by Daniel Greenstadt
Some of your neighbors don’t have a home. There’s been a lot of talk recently in Portland, in the region and nationally regarding the challenges of people living on our streets. On the night of the most recent count in 2015, Multnomah County had 3,800 people sleeping on the streets, in shelters, or in temporary housing, and an estimated 12,000 people were doubled up, many in overcrowded and often unsafe conditions. Hundreds of children have no place to go.
According to the city’s new and deeply informative Homelessness Toolkit, 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, the latest count found a 48% increase in the number of unsheltered African-Americans from two years ago. Due to differences in the definition of ͞homeless͟ 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.
Our city and our neighborhoods are facing some rather immediate policy and programmatic questions that are going to be answered with your tax dollars and with implications for your street. To learn more, to report concerns and to make sure that your voice is heard, visit the link above, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the new hotline (503) 823-4000.
Daniel Greenstadt is a CNA Board Member