Every two years, Clackamas County conducts a Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count to obtain information about people and families experiencing homelessness. The 2019 count took place on the night of January 22 and was a community effort that included more than 150 volunteers, Clackamas County staff, and 43 community partners. People were surveyed at 62 sites, including food pantries, faith-based organizations, agency waiting rooms, shelters, schools and outdoor areas.
The 2019 count found:
- 1,166 people were identified as experiencing homelessness, a 9 percent increase from the 1,068 counted in 2017. This includes 869 single adults, a 48 percent increase in the number of single adults counted in 2017.
- Since the last count, people who have been homeless for long periods of time and also have disabling conditions (chronically homeless), increased by 48 percent.
- Of those surveyed, almost one-third were unsheltered. This is a significant decrease from 2017, likely because Clackamas County operated more winter shelter beds during the winter of 2018-19.
- The number of veterans experiencing homelessness decreased 15 percent from the 2017 count.
The count also reinforced the common observation made on our streets and in our shelters that people of color disproportionately experience homelessness in Clackamas County. Four percent of the people counted in 2019 identified as Native American/Alaska Native, despite representing only 0.7 percent of the total population. Since 2017, there was a near doubling of the number of Black or African American people surveyed, from 23 individuals to 41. People identifying as Black or African American now make up 4 percent of those counted, while representing only 1.2 percent of the county’s total population.
“Trends are consistent across the region, and we are working with our partners to address that,” said Richard Swift, Director of Clackamas County’s Health, Housing and Human Services Department. “The housing crisis has no regard for county lines, so it really requires that we collaborate regionally to find solutions."
A larger study of the state of homelessness in the county drawing on a variety of additional sources of information, including School Liaison data, Coordinated Housing Access data, and the Housing Authority wait-list information is underway.
“The Pit Count shows there is a continued need for housing and services in the county, but it is just a snapshot of the bigger picture,” said Brenda Durbin, director of the county’s Social Services Division. “Everyone in our community deserves a safe, stable home and we are committed to continuing to provide services to our residents, especially our most vulnerable.”
The count takes place every two years and is a requirement for jurisdictions receiving homeless funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD currently provides more than $2.6 million annually to 16 Clackamas County projects. These projects provide coordinated housing assessment, emergency shelter, rapid re-housing, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing services.
If you are experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness, call Clackamas County’s Coordinated Housing Access line at 503-655-8575.