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.
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