Report: Nearly 14,000 people homeless in Oregon, up 6 percent from 2015

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A new report found that nearly 14,000 people are homeless in Oregon.

Oregon Housing and Community Services released its 2017 Point-in-Time Homeless Count on Tuesday.

Every two years, communities across Oregon assist in reporting the number of people living in sheltered and unsheltered locations, demographic trends surrounding homelessness and the unmet needs of homeless families.

The statistics were compiled in January.

According to the report, there are 13,953 people in Oregon without a permanent home. That number is a 6 percent increase – 777 more people – compared to the last count in 2015.

The report cites a lack of affordable housing, a low housing supply and a growing population as primary factors for the growth.

“Tens of thousands of people are simply unable to afford these rising housing costs and have had to sleep in shelters, in their cars, or on the street,” according to the report.

Multnomah County has 30 percent of the state’s homeless population and saw a 9 percent rise in the number of homeless people over the last two years.

The Point-in-Time report found that homelessness of people under the age of 24 years old represented 12 percent of the overall count.

The report states, “All people of color, except Asians, are overrepresented in the homeless population.” African-Americans make up 2 percent of the overall population in Oregon, but account for 6 percent of the homeless population, according to the report.

Native Americans make up 1.1 percent of the total population, but represent 4.2 percent of the homeless population.

White people represent 88.1 percent of the total population in Oregon and account for 81.2 percent of the homeless population.

The number of homeless veterans decreased by 9 percent from 2015, with researchers citing increased attention and resources focused on finding housing for veterans in Oregon.

The 2017 Oregon Legislature provided $40 million in funding to support the Emergency Housing Assistance program and the State Homeless Assistance Program. Another $1.5 million was approved to assist homeless veterans in the state.

"The progress we're making to meet the housing needs of veterans is encouraging, and I'm proud we were able to dedicate additional funding this session to ensure every Oregon veteran has a roof over his or her head," said Gov. Kate Brown. "Still, we have much work ahead to provide safe and affordable housing options for children, seniors, and families in communities across the state."

The Oregon Housing and Community Services report is available online, as is an interactive map that shows information on homeless people by county.

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