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.
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.