homelessness seems to be in the eye of the beholder in Key West especially

I heard from two people yesterday that this endearing sex-change photo in yesterday’s chainsaw massacre – Florida Keys school district honchos gene pool post did not show on my websites, although it’s on them when I go there:

chain saw massacre

Meanwhile, from Nashville J yesterday:

homeless terrorist

Sloan:

So, do you believe the count????

Big drop in Keys homeless, new census shows

Key West Citizen – Friday, February 8, 2013

‘Snapshot’ shows 658 homeless Keyswide, including children

BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff gfilosa@keysnews.com

The Florida Keys on Jan. 29 were home to 658 homeless men, women and children, according to an extensive on-the-ground census that showed a dramatic drop since 2002 when more than 2,000 homeless were counted.

Forty-six percent were living outside on their own, including two families with children, according to the 26-page report released late Wednesday.

Of the 658 homeless who met the federal definition of homeless, 353 people were living in emergency shelters such as Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter, or KOTS, the city’s overnight shelter on Stock Island that can hold up to 140, and the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter in Tavernier, the report said.

That left 305 people living on the streets, in mangroves, abandoned buildings or derelict boats — with almost three-quarters of them in the Lower Keys. Sixteen percent were in the Upper Keys, while 11 percent were in the Middle Keys.

The 658 number included 105 children who met the federal definition.

But the School District reported a total of 288 homeless children in 2013, including the 182 students who lived “doubled up,” meaning they share another family’s home and remain in unstable living arrangements.

The School District uses a different federal definition than the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allowing for those doubled up.

Organized by the newly formed lead agency on homelessness, the Monroe County Homeless Services Continuum-of-Care, Inc., this “Point-in-Time” census was the first on-the-ground survey since 2011.

“This was by far the most extensive, exhaustive count we’ve ever done in Monroe County,” said the Rev. Steve Braddock, chairman of the continuum. “These are good numbers. But I can’t emphasize enough that it’s impossible to get a Point-in-Time count with 100 percent accuracy. The nature of homelessness makes that impossible. You can’t find everybody. Homeless people could be working a full-time job.”

More homeless doesn’t mean more funding, Braddock said. In fact, these days federal, state and private donors expect a “return” on their investment.

“They’re not just throwing money at numbers,” said Braddock, who is also president of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition for the Homeless.

The Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) had been reporting the annual census, as required by the primary source of federal funding for homeless services, HUD.

But in January 2012, SHAL decided to only count the homeless people staying at temporary shelters, including the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter.

Last fall, SHAL’s board of directors voted to quit the role of the county’s lead agency and focus all efforts on managing the city’s shelter and the city-funded “Mobile Outreach Program,” in which a case worker tools the streets of Key West in a Recreational Vehicle looking for homeless people in need.

Mayor Craig Cates said the census results are proof that the island is moving in the right direction, having enacted tougher vagrancy laws while expanding homeless services such as the RV, which started in late 2011.

“It just shows everything we’ve been doing in Key West with SHAL and KOTS and the panhandling ordinance, a combination of a lot of things is working,” said Cates, who in 2009 was elected on a platform that included addressing the homeless issue. “The things that we put in place are paying off.”

Cates said that SHAL has been reporting a similar lower number over the past couple of years but that some in the community didn’t believe it.

“We’re making it more difficult on the ones that just want to scam the system and live here,” said Cates. “We’re making headway on the ones that really have a problem.”

More than 80 percent are white, and nearly three-quarters are men, according to the interviews that volunteers conducted while out in the field.

A quarter of the homeless found in the streets reported having alcoholism or drug addiction, while in the emergency shelters more than half of the people said they suffered from the illness.

Almost 30 percent of the unsheltered homeless cited a physical disability, while the figure for those sheltered was 16 percent.

Not everyone interviewed agreed to answer every question on the form, organizers said.

The federal guidelines do not count the 171 people in Monroe County living in “permanent supportive housing,” such as Samuel’s House in Key West, which houses women and children in need, AIDS Help housing programs and FKOC.

Without these housing programs, Braddock said, many of the 171 would be unable to live on their own.

In addition to the 658 counted, the census also found 99 inmates in the county jail who were homeless, picked up and arrested for violating municipal ordinances such as trespassing or drinking alcohol in public.

The county jail in 2012 held 111 homeless inmates, down from 181 in 2009, and 138 in 2010, the report said.

The county jail on Stock Island costs $80.40 a day to house an inmate, the report said, compared to the less than $8 per person that KOTS costs.

