Single-night count finds 597 unhoused, over half of whom were unaided by sheltering programs

The first official tally of unhoused residents in Clackamas County since 2019 was released Wednesday after COVID-19 concerns led to a delay in the federally required count originally slated for 2021.PMG FILE PHOTO - An outreach worker from Project Homeless Connect speaks to a man in his tent during the 2021 point in time count in Hillsboro.

Across the Portland metropolitan area, 6,633 people were found to be currently homeless on the Point-in-Time (PIT) survey conducted on the night of Jan. 26, 2022.

5,228 unhoused residents were counted in Multnomah County, 808 in Washington County and 597 in Clackamas County, per reports from the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS).

Of the 597 people found living without a home in Clackamas County, 327, or about 55%, remained unsheltered at the time of the survey. 241 people were sheltered, with 29 in transitional housing programs, according to the report.

The latest numbers were affected by "COVID-19 outbreaks and the implementation of necessary safety measures amongst outreach teams and at collection sites," which reportedly hindered the breadth and scale of the typical data collection process for PIT reports, required every two years by federal law.

JOHS officials say that despite the limitations, valuable insights are still offered by the report, which shows a snapshot of the scale of housing challenges in the region and illuminates areas where investment and service efforts should be focused.

As previously reported, an influx of housing dollars will soon be available to counties from a $400 million housing package passed by lawmakers during the 2022 legislative session, with programs to soon benefit from the first revenues of a supportive housing services tax passed by Metro voters in 2020.PMG FILE PHOTO - A homeless couple moves their belongings along the Springwater Corridor Trail in 2016 while other campers gather in the background.

Chair Tootie Smith said the county's supportive housing services team is "making excellent progress toward its first year goals to provide outreach, case management and permanent housing for those in need."

Clackamas County in February announced that new services launched through the supportive housing program in 2021 will place 200 households into permanent supportive housing in fiscal year 2021-22.

"This work, coupled with the Board of County Commissioners' goal to develop 1,500 affordable housing units, puts the county on track to make a significant difference for all members of our community," Smith said.

The next PIT report, which JOHS says should always be regarded as an "undercount" due to the impossibility of recording every homeless person in the region, will be conducted in 2023.

View the full report here.

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