Homelessness in Oregon is on the rise

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Oregon has shot up dramatically since last year, according to the results of a statewide count released by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department.

In 2008, the state found 12,529 individuals on the streets, in shelters or in transitional housing. This year, the number grew to 17,122. Almost 60 percent of those people did not have shelter or services available to them, the report says.

“The numbers confirm what we already knew,” OHCS Deputy Director Rick Crager said in a statement. “Families and individuals can’t afford to pay for one of their most basic needs — a place to live.”

The count found that:

– There was a 150 percent increase in the number of people on the streets without transitional housing or shelter.

– The number of households living doubled-up with friends or family increased fourfold.

– The number of homeless veterans in the state doubled. That mirrors an increase in Portland at almost the same rate. For full coverage of the ballooning numbers of veterans on the streets, who they are and why they’re becoming homeless, pick up the current issue of Street Roots from your local vendor.

– Mara Grunbaum

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