Wednesday, May 7, 2014

who brought the old man in

Every night, by cold bricks’ glow
I watch the shadow rising from this old man in the snow.
At 8:02 we let it go.
At 8:02 we let it go.

Let’s just get on with this, already. Jedson O’Reilly is the only homeless person in Punxsutawney. He dies alone in an alley on the biggest holiday in town. The people of (film-)Punxsutawney are assholes.

Evidence, you ask?

In 2012, as published in the Punxsutawney Spirit, Community Action, Inc. performed a survey of “unsheltered homeless individuals” in Jefferson County, PA. The county’s total population was listed at 44,764. The survey found there to be only 8 individuals “identified as being unsheltered homeless in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) definition.”

(To be fair, “The HUD defines a household as "unsheltered homeless) only when the individual or individuals are residing in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings or the street.

It does not include people who simply do not have a home of their own, whether they are precariously housed, living in a hotel/motel, doubled up with friends or relatives, living in substandard housing or paying extremely high portions of their resources for rent.”)

Through the entire year of 2011, 176 individuals were “housed temporarily” by Community Action, so it isn’t strictly limited to those 8 people. The survey also found “an additional four individuals and one family consisting of two adults and three children were identified as homeless but not meeting with the HUD definition of unsheltered homeless.”

Still, that’s a dozen people in a county of nearly 45 thousand. By the way, Jefferson County includes 8 boroughs, 23 townships, one “census-designated place” and one unincorporated community. Punxsutawney does happen to be its largest borough, but the published survey results do not specify where the 12 “unsheltered” people were.

For further information, in 2004 and 2005, for example, there were no murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, or auto thefts reported in the county (which makes me wonder why 556 residents were institutionalized). 13.3% of residents lived in poverty in 2009.

(Some of this new information comes from city-data.com. where I also found some stats that would have been useful the last couple days. For example, about 15% of women in the county between the ages of 30 and 35 (remember I narrowed Phil’s window down to 30-34) had never been married, and less than 10% were separated or divorced.)

In 2010, and getting back to that parenthetical about institutionalized residents, well:

People in group quarters in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania in 2010:
  • 460 people in nursing facilities/skilled-nursing facilities
  • 168 people in college/university student housing
  • 96 people in local jails and other municipal confinement facilities
  • 27 people in emergency and transitional shelters (with sleeping facilities) for people experiencing homelessness
  • 16 people in group homes intended for adults
  • 7 people in other noninstitutional facilities
  • That’s 774 individuals. Similar numbers for 2000 totaled 929, with no listing for those “transitional shelters” listed above. If I had to guess, the higher number in 2010 resulted from economic troubles related to the recession.

    Anyway, I don’t suppose there were any more than 12 “unsheltered” back in 1993 and Jefferson County actually had a few more people back then—in 1990, it had a population of 46,083, more than a thousand more than it has today. Roughly 15% of the County Population was in Punxsutawney. Since Punxsutawney is not exactly an urban center, I choose to assume that the “unsheltered” population is not isolated there. I’ll give the numbers the benefit of the doubt and say maybe, maybe there were two homeless people in Punxsutawney in 1993.

    But that just makes Punxsutawneyans assholes twice. Can't help out a nice old man, ya jerks.

    Disclaimer: I am talking about film-Punxsutawney, so don’t go getting offended if you happen to be from the actual Punxsutawney. I’m sure you are all nice as can be to homeless people.

    Today’s reason to repeat a day forever: to feed the hungry and house the homeless.

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