“It’s clear from this that the Monroe County Detention Center is operating as a very expensive homeless shelter,” said Braddock, who crunched the numbers as part of the survey.

Over the past 10 years, those 99 inmates have spent a combined 62,224 days in jail, Braddock found. The math adds up to a 10-year cost of more than $5 million.

One inmate had been arrested 77 times over the past decade, while 26 have been booked into the county jail at least 25 times during the same time period.

The all-time lower census count of 658 homeless people in the Keys didn’t surprise Braddock, but he called the apparent criminalization of those without a place to live staggering.

“This is just the cost of incarceration,” said Braddock. “It doesn’t include public defenders, courts, law enforcement. You start doing the math and it’s huge. I just believe some of that money could be directed toward prevention.”

gfilosa@keysnews.com

=========================

I replied to Nashville J:

Hi, J -

I saw the article in The Key West Citizen this morning and figured I might get into it in tomorrow’s post, but I was trying to figure out a way to use it without being accused of hijacking it off their website and infringing their copyright, and – Voila! – your email hijacked it for me :-) .

Short answer to your question, No, I don’t really believe the numbers. Nor, it didn’t seem, did Father Stephen Braddock really believe the numbers.

Consider this from the article:

“The federal guidelines do not count the 171 people in Monroe County living in ‘permanent supportive housing,’ such as Samuel’s House in Key West, which houses women and children in need, AIDS Help housing programs and FKOC.”

People living in homeless shelters aren’t homeless? Cowabonga!!!

“The county jail in 2012 held 111 homeless inmates, down from 181 in 2009, and 138 in 2010, the report said.”

A homeless person in jail is not included in the homeless count? Shazam!!!

I loved Steve’s analysis of the jail homeless shelter, and the massive cost thereof to the entire county of Key West’s homeless policy. If I were the Sheriff, I would not put up with it. If I were the County Commissioners, I would tell the Sheriff to stop putting up with it, or have his budget docket dollar for dollar for putting up with it.

I really liked it that, for a change, Steve was interviewed and given the most voice in the article, instead of people from SHAL and City Hall. Steve actually knows the terrain. He views anyone who does not have a private residence as homeless, which view I share with him.

I imagine there are a good many homeless people living in vehicles and sleeping on friends or relatives’ couches, who didn’t make into the surveyor’s binoculars (crosshairs). I imagine there were street people who didn’t get spotted. I imagine there were street people who made sure they weren’t spotted.

It may be true, however, that there are fewer people living outside in Key West; but for Mayor Cates to say the count proves his plan is working, is a bit disingenuous.

I don’t see reported statistics saying homeless shelters in Key West have more “occupants” than, say, last year, or the year before, or the year before that, which was when Mayor Cates was implementing his homeless policy.

I don’t see reported statistics saying homeless people quit being homeless.

I imagine some street people grew weary of being harassed by Key West police, and they moved away.

I imagine more upscale homeless people, who lived in vehicles, slept on couches, lived in shelters, found the cost of living in Key West too high and moved away.

I ran against Cates in 2009, and I never heard him say anything during that race about his homeless policy, other than he saw homeless as something that needed to be addressed. It was not an issue at candidate forums. It was not an issue in newspaper interviews of candidates. It became a big issue after his daughter ran over and killed a homeless man who apparently walked out in front of her car.

This part of the article is catawampus:

“A quarter of the homeless found in the streets reported having alcoholism or drug addiction, while in the emergency shelters more than half of the people said they suffered from the illness.”

If the homeless surveyors had eyes to see, they would have seen that 90 percent, or more, of the homeless found in the streets were addicts.

If the surveyors had eyes to see when they were at KOTS at night mingling with the homeless, they would have known 90 percent were actively on booze and/or other drugs.

My experience in the FKOC shelters was that 90 percent of the clients and the monitors and supervisors were recovering drunks or addicts, and, as time passed they all didn’t stay on the wagon and in FKOC, and some of them who graduated went back to their drug of choice.

In sum, J, anyone can spin numbers.

Meanwhile, not infrequently, I wonder what it will be like if I am homeless again in Key West. I wonder if Mayor Cates will apply this in the article to me:

“We’re making it more difficult on the ones that just want to scam the system and live here,” said Cates. “We’re making headway on the ones that really have a problem.”

I wonder if Mayor Cates will apply that to me, whom he warmly thanked for getting him elected in 2009 without a runoff, and then he invited me to be on his Mayor’s Homeless Advisory Committee because, he said, I knew so much about homelessness because I once was homeless, and then he kicked me off the Committee without telling me he had kicked me off the Committee?

