Portland is not alone in combating the current housing epidemic. Cities and municipalities up and down the West coast, as well as many other pockets around the country, are experiencing many of the same problems. Rising rents, stagnant wages, exorbitant health care costs, and limited housing supply all explain, in part, the why so many people are struggling to maintain stable housing.
In our community, change has happened quickly across the city and it is sometimes difficult to grasp the problem, let alone the solutions. Since 2009, however, researchers have conducted regional bi-annual Point in Time Counts of people experiencing houselessness . The most recent snapshot, from a night in late February 2017, counted 4,177 people, some in transitional shelter, some in emergency shelter, and some on the street or in camps, in tents and vehicles.
The results of that Point in Time Count revealed that while our community had experienced a 9.9 percent increase in the total population counted (4,177) in the 2017 Portland Point in Time count compared to the 2015 Portland Point in Time count (3,801), because of the expansion of emergency shelter, the number of people counted in shelter beds increased from 872 in 2015 to 1,752 in 2017, a 100 percent increase.
With the abrupt closure of the Human Solutions no turn-away family shelter in early 2018, the numbers are growing again and the need is particularly desperate. People who were part of families with children made up 15.7 percent of those who were experiencing homelessness on the night of the count. Community of Hope is an active part of the effort to find safe places for people with children to stay.
The Point in Time count did not include people who are sharing the housing of others for economic reasons (a situation frequently referred to as “doubled up”), but an analysis of available data from local school districts indicates that there are at least twice as many households with school age children attending public schools who are living doubled up than in 2015. Families with children are often in this category because they will lose their children if they do not have a safe place to live, so doubling up or living with an abusive partner in return for a place to stay is very common.
Other Resources for Understanding the Scope of the Problem
Homelessness Snapshot from Transition Projects
You can support Community of Hope today in building capacity to meet this expanding need. Please give today to help us meet our $50,000 year-end campaign goal before January 1st or join with us in “Dreaming Big in 2019” to begin the process of expanding to a second North Portland location. Sign-up to learn more about our Future Foundation Initiative here.
Become part of the solution.