Homelessness: Strategies for Impact
Housing Instability and Homelessness are a Statewide Crisis
In a report commissioned by Oregon Community Foundation, ECONorthwest found that communities across Oregon face rising rates of housing insecurity and homelessness. This is the result of two converging crises. The first is an inadequate housing supply, coupled with rising rents, that puts 155,000 Oregon children and families at risk of homelessness. The second crisis is Oregon’s smaller chronically homeless population, most of whom face persistent barriers to housing and require ongoing, intensive social services and specialized housing.
The 2019 report shows that Oregon has a disproportionately large population of homeless residents compared to other states: Although Oregon’s population represents just 1.3% of the total U.S. population, our homeless population represents 2.6% of the national homeless population.
Our housing crisis also disproportionately impacts children, veterans and racial/ethnic minority communities.
"Solving the housing crisis could unlock the potential of tens of thousands of Oregonians, creating a stronger economy and healthier people.”
Max Williams, OCF President and CEO
Affordable housing, housing instability and chronic homelessness comprise a statewide crisis that must be tackled collaboratively by government, business, nonprofits and philanthropy. ECONorthwest offers four key policy recommendations:
- Continue to increase Oregon’s supply of market-rate housing and affordable housing.
- Strengthen the connections between the affordable housing and homeless services sectors.
- Identify the appropriate scale of the emergency shelter system.
- Provide intensive social services for the people most at risk for chronic homelessness.
Homelessness in Oregon
Building on ECONorthwest’s 2018 assessment of Metro Portland, OCF commissioned this statewide report to inform community-based work, policymaking and philanthropy on housing and homelessness.