• In January 2015: 3,772 men, women and children in our community were living outside– on sidewalks, in cars, and in tents. This is a 21 percent increase from 2014.
  • The State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released their annual report on K-12 Homeless Students on January 20th 2015. The number of Washington State homeless students has increased every year since 2001 (when school districts were required to report annually the number of homeless students).
  • The 2013-2014 school year report counted 32,494 homeless kids, up from 30,609 in 2012-13. (Note a portion of the increase could be attributed to better collection of data, and identification of homeless students).
  • King County Family Housing Connection (or coordinated entry system) reports approximately 200 families living in emergency shelter – with more than 500 families waiting for shelter who are literally homeless (not doubled up, but are living on the street, cars or tents).The Affordable Housing Need in King County - 2015 HDC Infographic


  • All families who are poor don’t fall into homelessness. The characteristics of poor and homeless families are similar: usually a young single mother without or limited education, limited income (often working at minimum wage without benefits).
  • Many have experienced domestic violence at some time in their lives (estimates are up to 90% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence or witnessed violence as a child) and mental illness – which often combined with substance abuse.
  • Usually, an unforeseen financial crisis leads to housing loss. For many of these families, their family and friends are also living in poverty, working low paying jobs, which makes it hard for them to help out. Families quickly burn out their support system.
  • The majority of homeless families (about 75% according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness) exit with financial assistance and limited case management– never to return.
  • The faster a homeless family moves into housing the less long term trauma and damage the experience causes.
  • At any given time there are hundreds of poor families living at the brink of homelessness that will eventually reach the literally homeless stage. With more prevention or early intervention these families could be diverted from experiencing homelessness. Sometimes this can be as simple as one time financial help with utilities, food or housing costs.
  • Some families who are chronically (or multiple experiences) of homelessness need more, longer term support. These are families with head of households who may have lived in “generational poverty”. They have not experienced housing stability so they lack the skills (financial and emotional) to maintain housing.


One comment

  1. so why not ask the owners of that one block to let you set up a whole holmeess help open air market ? that one block where the owners were allowing people to camp in downtown area but were told they couldn’t by the city i think. the whole open space could be a holmeess people’s selling spot for all kinds of holmeess vendors and those that really do help holmeess in pdx. Free or sliding scale space rent etc. according to income. Or just altogether free and people have to qualify by being holmeess or low income or a known proven benefit outfit for holmeess.

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