Homelessness In Porland

Word Count
Columbia Gorge Community College
PS 203
Homelessness1 has always been a problem in major cities across
the United States; Portland, Oregon is a growing city that is
currently dealing with a homelessness problem. According to Oregon
Housing and Community Services’ 2017 Point-in-Time results, “Multnomah
County had 4,177 people experiencing homelessness, representing 30% of
the state’s homeless population”, which is a about a ten percent
increase compared to the last two years2.
There are many possible reasons why people experience
homelessness; however homelessness advocates as well as city and
county leaders believe it is the current housing crisis that is
forcing many people onto the streets3. The United States Bureau of
Census states that “Oregon’s population, in general, has been
increasing at a faster pace than the U.S. population as a whole”4Other
U.S. Census Bureau reports show that from 2005 through 2010 there was
1 As used in this section, “homelessness” means the lack of a decent, safe, stable and
permanent place to live that is fit for human habitation.
2 Oregon Gov. Oregon Housing and Community Services “2017 Point-in-Time Estimates of
Homelessness in Oregon”
2017 available at:
* “Every two years, during the last ten days of January, there is a nationwide effort
to count every homeless person across the country. This Point-in-time count attempts
to capture both sheltered and unsheltered homeless people to provide a snapshot of
homelessness in the United States”
3 Harbarger, Molly. "Portland's Homeless Population Jumps Nearly 10 Percent, New Count
Shows." Oregon-Live. June 20, 2017. Accessed May 22, 2018.
4 The United States of America. Department of Administrative Services. Economic
Analysis. OREGON’S DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS. OR, 2017. available at:
“Between 1950 and 2017, Oregon’s population increased by 170 percent, whereas U.S.
population increased by 115 percent.”
a substantial decrease in housing manufacturing, causing a low supply
of housing in Oregon. The data also shows an increase in median rental
rates and decrease in family median incomes5. Because of this low
supply and large demand as well as income decreases and rental rate
increases, people are not able to afford housing. While Portland alone
saw a 4.68% wage growth in 2017 with a projected wage growth of 7.54%
in 2018, the city’s 2017 price of housing increased by 9.98% with a
projected 2.60% increase by 2018 6; the money coming in does not
always match or compare to the money going out to pay for housing.
If you are a resident of Portland or visit often, you will notice
many people expressing their concern with the homelessness problem in