By Joanne Zuhl, Staff Writer
Laurie Crow would have been 54 on Dec. 27, 2011.
Instead, she became one of 47.
Only a few weeks before her birthday, she died curled up in her sleeping bag in a meadow near Going Street. Her partner, Clarence, was next to her, awake and listening as she slept through daybreak.
What he was hearing, in fact, was her body cooling in the December chill. It was Dec. 7.
The other 46 were also homeless, and all died on the streets of Portland in 2011.
Fourty-seven: Nearly 1 a week. Continue reading
By Amanda Waldroupe, staff Writer
“Frankly, they shock me.”
Those were the words City Commissioner Nick Fish used to describe the results of the Vulnerability Index survey when it was given to 646 homeless individuals over the course of three mornings in October 2008.
The survey revealed that 302 people, nearly half of all surveyed, were considered “medically vulnerable” because they had diseases increasing their likelihood of dying while homeless, such as heart disease, end-stage renal disease, and cancer. More than a third of those surveyed, 231 individuals, were considered “tri-morbid,” because they had co-occurring physical and mental illnesses as well as a substance abuse issues.
“We had a good sense that people who were homeless and living on the streets were more likely to be more ill. The proportion was higher than we had expected,” says Ryan Deibert, a homeless program coordinator at the Portland Housing Bureau.
Fish vowed change. Continue reading