of them by supporting all insane military ventures. When it comes to doing something for them after traumatizing and mangling them, not so much. Might lead to higher taxes, don’t you know!

    • ringtail

      I note that Montana is worse than average. Of course, our Republican Congress critters and state legislators are all very “pro-veteran” Rep. Zinke even is one) and always eager to create more of them by supporting all insane military ventures. When it comes to doing something for them after traumatizing and mangling them, not so much. Might lead to higher taxes, don’t you know!

      I completely agree with your post and think that sentiment applies to conservatives in general.

      My thoughts boil down to two points:

      1) The military being disproportionately non-white, anything to truly help veterans is going to help people of color and vice-versa anything that helps people of color is going to help veterans.

      2) It’s deplorable that the only way you can be guaranteed reasonably priced housing, food, medical care, education and a livable wage (in one of the wealthiest countries in the world!) is to sell your soul into a lottery where you might get maimed, killed or have to maim and kill.

      If you really value our veterans, give them a world where serving isn’t some Faustian bargain (not to mention don’t spend their lives on frivolous wars…) Give them a country that’s worth coming back home to. Honor their choice to serve by unencumbering it from the specters of systematic racism and poverty.

      Oh and not to mention support LGBT issues. We’ll never know how many LGBT people have served and serve now. Every time I hear some conservative make a homo or transphobic remark when the issue of LGBT servicemembers comes up I want to punch them in the mouth. Especially if they never served!

      I could write all night because this is one of my pet peeves but I’ll stop there.

  • Dave W.

    If you look at the map and table on pp. 26-27 of that report, it’s clear that the rate of veteran homelessness by state is really unstable year-to-year, so we should be careful about attributing too much significance to the numbers of a single state in a given year. Nevada was up 44% from 2013 to 2014 (950 to 1,369), so it would have looked very different the year before. Texas was down 29.9% in the same period (3,878 to 2,718). DC was high in percentage terms, but it was down 18.6% from 2013 (499 vs. 406). I suspect some of this reflects individuals moving around the country, some reflects measurement error in what is a difficult population to measure exactly, and only some of it reflects the effects of local policies and the local economies.

    Also, having a low homeless population does not necessarily result from policies that are favorable for the homeless. Cities in central California used to be infamous for the “Greyhound mental health program” – they would buy local homeless people one-way bus tickets to the Bay Area (where, to be fair, there were more programs available for the homeless), which pushed their homeless rates down and the Bay Area’s rate up. Something like that could be going on state-to-state here.

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