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Gov't Proposes Massive Homeless Tracking System

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the bagged-and-tagged dept.

Privacy 808

Chris Hoofnagle writes "The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a massive system of tracking for homeless people and others who are served by shelters and care centers. The system will track people by their SSN, and will collect health (HIV, pregnancy) and mental information. Secret Service and national security agents can gain access to the database by just asking for it! EPIC has released a fact sheet on HMIS, and the public can comment on the guidelines until September 22, 2003, but no electronic comments are being accepted."

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Good deal (-1, Troll)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736710)

Sounds like a great idea.

Re:Good deal (2, Redundant)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736805)

And once this is in place, you're next.

god forbid! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736711)


jeepers creepers!

save our souls!

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736714)

FP baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe! YEAH! ALL YOU OTHERS FAIL IT!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

No, we need to track politicians, dammit! (5, Funny)

corebreech (469871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736715)

WozNet suppositories for everybody on Capitol Hill!

Re:No, we need to track politicians, dammit! (5, Funny)

Uruk (4907) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736845)

No, we don't need to track politicians. We already know where all of the crack houses, bordellos, cheap motels, and liquor stores are. On the off chance that they're actually in session, we also already know where the Capitol is, thanks.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736716)

Homeless b.wolf cluster?!

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736719)

Big Brother?

Re:1984 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736818)

Wow, you're original. What're you, a fucking parrot? Get a life, bitch.

Re:1984 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736877)

In the book 1984 the homeless are free to do what they want pretty much so your point is incorrect.

Not to be cruel, but... (5, Insightful)

SoVi3t (633947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736720)

Couldn't this money be spent in a better way? Better shelters, lower income housing, etc. We don't need to track them. We need to help remotivate them, and get them back into society.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (2, Troll)

IFF123 (679162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736774)

For homeless, increasing the level of their life is better.
For government, increasing accountability of "unvanted" elements is better.
PS: Only for homeless, right?

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (5, Insightful)

Magic Thread (692357) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736825)

Only for homeless, right?
Sure, it's only for the homeless... for now. Don't count on it staying that way.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736797)

You rotten Communist!

Don't you think that if we had known who the penniless homeless were, we could have prevented the massive attack on 09/11/01? They are begging for spare change, and using it to buy AIRLINE TICKETS!

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (1)

rbullo (625328) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736801)

The point of the tracking system is to prevent fraud. We don't want clever theves getting at the taxpayer's money, now do we?

But there has to be a better way than this. Ideas, anyone?

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (4, Funny)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736865)

The point of the tracking system is to prevent fraud.

then we should have mandatory tracking for all major ceos! the enron debacle came in at about $4 billion... that's a lot of food stamps.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (5, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736817)

I wish I had mod points for the above.

20-25 percent of homeless people are seriously mentally ill.

http://www.nrchmi.com/facts/facts_question_3.asp

They're sick, get sicker, and cause more problems for everyone around them, including other homeless, because they can't really get treatment for their diseases.

If we're spending money to try and improve the situation of the homeless, making more free mental and medical help available will do a hell of a lot more than a tracking system.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736824)

We need to help remotivate them, and get them back into society.

Why do you assume they're unmotivated and not already involved in society?

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (4, Insightful)

SoVi3t (633947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736913)

.....perhaps I assume they're unmotivated and not involved in society because they're homeless, not working or putting any money into the economy (unless you count the bottle of wine they buy every once a week). I have NOTHING against homeless people. I was homeless for a short period of time when I was younger, and it opened my eyes. There are more than enough ways for homeless people to get back into society. There are shelters, welfare, care programs, and so much more. It does take awhile, but you can get back on your feet. You just have to work for it.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736914)

hell...if you have not noticed, there is even a homeless rights group headed by a homeless man!!!

these people are happy being homeless and untrackable. talk about real freedom.

me? I like the chains of societal slavery that having a home and a steady job give me.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (2)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736863)

most homeless are not homeless for lack of money, they are homeless because they are frigen nuts!!!

of cource that was not true until the states closed the long term mental hospitals and set a hord of loonies out on the system.

also, many homeless are happy being homeless.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (1)

ealar dlanvuli (523604) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736912)

Wow, I take it you are close friends with some homeless people, and they shared these facts with you?

