Homelessness in Oregon Continues to Rise, HUD Reports

The annual homelessness snapshot from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was released last week, and it paints a sorry picture for the state of Oregon.  

According to HUD’s point-in-time estimates, the state’s homeless population has increased by 9.7 percent since 2018. Furthermore, the data suggests that homelessness began increasing rapidly around 2012-2013, and continues to do so.  

However, the worst rates can be found in California, which saw a 16.4 percent increase since 2018.    

A press release from HUD states that “While the rest of the country experienced a combined decrease in homelessness in 2019, significant increases in unsheltered and chronic homelessness on the West Coast, particularly California and Oregon, offset those nationwide decreases, causing an overall increase in homelessness of 2.7 percent in 2019.”  

There are some bright spots to the report. The majority of states, as well as the District of Columbia, actually reported decreases in their homeless population. The number of homeless veterans, families with children, and unaccompanied youth went down by 2.1 percent, 5 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.  

Chronic homelessness, on the other hand, grew by 8.6 percent, concentrated mainly on the West Coast.  

“As we look across our nation, we see great progress, but we’re also seeing a continued increase in street homelessness along our West Coast where the cost of housing is extremely high,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Addressing these challenges will require a broader, community-wide response that engages every level of government to compassionately house our fellow citizens who call the streets their home.”  

By Brandon Urey