Patterico's Pontifications

7/26/2009

Homeless Women in Denver

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 10:11 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s Denver Post online has an article about a homeless man who died in a local mall. It’s a compelling human interest story that also illustrates the challenges society faces with the homeless population. Buried in the article was this statement:

“Every year, the homeless coalition hosts a candlelight vigil for men and women who died on the streets during the previous year. Last December, volunteers read the names of 22 men and 142 women who lived and died on the streets of the Denver metropolitan area.”

I don’t know if these death statistics are accurate — I couldn’t find anything that verifies them — but if so it’s surprising. Most large American cities have significantly higher rates of homeless deaths for males than females. In addition, as of 2005, homeless women comprised just 38% of the Denver homeless population.

Maybe the numbers in the article were inadvertently transposed or the number of homeless females has jumped dramatically. If not, homeless women seem to be at an extraordinary risk in Denver.

[EDIT: The more I think about this, the more I think the reporter must have transposed the numbers for male and female homeless deaths. These numbers can’t be right but, if they are, that’s the story the Denver Post should be covering.]

UPDATE: The numbers were transposed. Thanks to Mike G in Corvallis, who found the link I couldn’t find.

— DRJ

13 Responses to “Homeless Women in Denver”

  1. You’re right. They were transposed.

    According to this:

    They read the names of 164 people who lived on the streets of the Denver metropolitan area and died during the past year. Twenty-two were women, 142 were men.

    Mike G in Corvallis (70f47e)

  2. I used to take my students on tours of the homeless shelters in LA. It seemed to me that about 1/3 were women but they may not be totally representative as they may be more likely to go to shelters. Contrary to newspaper and TV versions, homeless women with children are quickly moved to special shelters for families. They are off the street in hours unless they hide.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. Mall crews are trained, Reed said, in how to be kind to everyone — tourists, drunks, harried office workers and the homeless. So they asked Johnson to move so he wouldn’t get hosed off along with the sidewalks.

    you know who rocks? mall crews.

    happyfeet (c75712)

  4. Thanks, Mike G in Corvallis. I’ve updated the post with your link.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  5. The printed edition had the same error.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. The Post needs more editors. Mike G would be a good choice.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  7. One explanation for the transposition can be the liberal left’s natural tendency always to portray women in a worse condition than men.

    “World Ends–Women & Minorities Hardest Hit”

    ManlyDad (060305)

  8. You can’t verify many statistics about the homeless just by the nature of it. And keep in mind there’s a percentage of homeless people who would have been institutionalized decades ago for mental illness and such. Now they’re out on the streets. Better, or worse? A lot of people were subject to horrific abuse in many state institutions.

    And would you rather have it understated? Then what small amount of funding is available would get cut. It’s also reasonable to assume the numbers of homeless have gone up with the bad economy.

    JEA (e10a81)

  9. JEA:

    You can’t verify many statistics about the homeless just by the nature of it.

    But you should be able to accurately report the ones you have.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  10. JEA, the homeless in LA about five years ago were 60% psychotics and 60% substance abusers. About half of each group was both. About 10% are situational cases and most of those are short term. I always took my freshmen students to the shelters and to skid row to see where their County patients lived (a lot of them) and how foolish it is to do things like tell people to take a medicine every four hours or to prescribe meds that have to be refrigerated.

    In the shelters, especially the Downtown Dropin Center on San Julien, most of the volunteers are former homeless who are now living in SRO housing created by remodeling old downtown hotels. It’s a very interesting experience for a medical student.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  11. The numbers were transposed, but there is no doubt that homeless women are at an extreme disadvantage.
    Female homeless are raped, robbed, beaten, whored out,and enslaved.
    Female homeless that choose to go solo and not hook up with a male protector (who often whores them out) attract predatory males. It is awful.

    I walk around and in the course of doing that, I talk to the street folks and when I find a female who is “solo” I walk past and say good day or whatever and then sometimes I get a safe distance (for their sake) away say “hey, I’m gonna leave you something to help out over here…” I’d put $5 somewhere they could see and get safely. Then I turn them my back and walk away so they feel safe and like there is no creepy strings attached.
    I usually do not give homeless cash, but I make an exception for needy women particularly those who look new to the streets.

    One of the saddest things a woman ever told me was that when I had handed her some money, that some guy came over and punched her and robbed her of it after I left.

    I’ll never forget though the woman who was insane and off her meds who started screaming at me that I just wanted to f*** her like everyone else and…. it echoes down the street and everyone is turning and looking at me like I just made a clumsy proposition…

    Being alone and helpless amongst idiots is no way to go.
    I learned that lesson on the freight cars when I hoboed around. No one can help you if you are on a freight car rocking through the outback, no one is gonna know to stop the locomotive, you are stuck for untold hours.
    Even though that ended well for me via a high speed exit and a long walk, that taught me some stuff and I’ve always been empathetic towards women who are trapped.

    God’s blessings be on those who donate to womens shelters.

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  12. I once saw a homeless man in Philadelphia who had frozen to death as I walked to work.

    In Philadelphia, they force homeless people into shelters when the temperature drops below a certain point. This compulsory relocation the police must accomplish is a city ordinance. Sometimes they miss people.

    Maybe we should reconsider the consequences of the closing of those big state mental hospitals in the 60s.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  13. SteveG –

    Never, ever hand them money. Give them food, but not money – and you will be amazed at how many refuse the food.

    You are not helping them by handing them money.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)


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