Spending On Mitigating Homelessness Surges in Oregon

According to a recent study, Portland area agencies and NGOs spent more than half a billion dollars last year fighting homelessness. This is a significant 70% rise compared to last year.

According to John Tapogna, a senior policy adviser at ECOnorthwest—the group responsible for collecting the data—the number itself was shocking.

In fiscal year 2023, ECOnorthwest allocated a substantial amount of $531 million to address homelessness in the Portland metro region of Oregon, which included Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties.

According to Tapogna, the revenue that flows into the system is dynamic and changing constantly.

In the tri-county area, some 7,500 people are either in shelters or in temporary housing. The poll covers over 13,000 people who have recently been able to escape homelessness and are now getting rental assistance and over 81,000 people who are at risk of homelessness due to low salaries and high housing prices.

The number of issues that Multnomah County is attempting to address has grown, even as program funding has increased. Since 2022, the county has seen an overall rise in the number of individuals listed as having or not having a shelter. The most recent point-in-time count for the county was in 2023, and around 6,300 people were listed as homeless.

In contrast, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Clackamas and Washington counties declined in 2023.

Regarding the disparity in outcomes, Ryan clarified that Multnomah County provides more resources, which attracts more homeless people.

The study highlights the fact that not all countries are cautious with their tracking.

State authorities did not consistently track the expenditure or establish if it had any beneficial effect on results, according to an April state audit, even though the state spent $24 billion to combat homelessness during the prior five years. They are now in a deep hole because of this.