If not, those are some crazy steriotypes.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (5, Funny)

gantzm (212617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736864)

They're not homeless, they're residentially displaced.

Somebody should the track the Politically Correct crowd, they're the ones to watch out for.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (2, Interesting)

kudos200 (698269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736866)

i think that's the point though: getting them back into society. it seems like they feel they can improve efficiency with this stuff, and use the money spent on low income housing, etc more effectively, which would help more of them "get back into society."

wouldn't it be worth it to spend a small amount of money on "tracking" if it meant a greate increase in the effectiveness of the help given to the homeless?

i don't know how effective the tracking is, or if it's worth it, but it might be. maybe spending the money there will get more people into homes, etc. or maybe not, who knows.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (2, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736867)

Yes we do need to track them.

We're tired of getting all those fake, inflated numbers of how many there are. Knowing how many homeless are really out there is a vital statistic.

The bullshit about this has gone on too long. Let's have some real numbers.

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736876)

Reminds me of a spoof of 'Wild America' from a few years ago...where they stalked and tagged some homeless people (I smell someone getting offended already). Anyway...

This could at least provide some data on where they go and what they're doing. It could actually assist with what you propose. Consider how and where they should be motivating these people....spend money in the wrong place, and therefore has little effect, and funding could be snatched away for many years to come. I hate all the excessive planning the government is notorious for, but this isn't such a bad thing IMHO..

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (3, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736889)

Well, being someone who actually lives in an urban environment (as opposed to suburbanite /.ers) I can say that these people do need to be tracked for their own benefit. Many of them cannot access social services precisely because they do not have a stable mailbox or other contact system. The government is unable to contact them with important information (such as the death of a family member).

Many homeless don't want housing - there is little stable work for them, and a house ties them in place, while wandering from shelter to shelter allows them to be opportunistic with work (such as summer picking and carnival gigs that pop-up all over the place). Having a tracking system that would allow the government to stay in touch with them while they are on the move would be helpful.

Still, this sounds like its being misused, tracking them like animals. They are human beings, and this violates their human rights to improper search. You would not want a police officer to be able to access your medical or personal information whenever they want - so why should the homeless be denied that?

Re:Not to be cruel, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736915)

I think the point is that tracking them should save a lot of money that would have otherwise been lost due to fraud. There is a *huge* amount of fraud being committed by people who are homeless/poor. Or, rather, people who otherwise wouldn't qualify for these programs and handouts if it weren't for their fraudulent activity. And sometimes it's people who fraudelently pose as people who *do* qualify.

I find this idea to be incredibly orwellian and I don't understand what the secret service or special agents have to do with tracking fraud and the homeless... That part scares me a bit. Like maybe they'll "disappear you".

Also, a lot of homeless people do not have social security numbers or any forms of identity. After all, they're homeless. And since when did not being able to afford a home or find a job become a crime in America?

I agree that something should be done to avoid rampant abuse of social programs, but I don't think that improperly invading privacy is one of them. Check that someone is authorized to recieve a service. Check that they are who they say they are. But it should never become available knowledge to anyone inside the government or outside, if you have HIV, are pregnant, have a history of mental illness or anything else. Those things are all very private and should remain between yourself and your doctor. It is frightening that we may now tag and release every homeless person in the country like they were some sort of animal.

I heard they put RFID tags in their ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736721)

where can I sign up? And the RFID tag is the size of a zucchini, right?

We can talk about them here (0, Troll)

WebMasterJoe (253077) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736724)

It's easy to talk about homeless people in online forums because they won't notice what we're writing! Not that I am in favor of tagging the homeless. I just find it humorous, like making fun of Amish people on TV.

Re:We can talk about them here (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736764)

Actually, a lot of homeless people use computers at the library.

Re:We can talk about them here (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736837)

> Actually, a lot of homeless people use computers at the library.

Yes but I guarantee you they don't read slashdot.

Re:We can talk about them here (1)

WebMasterJoe (253077) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736846)

Crap, you're right. I was thinking of the ones who always ask me for money or cigarrettes. Ever been to Penn Station? Not a lot of readers there.