I wonder if Mayor Cates has multiple personality disorder? Rhetorical question. He’s a politician.

I wonder if Mayor Cates has a secret list of homeless people, whom he and his confederates have changed into people who live inside and pay rent or mortgages without any help from anyone else?

I wonder what part of the system I scammed when I was homeless? Food stamps? Soup kitchen? Clothes pantry? No. I didn’t pay rent. I didn’t make mortgage payments. That was how I scammed the system.

act of God

I wonder if God is going to call Mayor Cates out? Sincere question.

Maybe more later …

Sloan

===========================

P.S. Excerpts from a follow up article in The Key West Citizen today:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

24-hour homeless shelter planned

Proposed project for College Road property still in its infancy

BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff gfilosa@keysnews.com

Now that a Florida Keyswide homeless census has been released, the city of Key West has some numbers to go on as it plans its first 24-hour comprehensive shelter.

The numbers came in at 29 percent fewer homeless residents, at a grand total of 658 versus the estimates of the last two years, 926.

Mayor Craig Cates, who since his election in 2009 has promised — and delivered — more services along with stronger vagrancy laws, says the drop shows Key West is on the right track in addressing the issue.

“Now we’re at a point where what’s left needs help,” said Cates. “That’s where the homeless shelter will help. We’re moving forward with the size of the facility and a design for it.”

********************

Craig CatesCraig Cates

“I’m definitely not an expert, but I believe we’re going in the right direction,” said Cates.

********************

Anyone may receive a copy of the report by emailing MonroeHomelessCoC@comcast.net.

Current shelter

Since 2004, Key West has provided one homeless shelter on Stock Island where, these days, 140 men and women bunk nightly and are escorted out by 7 a.m.

********************

Cates said the homeless shelter is the No. 1 priority.

********************

Those behind the point-in-time count who work daily in the field say the city cannot force anyone to spend time at a shelter, which Cates envisions as a one-stop service provider where people may eat, sleep and receive help finding jobs, benefits for which they are eligible and, eventually, get their own place or a ticket back to their families.

“I’m not opposed to having a 24-hour facility that first and foremost will service the elderly and the disabled and infirm so they’re not out on the street,” said the Rev. Steve Braddock, chairman of the Monroe County Continuum-of-Care, who has spent 14 years in the trenches helping homeless men and women find permanent housing.

“I would be opposed to any facility simply in the business of warehousing people, and used as a semi-criminalization of the homeless,” said Braddock, president of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, which ran KOTS for the city until hit with the same civil lawsuit in August 2011.

**********************

Mark  RossiMark  Rossi

The lower census figure hasn’t convinced every city leader that Key West’s homeless problem is fading away.

“I think there are probably more,” said City Commissioner Mark Rossi, a longtime opponent of expanding KOTS to a 24-hour center.

“I want it left where it’s at,” said Rossi. “We shouldn’t be enabling homeless people. Moving it down the street 100 yards, what’s that going to do? There are a lot of people not for this.”

While the mayor says he can’t estimate yearly operating costs, or the costs of construction, Rossi’s math shows the city will go from spending $400,000 a year to at least $1.1 million.

The electric bill alone could be $150,000 a year, said Rossi.

“I feel for my fellow man,” he said, “but you have to draw the line.”

============================

There is no legal way Mayor Cates and his disciples can make homeless people “stay on the reservation” during daylight. I agree with Rossi. And, Mayor Cates and his disciples are biting off more than they yet realize, which they will learn in due course. Doubly so, if they force homeless people who are not addicts into a shelter with homeless addicts. Such a move would be insane, not to mention hateful. Mayor Cates and his disciples would learn that in spades, if they would simply sleep one week at KOTS and learn for themselves what it’s like to be couped up with and sleep next to addicts every night. Alas, Mayor Cates and his disciples don’t care about that. I know they don’t care  because about two months ago I told them to their faces at a City Commission meeting that they do not want to put homeless addicts in the same shelter with homeless people who are not addicts, and for them to sleep at KOTS for a week and find out why, and they are moving toward doing it anyway.

act of God

I wonder if God is going to call Mayor Cates out?

I hope so, but it’s not my call.

Jeanie and scorpioJeanie and Scorpio, a pair of Mayor Cates’ criminals

Sloan Bashinsky

keysmyhome@hotmail.com

keysmyhome@hotmail.com

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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