PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - With the Portland area still struggling to address its problems with homelessness, the numbers show even people who do successfully find housing often end up back on the streets.

A report by the Portland City Budget Office found that in 2017-18, verified retention rates for those placed in permanent housing was down to 59%.

In 2018-19, the rate was down to 55%.

"That's of course a concern, and we immediately started trying to understand why is that happening," Marc Jolin, who leads the Joint Office of Homeless Services said.

Jolin said the numbers could be lower or higher, because the data counts people staffers were unable to contact as having lost their housing.

Regardless, Jolin said it's clear that people transitioning from homelessness to being housed need more support.

The recently opened Blackburn Center in East Portland hopes to help in that regard.

The center provides supportive housing for more than 100 people, offering health care, treatment services, and job training.

"When people move into housing, they often need support in learning how to live well in housing. They need support in getting to the services that are going to help them to be healthy," Eowyn Rieke, Blackburn's Services Director said.

Lisa Greenfield, a peer support specialist at Blackburn, recalls her own experience struggling to adjust to life off the streets.

"I just didn't really know how to be a responsible adult," Greenfield said. "Just learning how to stay clean, be responsible, budget, learning how to grocery shop. All of those things were kind of a struggle for me at first."

A study commissioned by Multnomah County recently found there is a need for at least 2,000 more units of supporting housing in the area.

600 units of supportive housing are currently in development.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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(4) comments


The problem I keep running into is people circulating damaging information about me to employers, who immediately respond by restricting employment opportunities. No income, no housing.

The last landlord I had in Portland made open harassing comments and gestures about one of my tax returns from almost a decade prior, and enabled a community of people to join in that he was acquainted with. They even dug up lewd photos from decades ago that I didnt know existed. So if you're homeless in Portland and you cant maintain housing, I would look more into unnecessary security company intervention in your life. Once there is a background check performed or you change your address for the state, hundreds of people are able to gain access to the information and pretty much do whatever they want with it, including humiliating you in your own home.

A lot of homeless people are simply ugly, resemble criminals, or had a bad past. Those things amount to open discrimination and harassment in Portland. Place is overrun with bigots and whack jobs in the KKK.

Why would I want to live next door to a guy that has a fake parking enforcement officer's uniform and walks around at 4 in the morning doing God knows what with it or have my dogs prescription meds tampered with by the postal carrier and the staff? Move somewhere else, it may not be better than Portland but at least you tried.


As one former homeless person once put it, "Not allowing a homeless person to hit rock bottom isn't helping."


Exactly !!!

Terrell Higgs

Why it's happening? Easy, they just don't want to follow the rules. You can be as loud and as drunk and high on the streets as you want.

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