The homeless population in Central Oregon has increased by the hundreds — at least — in the past year. That’s the finding of this year’s “Point In Time” count.
According to the Homeless Leadership Coalition, there were a total of 1,647 people experiencing homelessness across several Central Oregon communities. That number is an increase from 1,225 in 2022.
Nearly 1,200 people in the tri-county area were unsheltered homeless.
And it’s important to keep in mind: those number are a tiny snapshot based on surveys taken between January 24-31. They are very likely an undercount.
Bend had the highest number of unhoused people at 1,012.
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Eighteen percent of the unhoused across the region are chronically homeless, meaning they spend long periods without a permanent place to live.
The vast majority of homeless — 75% — are single adults. Twelve percent are youth; 10% are families and 2% are children only.
More than 900 of those homeless in Central Oregon have some form of disability. Eleven percent have serious mental illness and 8% have a disabling susbstance use disorder.
A few theories for the rise is the ending of COVID-19 relief, miscounts in previous years and population growth.
Our local government says basic housing is an obvious issue.
“You know, I think the other thing that it highlights, which is no surprise again, to any of us, is, is that we are in a housing crisis,” said Bend Mayor Pro Tem Megan Perkins.
One solution local government is pushing for.. is more affordable housing.