Our volunteers, advocates, and outreach providers serving people experiencing homelessness want you to know some key facts about our homeless population in Central Oregon.

We hope understanding more about our homeless population will help us come together to prevent and end homelessness in our communities.

  1. Most people who experience homelessness are constantly in search of food, shelter, and a source of income.

Many homeless individuals and families spend their days trying to get their basic needs met, walking to hot meals or showers, or packing up to move their encampment.

Obtaining housing is not easy. Although many people experiencing homelessness have income, they are often met with high housing costs and many rental units require large deposits. For a person earning minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom unit at the HUD determined Fair Market Rent, which is often difficult to find in Central Oregon, they would need to work between 64 and 88 hours each week.

  1. Most of our homeless neighbors are from Central Oregon!

Year after year, our Annual Point in Time Count data has shown that most people experiencing homelessness were last stably housed in the community they are currently in. Learn more from the 2023 Annual Point in Time data.

  1. Most people who experience homelessness do not struggle with substance abuse problems or addictions.

Just like in the general population, only a percentage of those who are experiencing homelessness deal with addictions. People experiencing homelessness may deal with other issues related to their experiences of homelessness, including the trauma of living outside or the challenges of managing their mental illness. Our Annual Point In Time Count asks about self-reported causes of homelessness, and year after year the leading cause cited is economic.

  1. It is much more difficult to find a job while experiencing homelessness.

Housing instability and unemployment very frequently coexist and exacerbate each other. It is much more difficult to find a job while experiencing homelessness. Challenges, such as lacking a permanent address, not having regular access to showers, barriers to transportation, no regular access to technology or electricity, and other difficulties like mental illness – all make it difficult to obtain employment. Even when individuals experiencing homelessness find jobs, they are often part-time or minimum wage positions. This work fails to adequately meet their needs, due to expensive housing costs.

  1. Waitlists for services and support to help those experiencing homelessness are long and growing longer.

It is difficult not to notice the increase in the number of visibly unhoused individuals, with our cities and towns now facing what seems to be an unprecedented crisis of housing and shelter availability. Waitlists for shelter beds, rental assistance, utility assistance, housing vouchers, and mortgage assistance are VERY long. Local food pantries and meal sites are serving record numbers as people try to stretch their dollars to cover the cost of their housing. The margin for error is getting slimmer and slimmer for our neighbors and the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time is skyrocketing, while the length of time it takes to get back into housing has increased.