When an institution needlessly exaggerates the severity of a situation, it diminishes the plight of the true problem.
That’s the case with USD 259, the Wichita public school district, when it reports that 1,200 Wichita schoolchildren are homeless.
As reported in the Wichita Eagle story 1,200 Wichita school kids are homeless, if you do a little arithmetic, the number of children that are in what any reasonable person would call a “homeless” situation is less than 500.
Of the 1,200 that the Wichita school district claims as homeless, 700 live with another family. They’re not homeless, at least in any meaningful sense of the word. A comment left to the Eagle story got it just right:
It is sad when children are in this situation, but I must protest the massive headline and small disclaimer above it. If you read the article, the true number of homeless kids is about 500. The feds and their counting guidelines … they’re all about creating victims and giving school districts another way to collect more federal funds for surrogate parenting. If a child stays with friends who have taken him/her in, that child is not homeless. It may not be ideal, but it may actually be a better situation than the one they’d be in with their real parent(s). As time passes and people forget the details in this article, all they will remember is the deceptive headline, and they will quote that number (1200) time and time again.
The comment writer is correct. This needless victim-creating diminishes the problem of the true homeless.