During the year ending June 30, at least 8,532 people in Multnomah County spent at least one night in a homeless shelter — a dramatic increase, up 79 percent, from two years before.
That increase reflects a rise in the number of homeless people. From January 2015 to February of this year, the number is up nearly 10 percent.
But also it reflects an increase in the number of shelter beds.
Since January 2016, 650 additional shelter beds have been added.
The countywide organization working to alleviate homelessness, A Home for Everyone, also reported earlier this week that they've exceeded their goals for housing people and providing homeless shelters.
The commission says it has helped nearly 4,900 people find housing over the last fiscal year —an increase of 65 percent from four years ago —and 6,139 find prevention services, such as assistance with their rent (an increase of 2,000 since last year).
"Taken together, this ongoing progress shows the difference that unprecedented investments in housing and services have made for thousands of families in need," the statement reads, "even as the region's affordability crisis continues to push people into homelessness and make it harder to escape once they fall."
A Home for Everyone is a three-year-old program that partnered with Portland and Gresham city governments in 2015. Mayor Ted Wheeler, County Chair Deborah Kafoury and City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly are among the group's nine executive committee members.
According to today's release, the year-end numbers were reported at an August 21 executive committee meeting.
"We have helped thousands more of our neighbors off of the streets and into the safety of a shelter bed or a home of their own," Wheeler said, according to the release. "We must continue to ensure our record investments in homeless services are being spent as effectively as possible."
The city is now months behind schedule in spending the $258 million bond to create affordable housing that voters approved last November. The first housing project to see a portion of that money is scheduled for October.
A Home for Everyone recognizes that a lack of affordable housing is largely responsible for the increasing number of homeless residents in Multnomah County.
"Though fewer neighbors were counted sleeping outside, more neighbors overall were counted as homeless," the news release reads. "That's largely because of a widening gap between wages and housing costs in Multnomah County."