‘Point in Time’ count shows jump in Portland homeless population

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Mayor Charlie Hales and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced Saturday that the city and county have received federal recognition for effectively eliminating veteran homelessness in the community.

Hales said Portland is the first West Coast city to meet the federal government's 'Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.'

The challenge from the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires cities to reach a number of specific benchmarks that show a concerted effort to eliminate chronic homelessness among veterans.

Those include getting all chronically homeless veterans into housing within 90 days, continuing to reach out to those who refuse housing and ensuring that the number of veterans being housed each month is greater than the number of veterans becoming homeless.

Hales, Kafoury and Multnomah County's A Home for Everyone coalition joined the Mayors Challenge in January 2015 and since then, with the help of a number of partner organizations, nearly 1,300 homeless veterans have been placed into permanent housing.

Officials said that as of Nov. 28, 2016, they had identified 30 remaining homeless veterans and were in the process of finding housing for 87 percent of them.

Over the past two years, the city and county together have dedicated $30 million of new funding to help fight homelessness in the area, with $2.5 million of that earmarked for veterans.

Efforts to eliminate veteran homelessness have involved partnerships with the Portland VA Medical Center, Home Forward, Transition Projects, Central City Concern, JOIN, Native American Rehabilitation Association and other area nonprofits.

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