Oct. 13, 2012 - Illinois says it will give away $1 million worth of surplus clothing and other items to homeless people. The surplus items will be distributed to organizations that help homeless people. The AP reports today that the Illinois Department of Central Management Services will donate items that "include boots, coats, sleeping bags and other winter gear. The department is responsible for disposing of surplus state and federal property. Details of the clothing donation will be announced next week."
The AP report included a puzzling figure. It said that "Officials say there are more than 15,000 homeless people in Illinois. The figure is based on a 2011 federal report." AP did not name that report, and the number sounded low to Homeless Patriot, so we sniffed around a bit.
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) website says that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) "identified a record 17,255 homeless students in 2011-12, a 10.7% increase from the prior year’s record."
WOW. That's confusing: AP says that its unnamed "federal report" said there are "15,000 homeless people in Illinois" but that's 2,255 fewer than CPS says there were in Chicago alone. CCH also says that, according to the Illinois State Board of Education, public schools across the state "identified 42,800 homeless students" in the 2010-11 school year. That's a whopping 27,800 more the total number of homeless in Illinois that AP reported.
Bottom Line: Information about the numbers of homeless people are (a) difficult to find, (b) probably misreported sometimes for political reasons, (c) constantly changing as people go into and out of homelessness, (d) defined differently by different entities, sometimes for political reasons.