Homelessness -- Oregon -- Portland, Homeless persons -- Oregon -- Portland, Homelessness -- Government policy -- Oregon, Homelessness -- Social aspects
The Count provides important information on the people who were counted living unsheltered, in emergency shelter, and in transitional housing (collectively the “HUD homeless” or “literally homeless” population) the night of Jan. 23, 2019. As always, the date of the Count and the definition of homelessness that determines who is counted were set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Regional Research Institute of Human Services at Portland State University (PSU) led the unsheltered portion of the Count, which is referred to as the unsheltered count. At our request, PSU staff also conducted a separate count of neighbors whom the community would still consider homeless, but who do not meet HUD’s definition: students living involuntarily doubled up on couches, living room floors, in basements, etc. (the “doubled-up” population), using school district data. The report for that count is available in section 10.3 2019 Point in Time Doubled Up Report.
This year the Count identified 2,037 people who were unsheltered, 1,459 people sleeping in emergency shelter and 519 people in transitional housing. In all, the Count found 4,015 people who met HUD’s definition of homelessness.
Compared to the 2017 Count, the total number of people identified as homeless in Multnomah County fell slightly, down 3.9% — even as affordable homes and living-wage jobs remain scarce for people on the edge.
That’s partly because of our community’s ongoing work to expand access to rental assistance, critical support services and supportive housing — and our pursuit of policy changes that stabilize tenants.
For example, the number of people receiving assistance from our homelessness response system to find and maintain permanent housing during the time of this year’s Count was 50.5% higher — 12,480 people — than at the same time two years before. Without this assistance, thousands more people in our community might have shown up in this year’s Count.
Even as the overall number of people counted as HUD homeless has decreased since 2017, there are important variations in the data. The number of people counted in some groups fell substantially (e.g. families with children) while others climbed notably higher (e.g. those who are severely disabled and experiencing longterm homelessness). These variations are discussed in detail in this report.
City of Portland; Home Forward; A Home for Everyone; Multnomah County; City of Gresham; Conklin, Tiffany Renée; Mulder, Cameron; and Portland State University. Regional Research Institute, "2019 Point-in-Time: Count of Homelessness in Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County, Oregon" (2019). Regional Research Institute for Human Services. 63.