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March 18, 2017


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Based on the graph, Salem is probably already spending more than $2.3 to $4.1 billion on shelter, health care, and behavioral health. If we spent that money on permanent supportive housing instead, it seems like it would save money overall. In other words, doesn't neglecting the homelessness problem require more money than it costs to provide permanent supportive housing?

Small clarification, but in your second bullet point at the top I assume you meant to say there are a total of 5,710 homeless in the state.

As someone who commutes to Portland for work in the SE, I am amazed, saddened, and a little outraged at the camps that pop up in and around my building. They literally spring up overnight, accumulate massive amounts of debris and trash, then are cleaned up by city and community service organizations, only to reappear a week or less later. This may sound like a rant against the homeless, but it's more a rant at a clearly broken system and approach to addressing it that can't seem to get out of its own way.

What makes me more amazed, sadder, and more outraged, is that each evening when I leave Portland and arrive in Salem I am greeted by what is clearly an issue that is growing in magnitude and urgency. For example, if Salt Lake City, arguably an only slightly less progressive than Salem (that was snark), can address their homeless issue in a way that both seems to align with current thinking on best practices -- e.g. build more permanent housing -- then why can't we seem to get our act together?

I'm hoping along with the rest of the majority of Salem that our new city council not only has a new face, but a new-found political will to address homelessness in a way that is a break from the pervasive attitude you identified.

Not Even Wrong, I'm pretty sure the 5,710 refers to Marion and Polk counties. I've heard a friend who is a homeless advocate cite a 5,000 something figure, and have mentioned this in conversations with her. But I'll check on this.

Some Googling shows that there are 21,300 homeless children in Oregon, including 1,120 in Salem.

And this report said there are 13,238 homeless in Oregon:

So obviously there are various definitions of homelessness, and various ways of counting the homeless. It seems highly believable that there are 5,000 some homeless in Marion and Polk counties, given one definition or another.

I went back and reread what you wrote and now see that your 1000+ number was for the subcategory of chronically homeless. The numbers make sense now.

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