Re:We can talk about them here (2, Insightful)

wavecoder (695422) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736810)

That's pretty tasteless. Most homeless people never aimed to be homeless, but they can't, realistically, get out of that condition, again. Try it sometime - give away your cash, credit cards, house, car, computer, phone, alarm clock... and see if you can get a steady job that pays you more than it costs to eat and replace your clothes as they wear out. It's not funny - it's tragic.

Wireless ethernet? (1)

Daverd (641119) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736813)

Careful. Some of them might have laptops.

Hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736729)

This would lend credence to that San Francisco plan to issue the homeless credit card readers so that people without cash could still donate.

Re:Hm... (1)

The Other White Boy (626206) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736822)

i may have just been fished in (most likely), but if this is anywhere near serious, i'd love to see that news article if someone has a link.

Don't forget... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736730)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you fat fucking anal-fisters.

Re:Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736868)

But we're homeless and we can't afford it. If we had money, we wouldn't be using crappy Linux in the first place.

For a safer society, we should track every one (2, Insightful)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736731)

and perhaps imprint on all those who don't resist a number.

Makes you wonder what Revelations the department of Home Security will find.

Re:For a safer society, we should track every one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736857)

Your comment made me think that we really need a voluntary bar code tattoo in this country.

I'm always arguing for privacy against my Republican family. They say, "Only criminals need privacy blah, blah, blah."

Then I realized they'd probably do it. The rest of us really would be screwed then.

Re:For a safer society, we should track every one (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736881)

Why not slap a yellow star on them too, for easier identification from a distance?

Excuse me, but are people completely blind to what's happening and deaf to the cries from history?

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:For a safer society, we should track every one (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736920)

of course it is easiest to start with the homeless. Afterall it's ALL THEIR FAULT that they are homeless. Most of the population could give a rats ass if we tag them. "It will be good for the nation!" "It will stop terrorism!"

First they came for the homeless...

Great. (2, Insightful)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736733)

Now that guy on the corner wil be right about the government tracking him.

I mean, seriously, a lot of these people already wont go into treatment as it is, why give them one more reson not to.

I call... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736734)

BS! Fuck the Gay niggers association of america...

Works for me... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736738)

Now if only we could track spammers this way.

Yeah, and like that isn't likely to be exploited.. (1)

rushfan (209449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736739)

I can see the argument for doing this, however I also know this would lead to privacy issues, and abuse by various and sundry gov't agencies. It's sort of like having a briefcase full of someone else's money and promising not to go shopping.

Later

... and the sidewalk's their bedroom? (1)

zptdooda (28851) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736741)

Entities that provide services would collect their names, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, race, gender, health status (including HIV, pregnancy, and domestic violence)

Wouldn't domestic violence require a domicile? Or do they mean the number of times they're kicked while sleeping on a grating?

*shrug* (1)

NivenHuH (579871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736747)

I wonder when they'll start making auto manufacturers put tracking devices into cars so they can track us.. =)

Why do we kill Kenny? Because he's poor. (5, Insightful)

rdewald (229443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736750)

So, the bottom line here is if you want government benefits you have to give up some privacy in order to get them. Why don't we just ear-tag the homeless with RFID's and track their migration like an endangered species?

There are a significant portion of the hard-core homeless that will simply stay off-grid, that's why they're homeless in the first place, they decline to participate. Now, these people won't be able to stay anonymous and get fed or get medical care from the government. My suspicion is that the govt. knows this well and is anticipating a reduction in cost while being able to issue press releases about the decline in the numbers of homeless as they stop coming to the clinics and kitchens.

This is analogous to the reports in the declining unemployment rate reflected in lower numbers of people collecting unemployment insurance. It doesn't count the people that have given up, or have turned to the black/gray market for a living.

Re:Why do we kill Kenny? Because he's poor. (1)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736809)

But I wonder -- if Linux is used to program these ear tags, will Darl McBride own the entire homeless population?
He could form an army! Oh no!

(Good for SCOX stock price, bad for us.)

Re:Why do we kill Kenny? Because he's poor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736834)


So, the bottom line here is if you want government benefits you have to give up some privacy in order to get them. Why don't we just ear-tag the homeless with RFID's and track their migration like an endangered species?

Sounds like a helluva good idea to me. Want to keep your "privacy"? Stop sucking the public tit.

