BEND, OR -- The economy is improving for many Central Oregonians, but the results of the most recent Point-In-Time homeless count reveals that is not the case for everyone. The one-day count was conducted across the tri-county area in January, by the Homeless Leadership Coalition. The findings were released, Tuesday.
Co-chair Molly Taroli tells KBND News, "So, this year, we had 778 people who are literally homeless; that is a 31% increase compared to our last full count, which was done in 2015. Across the board, we saw increases in every population, so that includes children, that includes veterans and families." But, she says this year's count only included those who fit the Housing and Urban Development definition of "homeless," like those camping out, or sleeping in their car or on someone's couch. She says the number of homeless doubles if you include everyone without permanent housing. "The number that we're looking at there is over 1400 people. How that breaks down in regards to youth and adults, I'm not exactly sure."
Taroli notes there were clear reasons given by those experiencing homelessness, "What was primarily reported, they were sharing that it was an inability to pay rent, followed by unemployment; those were the top two reasons when we were surveying individuals, the reason that they were in this situation." The Coalition plans to hold a series of community town hall meetings, later this month, to discuss how to address the problem.