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Homelessness Toolkit

City of Portland

Homelessness Statistics

Homeless demographics

The following is a list of general statistics taken from the 2015 point-in-time count, conducted by Multnomah County. Although the overall number of homeless people in Multnomah County between 2013 and 2015 did not change — despite the worsening affordable housing crisis — there are still serious concerns. On one particular night, 3,800 people slept on the streets, in shelter, and in temporary housing, and an estimated 12,000 people were doubled up, many in overcrowded and often unsafe conditions. 

Over the past two years, there has been a 17% decline in chronic homelessness among individual adults; a decrease in unsheltered veterans; and a 27% reduction in the percentage of people experiencing homelessness for two or more years. 

However, this year’s point-in-time count found a 48% increase in the number of unsheltered African-Americans from two years ago. Due to differences in the definition of “homeless” between HUD and Multnomah County, it is still a work in progress to find more accurate numbers of homelessness among communities of color. Nevertheless, supplemental data indicates that levels of homelessness have increased in these communities, including, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians. 

Consider the following data from the 2015 Point-In-Time Count of Homelessness in Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County, Oregon (for details, see the narrative that follows the chart):

HUD Homeless Number: 3,801

2013-15 % of HUD homeless: 14% decrease*

2013-15 % of homeless people who are unsheltered: <1% decrease

3 fastest growing unsheltered populations: African-American adults; women; people older than 55

3 fastest growing HUD homeless populations: African-American adults; women; people older than 55

Description % #
Homeless people who are in shelter 51% 1,914
Homeless people who are unsheltered 49% 1,887
Families with children who are homeless 17% 653
Single adults who are homeless 83% 3,143
Adult women who are homeless 30% 1,161
Adult men who are homeless 58% 2,208
Youth younger than 24 who are homeless 6% 266**
Homeless people who are older than 55 19% 704
Homeless people who are chronically homeless 28% 1,033
Homeless people who are disabled 57% 2,177
People of color who are homeless 39% 1,477
Veterans who are homeless 11% 422
Those who were homeless for less than 6 months 33% -
Those who were homeless for more than 2 years 27% -

*Using 2014 definitions, we would have documented a 4% increase.

**Only reflects unaccompanied youth, not young people in families.

Children & Families

On the night of the count, 374 children under the age of 18 were identified as homeless. Nearly all were in families, and a growing percentage were in families that reported sleeping outside or in their car on the night of the count: A total of 152 people in families, including 76 children, were unsheltered on the night of the count, which is a 24% increase compared with 2013.

There was also an increase in the number of chronically homeless families: 64 of the people in families on the night of the count were chronically homeless, compared with 52 in 2013, and over half of the chronically homeless families in 2015 were unsheltered. Families with children also make up a disproportionate percentage of the report’s estimated 12,000 people who are doubled up or living in motel rooms on any given night. Given that homelessness can have profound negative short and long-term consequences for their lives, we must continue to prioritize ending homelessness among children.

Women

Over the past two years, the number of adult women experiencing homelessness grew by 15% (from 1,089 to 1,161 women). Nearly half of the women surveyed reported having been victims of domestic violence, and 67% reported having a disability. The additional vulnerability of women, and in particular women of color, to violence and severe trauma once they become homeless is well-documented. It must be a priority to take action and to work with our healthcare and domestic violence system partners to provide women the housing options and services they need to reverse this trend.

Older

Our street and shelter homeless population is aging. The number of homeless people over the age of 55 increased by 23% — from 571 to 704 — from 2013 to 2015. As the population ages, we need to evaluate how this trend affects the types of housing and services we provide in our ending homelessness systems.

Disabled

The percentage of people surveyed who report being disabled has not changed significantly but it remains very high (57%) and it is even higher for certain groups (for example, 67% of women report being disabled). Board members with expertise in the area of mental health point out that given the trauma associated with homelessness, a much higher percentage of the homeless population would likely qualify as having a mental health disability than is documented through the survey. It is thus essential that we prioritize access to healthcare and an adequate supply of permanent supportive housing if we are to succeed in ending homelessness.

East County

The geographic distribution of homelessness remained relatively unchanged from 2013, except in one area: Gresham/East County. In that area, the reported number of people who were unsheltered (sleeping outside, in parks and other areas not intended for human habitation) increased significantly, from just 65 in 2013 to 176 this year. Discussions with stakeholders in the area suggest that this increase is largely the result of improved surveying of the area; while there has been a real increase in street homelessness since 2013, the 2015 number is closer to what actually existed in 2013 than what was reported in that year’s street count.

Housing Figures

30% of AMI for 1 person HH:  $15,450

30% AMI for 4 person HH:  $22,050

HUD FMR for 1 bdr:  $793

HUD FMR for 2 bdr:  $944

Local General Fund into the Continuums of Care:  $30.5 million City and County

McKinney $ into the Continuums of Care:  $15.5 million ($5 million add from federal government)