Re:Why do we kill Kenny? Because he's poor. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736862)

Why don't we just ear-tag the homeless with RFID's and track their migration like an endangered species?

That's what I was going to suggest. They could start a tag-and-release program; let the public hunt down and "register" the homeless. Sort of like an alternative to deer hunting season.

Re:Why do we kill Kenny? Because he's poor. (4, Interesting)

namespan (225296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736901)

There are a significant portion of the hard-core homeless that will simply stay off-grid, that's why they're homeless in the first place, they decline to participate.

Dead right. And despite the fact we call it paranoia, slashdot paranoia is absolutely nothing compared to real paranoia. I have a paranoid schizophrenic aunt, and for the implication of every program like this, there's a very real chance she'd risk starvation before going to social services agencies.

Here's a better idea - give them somewhere to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736751)

Oh wait, this is the USA.

Re:Here's a better idea - give them somewhere to l (2)

gotvim (610753) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736850)

right, as opposed to all the alternative countries that you know of that give away housing? name one! btw, it's us taxpayers that flip the bill for homeless programs, so, I think it's a small price to pay for valuble research that could be gained from this.

Good to see. (1, Insightful)

JMZero (449047) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736752)

After all, why do you need rights if you don't even have a house?

I think they should extend this to people in condos, mobile homes, or with insufficient equity.

Wait a Minute... (0)

00Sovereign (106393) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736755)

You mean to tell me that my government can afford to implement a massive tracking system for homeless people, but always seems to leave someone else holding the bag when it come to rehabilitating / helping them out?

Re:Wait a Minute... (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736925)

i guess since this is important enough to make a law about, we must have gotten Bin LAden and Hussein and i just missed it cause im a hardcore Farker

Darn it! (1, Funny)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736761)

Now with the homeless being tracked, we cant shoot them for sport anymore!

Oh wait, you didnt *wink wink* hear that...

Re:Darn it! (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736855)

Your *suggestion* sounds like a movie that starred Ice-T. You might want to look that up on the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com). It appears on broadcast television on Saturday afternoons in syndication. Charles S. Dutton (Alien3, Fox's "Rock") also starred in it... I think it was called "Surviving the Game." Not to be confused with that similar Van Damme film directed by John Woo..."Hard Target"...

First Obvious Big Brother Comment (2, Insightful)

Shockmaster (659961) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736771)

I hope that no one is actually considering this in any sort of "real" sense. Besides, is homelessness a temporary or permanent thing? Would you be opening these accounts to track on every kid that ran away and stopped by a soup kitchen for some food, or only the "terminally homeless"? Also, how do they plan on tieing an individaul to an account? I sincerely doubt that the majority of homeless people are going to give government officials their truthful name or SSN. Maybe we can implant them with chips the same way zoologists track endangered species or farmers track cattle!

This will make it easier.... (1)

SoVi3t (633947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736773)

....to hunt them all!!! BWA HA HA *Grabs a shotgun*

Great idea! (2, Insightful)

Magic Thread (692357) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736778)

And how long before they start tracking everyone in this way? Sure, it seems okay when you apply it to faceless masses of homeless people, but soon they'll be tracking all of us like this.

Re:Great idea! (4, Insightful)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736902)

And how long before they start tracking everyone in this way?

What a naiive question. The reason they need to start tracking the homeless and not "the rest of us" is because they already are tracking "the rest of us." Try to buy a home or even rent an apartment without some sort of government ID. Hell, you can't even get electricity where I live without giving the electric company your social security number.

Re:Great idea! (1)

k1llt1me (680945) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736909)

I hope that was sarcasm! They already are tracking all of us! Think about it :)

What if they don't have an SSN? (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736783)

I'd imagine a large percentage of homeless people don't. What if they lie about the information they give? Is it going to be mandatory to show some kind of ID?

Re:What if they don't have an SSN? (1)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736842)

I was wondering the very same thing. I'm sure most homeless people don't remember their SSN (if they ever got one in the first place). So does this mean that homeless shelters are going to refuse to help anyone who can't remember their SSN? Probably not (at least I hope not). But once a few get away with not supplying their SSN, the others will wonder why they have to. Most of these poor souls are paranoid as it is. Pretty soon, they'll stop giving their SSNs, even though they remember them.

