Multnomah Co. starts 2017 count on homelessness in Portland area

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PORTLAND, Ore. – The county is working to get a count of how many homeless people there are in Portland and the Multnomah County area.

On Wednesday night, outreach workers started a “point in time” count of homelessness.

The last time the Joint Office of Homeless Services completed the count was in January of 2015. It found that there were nearly 4,000 people in homeless situations, and just under half of them (about 1,900) were sleeping on the streets.

Assessing the homeless situation through a count gives the county a rough number of how many people are living without a home – be it in a shelter, transitional housing, outside, or in other situations.

Officials said they expect to see higher numbers of people using shelters, as the city and county have added hundreds of beds over the past two years.

The count likely won’t get everyone, but is still one of the best gauges on homelessness, Joint Office of Homeless Services program director Ryan Deibert said.

“People’s circumstances change quickly as they move in and out of homelessness, and physical locations may be overlooked,” the county said in a press release.

Portland State University will analyze the raw data from the count. A full report is expected to be published in late spring.

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