79 Homeless People in Multnomah County Died While Living on the Streets in 2017

The number of deaths stayed flat as the city and the county invested in homeless services.

A homeless camper (Joe Riedl)

Even as Portland and Multnomah County have sharply increased spending on homeless services, the number of people who died while living on the streets has stayed the same.

In 2017, 79 homeless people died in Multnomah County, according to the official tally released Tuesday—while 80 died in 2016.

County officials expect to see a similar number of deaths in 2018, based on the data so far this year.

The average age for local homeless men at death in 2017 was 48, and for women it was 41—decades younger than the average life expectancy.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury called for further investments, particularly in housing bundled with treatment.

"In order to prevent people from dying on our streets we must ensure that every person has access to decent, affordable housing and to health care that includes mental health and addiction treatment," Kafoury wrote in the official report, called "Domicile Unknown."

Notably, county officials said the number of deaths where methamphetamine was involved rose sharply.

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