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Economic indicators -- Analysis, Economic conditions -- Oregon


Individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Washington County are a growing community challenge. Services provided to the homeless population have tended to focus on providing support in cases of emergency, and by doing so are unlikely to address the root causes of homelessness. There is a growing recognition nationally that concentrating on provision of emergency services might be both inefficient and unnecessarily expensive. Recognizing these issues locally, Vision Action Network (VAN) and its partners have taken the initiative to both better understand homelessness in Washington County and to encourage progress toward its solution. As one part of that effort VAN commissioned the Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) to examine certain aspects of spending related to homeless persons in the County. This study’s purpose is to provide community leaders with an idea of how much money is spent on emergency services for homeless persons in Washington County. It explores four major areas of emergency costs (medical services, law enforcement, mental health services and emergency shelter) by examining records from 10 service-providing organizations in the County. These organizations furnish a good cross section of services, but likely do not capture the costs of all services rendered to homeless persons.

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Portland State University. College of Urban and Public Affairs. Northwest Economic Research Center