Please, let's just use the few dollars our society has set aside for helping them in a more constructive way.

GMD

Re:What if they don't have an SSN? (1)

PhiltheeG (688063) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736899)

Or due to dementia and/or alcoholism, can't remember their SSN...

If homeless people can't be tagged, tracked ... (1, Flamebait)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736784)

branded and eventually rounded up for "relocation", then the terrorists win.

Plus it's really good practice for later with potential future enemy combatants (those who don't vote correctly, express non-patriotic views, etc.)

NONONONO (1, Flamebait)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736788)

Just because some of us don't have money and houses, doesn't mean that they don't have the right to their own lives without government tracking.

John Ashcroft, you cocksucking voyeur, mind your own business.

Sounds like a good plan. (4, Interesting)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736790)

Fine with me. So long as you also provide the list to Habitat for Humanity [habitat.org]

May be bad, but also good. (4, Insightful)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736793)

While I understand how Privacy Advocates might go to arms over this, I think there are benefits to the people who are tracked.

As I recall, there have been instances in the past where mentally handicapped have been confused by cops as criminals and shot or wrongly imprisoned. To be able to determine someone as mentally handicapped would be beneficial as the person may not him/herself be able to notify the officer he/she has a problem. Also, this would help hospitals treat patients they have never seen before, as it could assist them in identifying a mentally ill person that needs a specific form of medication.

But I guess you could say that the risks outweigh the benefits, and you are possibly correct.

Good luck (4, Insightful)

Uruk (4907) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736794)

Well, it's good to want things like this, but I don't think it will really happen. Homeless people tend to be trasients, which means they're going to be hard to track. Additionally, most don't use legal names (preferring assumed names and nicknames), and may invent social security numbers. Others will be illegal immigrants who won't appear in any other record.

Why can't we take the collective ingenuity that it would take to build a privacy invading system like this and bend it towards helping these people rather than tracking them? By helping them, there'd be fewer to track!

Homeless repulsion system, more like it (1)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736799)

Given the percentage of mentally ill homeless, does anyone think this will do anything but drive them from help?

I don't miss much about Christianity, but the "no questions asked" help for the destitute is sorely lacking today.

Hey Mister! (4, Funny)

LiftOp (637065) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736802)

"The government put a tracking device in my teeth!! No, seriously....!!"

Think of all the money we'll save in mental institutions letting these guys we THOUGHT were nuts back out...

Run for the border... (0, Flamebait)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736807)

That's it. I'm moving to Canada.

Oh No!! (1)

tunabomber (259585) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736812)

What if the governement makes all this information to spammers and direct-mailers?

Too Invasive (5, Insightful)

photoblur (552862) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736814)

"Entities that provide services would collect their names, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, race, gender, health status (including HIV, pregnancy, and domestic violence), veteran status, and income information."

This sounds way too invasive. It concerns me because once things like this are manditory for homeless people (it sounds like this system is moving that direction), then it will slowly be introduced to the masses.

Start with the outcasts of society as to make a quiet entrance. Then work your way up.

I don't like it.

That's good.. (5, Funny)

preric (689159) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736820)

Because one morning I came out to my parking space (I live in an apartment near the beach) to catch a homeless man 'cleaning' his ass crack on the corner of my truck's bumper.

He quickly ran off... I was still in shock and not sure if I should chase him down, let alone know what to do with him once caught, but now I can track him down and do the same to his shopping cart.

Sweet revenge!

Terrorists? (1)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736823)

Secret Service and national security agents can gain access to the database by just asking for it!

I wasn't aware that (homeless people == terrorists)

Why not use this money than to do something productive - like provide affordable housing, psychological counselling and medical care for them?

Now I Get it! (1)

bob670 (645306) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736828)

The Bush adminstration and lobbyist continue exporting I.T. jobs. Then our unemployment benefits run out, we end up homeless, etc... Then they fund a massive study on the migration pattern of unemployed/homeless nerds.

I can save them lots of time and money, once unemployed and homeless, cut off from our broadband connections and linux boxen we will all migrate to the nearest adult bookstore where we squander our last few dollars on pR0n!

