PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Tens of thousands of people experienced homelessness in 2017 in the tri-county area, according to a new report by Portland State University.
The findings, released publicly on Tuesday and published with data gathered from government agencies and housing organizations, stated that 38,000 people experienced homelessness in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties two years ago.
“The goal in producing this report is to provide information on the scope and scale of the challenges our communities face in addressing homelessness and housing insecurity - not to advocate for a policy position,” said Urban Studies and Planning Professor Marisa Zapata, director of PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative, which produced the report with the PSU Northwest Economic Research Center.
For the report, the PSU team included the following situations as homelessness: living in cars, shelters or on the street as well as temporary stay situations like couch surfing due to loss of housing or economic hardship.
The PSU researchers determined that new funds totaling between $2.6 billion and $4.1 billion would be the estimated cost to provide housing, support, services, operations and administration for 10 years to those experiencing homelessness.
In addition to the 38,000 who experienced homelessness, 107,039 people were housing insecure or at risk of homelessness in the three counties in 2017. To address rent assistance for that population for 10 years, the research team estimated that would cost between $8.7 billion and $16.6 billion in new funds.
The report provided recommendations for how to combat homelessness, concluding that the tri-county area should form an exploratory committee or task force led by a government entity to examine the issues and potential solutions.
The authors of the report hope that it “helps readers develop a better understanding of the scale and scope of the challenges we face when talking about homelessness and affordable housing as well as some pathways for moving forward. The work in front of us can seem daunting; however, through good governance, firm commitments, and hard work, we believe addressing homelessness and affordable housing is achievable.”
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