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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Oahu unsheltered veterans reported in PIT 2024 likely underestimated by more than 100%
By Selected News Articles @ 6:07 PM :: 762 Views :: Honolulu County, Hawaii Statistics, Homelessness

Oahu unsheltered veterans reported in PIT 2024 likely underestimated by more than 100%

Count also finds 700+ empty shelter beds on Oahu

by Michael Ullman, Ph.D.

The recent 2024 Oahu Point in Time Count report released by Partners In Care shows a significant underestimate of unsheltered veterans due to the methodology of the report. The number of unsheltered veterans reported 124 out of 1,224 adults interviewed or 10.1% of the unsheltered population. This estimate fails to extrapolate to the full population of 2,654 unsheltered adults. A simple estimation would yield 271 unsheltered veterans using the 10.3% prevalence found in the sample or more than double the current number report. There is no reason to believe that those not interviewed are less likely to be veterans.

This is the third consecutive year Partners-In-Care has utilized the incorrect methodology. A review of the data by the National Homeless Information Project (NHIP) found that the unsheltered veterans total was taken from a 37% sample in 2022 and a 49% sample in 2023 without any extrapolated estimate for the entire unsheltered population. The 2023 sample questioned 1,161 unsheltered persons about veteran status representing 49% of the total 2,365 unsheltered population. The 2024 sample questioned 1,196 out of 2,654, or 45% of the total adult unsheltered population.

In August 2023, the NHIP alerted the HUD field director as well as the Oahu Continuum of Care about these data problems. There is currently no quality review performed by HUD on local homeless point in time counts. The NHIP finds errors in a majority of reports it reviews around the country that are made publicly available. The NHIP has written extensively about how much of the reported large decrease in homeless veterans and unsheltered persons during the 2007 to 2015 was due in large part by poor quality homeless counts including large overestimates in several cities.

In addition to the problems with the veterans count, the Oahu PIT 2024 showed that 745 emergency and transitional housing beds were unfilled on the night of the count. This unfilled capacity represents slightly more than one-quarter of the unsheltered population. The 2024 PIT Count report found a total of 1,728 occupied beds out of 2,473, or 70% occupancy. This rate represents an increase from the PIT 2023 homeless bed occupancy rate of 64%. Some unfilled capacity is common due to turnover and household size accommodations at some housing facilities, which should typically represent less than 5% of capacity.

Among the unfilled capacity includes approximately 40 veterans beds that can be filled only through approval by the Department of Veteran Affairs and operated by several Oahu service providers.

The National Homeless Information Project (NHIP) is a volunteer-run initiative that disseminates information nationally about homelessness and advocates for a better understanding of modern homelessness. It promotes the explanation that modern homelessness should not be understood as a problem of affordable housing by rather is singularly fueled by the rise of single-adult households, changes in societal family norms since the 1960s, and anti-family HUD housing subsidy policies.

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PDF: % sheltered all cocs.pdf (nhipdata.org)

BACKGROUND: How DHS Policy Change Drives Homeless Count UP, UP, UP

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