Serious note though, worst idea ever. This wreaks of a pilot program to chip all of us. Why do I suddenly feel like making an anonymous cash donation to the local ACLU chapter? Where's my disguise kit???

Under the radar (1)

SirLanse (625210) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736840)

I thought most homeless were trying to live under the radar. Have no one to answer to and no one to bother them. Make no money, pay no taxes.

Read between the lines (5, Insightful)

rot26 (240034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736841)

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a massive system of tracking for homeless people and others

They're not going to let this go away. This is just ANOTHER back-door version of TIA. We're going to see it introduced, again and again, under various disguises until they get it implemented. You can expect to see tracking systems suggested for the homeless, pedophiles, drug dealers, spouse abusers, bail-jumpers, tax evaders, etc etc and so on and so on, (each one being some particular organizations "most wanted") until it's actually implemented. And like stone soup, once it's in place, it will be "upgraded" to include everything that anybody ever wanted.

Easier Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736847)

Wouldn't it be an easier solution to kill them all?

5 time 5 time 5 time!!! Spinaroonie! (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736853)

Congress has indicated that jurisdictions should be collecting an array of data on homelessness, including unduplicated counts, use of services and the effectiveness of the local homeless assistance system. HUD has been directed by Congress to work with jurisdictions toward this end and be able to analyze local homeless data by 2004.

This is about assessing the actual problem of homelessness with some accuracy, so they can find a solution. The problem is noone knows how many there are that are homeless. Is that kid with the squeegee looking for handouts homeless, or some suburban brat trying to make some easy money? (I personally know middle class douchebags who did just that).

EPIC's writeup puts the whole "individual tracking" spin onto it. The troublesome homeless are already individually tracked in a sense, the local cops already know their names and disorders and whatnot. This is HUD trying to get an idea how many people are homeless, for how long, and where, by way of a Congressional order.

You cant attempt to solve the problem without defining it first.

Ie; most of the homeless funding these days gets concentrated in big urban centers. But there are homeless folks in every little podunk town from coast to coast who are ignored, because Mayberry has no soup kitchen.

Open Source HMIS Being Worked on (1)

sleeeper (210375) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736861)

The field of HMIS software is dominated by commercial entities. I have been working on an open source HMIS, that is rapidly being modified to fulfill the new federal requirements.

The sourcefoege site can be found here: here [sourceforge.net]

A very updated version of the demo can be found here [66.92.195.134] .

Use the login/password 'dorytildon' and 'droppingblue'

Like any tool, HMIS systems can be used for good or ill. Many grass roots, homeless advocates have pushed for the implementation of HMIS systems in thier communities, because they can significantly improve the services delivered to homeless persons, while honoring thir privacy. The motivations of HUD requiring this HMIS implementations may not match the advocates, but that does not mean HMIS's are inherently bad.

Monitoring sometimes to the person's own interests (2)

Empiric (675968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736870)

This is one of the few forms of government monitoring I'd actually be in favor of.

A large percentage of homeless people are, in fact, mentally ill. Having the government aware of their whereabouts is the least of their problems. And having some historical data available on them could be an aid to helping them; how effectively could you respond to someone off the street if you have no data or contextual indicators on their state or condition? I think the argument can also be made that if someone wants to avail themselves of free support, making note of information on them can be considered part of the bargain. Once their situation improves, the tracking stops, if the source of the data are the shelters and care centers. Dealing with mental illness is profoundly difficult even with the best information available.

(And I do have some very-near-aquaintance, personal experience with this, so factor that into my comment as you like...)

This could assist bum-fighting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736874)

The prodicuers of bum-fights could easily track new fighters for their videos this way!!!!!

What's the Point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736875)

Honestly, what point would there be in tracking the homeless? It's not like they're migratory birds and their migration patterns signify ecological change or anything.

The only real point to this would be if the feds assigned some arbitrary funding amount to help each homeless person and then used the tracking system to route part of that funding to an agency in their vicinity. Even then, it would seem more reasonable to just take a count of the homeless people in a given area and base federal funding on that number.

If the feds believe there's some sort of terrorist threat hiding among the homeless, why haven't we heard about it before now? And it seems unlikely that a hardcore terrorist would go to ground in the homeless community, where pushing a bomb in a shopping cart would be more conspicuous than keeping it in a closet somewhere.

