HUD is Playing Orwellian Mind Games

*The Department of Housing and Urban Development definition of “literally homeless”: “Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning: (i) Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation; (ii) Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs); or (iii) Is exiting an institution where (s)he has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution."

This is from Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services talking about HUD's new strategy for redefining homelessness with words instead of actual housing.  This is similar to their functional zero campaign or "complete counts" that are neither and pushing plans to end homelessness that were actually ending homelessness for only a small group.   HUD is becoming a master at using the George Orwell tools for changing reality. 

"Don't Call Me Literally Homeless. I believe I am figuratively homeless!"The latest is the use of "literally homeless" to describe the opposite of the word literally.  Everyone in the world understands the abstract concept of a home, and they also understand the opposite of that concept.  Those who do not work in the shelters or homeless services understand a homeless person is one who does not have a place to live.  The world understands those who pay themselves for a motel room, sleep on a couch, or a basement are in fact literally homeless.  HUD is trying to say that the arbitrary definition made up by a bureaucrat is now "literally homeless."  It is like some kind of sick joke that the Ministry of Love would propose in the world of Big Brother.  Imagine the heartbreak of a family who had the teacher tell them that the school teachers believe that the family is homeless because they are sleeping on a couch or a motel, and then they go to get help from the County and the smug caseworker says, "Sorry, your family is not literally homeless. Come back when you lose everything and are living on the streets because you don't qualify for help." It is horrible to treat taxpayers like this.

Brian Davis

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