Oregon’s Homeless Numbers Worsening

ECONorthwest released a report on Oregon homelessness last Wednesday, and it’s painful to read.

For instance, Oregon makes up only 1.3 percent of the  U.S. population, but that state accounts for 2.6 percent of the country’s homeless population. The same report  also finds 150,000 households throughout the state currently so rent burdened, that they are in danger of devolving into homelessness.

The report says, “Oregon’s policy discussion might improve if homelessness were described as two, related crises. One crisis affects a population of individuals with highly challenging personal circumstances who will struggle to remain housed absent sustained, intensive support. A second crisis affects more than 150,000 households: the short-term homeless plus the growing numbers of severely cost-burdened renters on the verge of homelessness.”

The report also finds Oregon not performing well for the chronically homeless, at 4.5 percent of the U.S, total. Our state’s unsheltered population is 4.6 percent of that national total. The most vulnerable are 3,361 individuals in Oregon that are both chronically homeless and unsheltered.

Addressing households on the economic edge, the report calls for increased construction of all kinds of housing, and increased availability of rental subsidies.

The report’s recommendations for high needs individuals is even more challenging, calling for intensive wraparound services, and more emergency sheltering as a last resort. In Corvallis, it is notable Samaritan Health Services will be decreasing residential beds for psychiatric patients.

ECONorthwest is a consulting firm with offices in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Click here for the report.

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