It just seems like pork to me. Somewhere, some Undersecretary of the Interior has a Rain Man kid who feels compelled to catalog everything in his house, and this program has been developed solely to give him constructive work to do.

HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE TERRORISTS (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6736880)

I knew it all along. Finally the gubment has wised up and is starting to keep an eye on these evil doers.

In any case, the next time you see some bum yaking a leak under a bridge be sure to call John Ashcroft ASAP and let him know about that terrorist bastard pissing on America.

Money better spent. (0)

mesmartyoudumb (471890) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736885)

Homeless people are a renewable source of energy.

Who came up with this? Were they high? (1, Insightful)

chia_monkey (593501) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736887)

C'mon...the SSN thing alone is nuts. First off...if I went homeless, I'm doing it because I'm broke, destitute, and can't function in society (either by choice or forced) anymore. I'm NOT going to give out my SSN to be tracked. Take my student loans and debts and choke on them while I disappear in my meager existence. Second, what if I simply don't have one or don't remember it? THEN what do we do? Seriously? I could be an illegal alien, never got one...who knows.

And then the other issues. Like I want to stand in line and get my blood drawn for HIV tests and such? I just want food and shelter damnit.

What is this for? Who thought it was a good idea? And just WHAT is the good idea? Tracking? Tracking for what?

Employ all the homeless... (1)

ruzel (216220) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736896)

By having them push giant wheels to turn generators to keep the next backout from happening! C'mon. It's not a hard job -- anybody can do it!
_____________________

Why? (1)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736897)

Not to be coy, but why do they want this data? I want specifics of what they plan to do. What decisions are going to be made on the data? I can think of several possible reasons that one might give, some good, some evil. Unfortunately, I bet none of those reasons are correct. I really suspect that this proposal is a result of the typical beaurocratic line of thought: "We don't know what to do about the problem, so we will collect data that nobody has asked for. In this way, it will look like we are doing something."

No electronic comments? (Flamebait) (1)

vbprisoner (676611) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736900)

So I guess that means that the ejercated people won't bother responding, because they don't know how to right any more, and the homeless ones won't know about it till it's too late anyway. Gets it through easy enough. Next we can start on the blacks and women - hey let's put the next law through /. - It's only read by white men!

The State of America is just that - a state.

How many homeless? (0)

Channard (693317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736907)

When I first read this topic I had visions of homeless people being electronically tagged and someone producing a portable Wi-Fi tracker in reverse allowing people to avoid the homeless. I must watch too much sci-fi.

I hope this information - or at least general statistics about it rather than specific names - will be made available to the various homeless support groups out there. After all, people have to sit up and take notice when definite statistics on homeless deaths and the number of people living on the streets can be produced. Assuming, of course, what qualifies someone as 'homeless' doesn't get redefined by those producing the statistics before they get released to pressure groups and the like.

didn't RTFA, but... (1)

EZmagz (538905) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736908)

I mean, this sounds extremely lame. Basically file this one under invasion of privacy, right with the rest of the huge gov't databases that are out there.

My question is how do they REALLY expect to track most of these people? A lot of homeless people are renoun for their absolute need to "get away" and to not fit in with society anymore. Good luck getting their SSN when they check into a shelter somewhere in NYC. Sure, there's tons of others who are just down on their luck and will do anything for a warm meal and a place to sleep. But there's still the group of people who are struck by mental illness, and who will NOT buy into this.

Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. Just coming from some observations I've had.

Care Not Cash (2, Interesting)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736917)

One of the benefits of a system like this will be that the government agencies that give money or care to the homeless will not have to worry about people coming in under five different names to collect their benefits. I'm a developer for the city of SF and worked on the Care Not Cash system after it was voted in. One of the highlights was creating a fingerprinting system to stop homeless people from abusing the system like this. Privacy advocates went nuts, but the bottom line was to stop the abuse. It saves money and gives money to the people who need it in the long run.

Hey! I'm homeless (-1)

scumbucket (680352) | more than 11 years ago | (#6736921)

I'm homeless (currently living out of my Mercedes) and I find this whole thread offensive.

CmdrTaco, please delete this story. Thank you.
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