Action Plan A recommendation to Governor Kulongoski from the Ending Homelessness Advisory Council June 2008

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1 Action Plan A recommendation to Governor Kulongoski from the Ending Homelessness Advisory Council June 2008

2 Ending Homelessness Advisory Council CHAIR Rick Crager, Deputy Director Oregon Housing and Community Services VICE CHAIR Commissioner Bill Hall Lincoln County Commissioner Edward Angeletti, Planning Manager ACCESS Aging Community Coordinated Enterprises and Supportive Services Susan Ban, Executive Director ShelterCare, Lane County Dona Bolt, State Coordinator Homeless Education Program, Oregon Department of Education Rachel Bristol, Executive Director Oregon Food Bank Janet Byrd, Executive Director Neighborhood Partnership Fund. Val Conley, Administrator Veteran s Services Division, Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Jean Lasater, Homeless and Runaway Youth Coordinator Oregon Commission on Children and Families Phil Lemman, Deputy Director Oregon Youth Authority Thomas McClellan, Administrator DMV, Oregon Department of Transportation Mitch Morrow, Deputy Director Oregon Department of Corrections Tom Olsen, Child Care Administrator Oregon Employment Department Evelyn Roth, Education and Workforce Youth Liaison Department of Community Colleges Workforce Development Steven D. Rudman, Executive Director Portland Housing Authority Clyde Saiki, Deputy Director Department of Human Services Mary Schoen-Clark, Chief Executive Officer Oregon Coast Community Action Vicki Skryha, Manager Community Housing, Employment and Supports, Addictions and Mental Health Division, Department of Human Services Legislative members Senator Margaret Carter Representative Wayne Scott Oregon Housing and Community Services support to council Roberto Franco, Director s Office Liaison Lisa Joyce, Research and Analysis Manager Vikki Pointer, Executive Support Specialist David Leslie, Executive Director Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Heather Lyons, Homeless Program Manager City of Portland Ending Homeless Advisory Council c/o Oregon Housing and Community Services 725 Summer St NE, Suite B Salem OR If you have a disability and need this document in an alternate format, please contact OHCS.

3 Table of Contents Ending Homelessness Advisory Council vision...6 Our guiding principles...6 Oregon s plan to end homelessness...6 PART I: Understanding homelessness in Oregon...7 Defining homelessness...8 Homeless demographics...9 Elusive data...9 The numbers...9 Oregon s one-night-shelter count: another source of information...13 Age distribution...14 Chronic homelessness...15 Disparate impact...15 Family status...16 Street counts...17 Geography...18 Causes of Homelessness...20 Insufficient income and low-paying jobs...20 Housing burden...20 Lack of affordable housing...21 Discontinuity or lack of services...21 Budget reductions...21 Other factors contributing to homelessness...23 Among families...23 Among people with mental illness or addiction disorders...23 Among youth...24 Among single adults...25 Trends in homelessness...25 Other sources of information...26 Education...26 Homeless and runaway youth...26 Addiction treatment and mental health programs...26 Veterans...27 Hunger and homelessness...27 PART II: Services, expenditures, barriers and costs of homelessness...29 Mainstream services...30 Targeted programs...30 Local services...30 Spending on anti-homelessness programs...31 Local government funding...32 Private, non-profit funding

4 Barriers to accessing services...32 The nature of homelessness...32 System barriers...33 Lack of focus on homeless prevention...33 Stigma, prejudice and disenfranchisement...33 Costs of homelessness...34 Societal and personal costs of homelessness...35 PART III: Promising Practices...37 Prevention and intervention strategies...38 Affordable housing...38 Poverty prevention...38 A range of responses...38 Homelessness prevention practices...39 Discharge planning...40 Housing First...40 Rapid Re-housing...41 Supportive housing...42 System improvements...42 PART IV: A Home for Hope, Oregon s 10-year plan...43 An Overview...44 Goals and Strategies...45 Early actions...46 Appendices...47 Appendix A Federal government definitions...48 Appendix B One-night-shelter count instructions and data collection form...50 Appendix C One-night-shelter count summary Appendix D Mainstream services...55 Appendix E Targeted programs...56 Appendix F Federal programs...57 Appendix G State programs...59 Appendix H Local Continuum of Care capacity...60 Appendix I Oregon s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness

5 Figures Figure 1 Sheltered and unsheltered U.S. and Oregon...10 Figure 2 Homeless person as a percent of total population U.S. and Oregon...10 Figure 3 U.S. percentage of chronically homeless people...11 Figure 4 Nationwide family status of homeless...12 Figure 5 Who experiences homelessness? Oregon Figure 6 Age of children in homeless families...14 Figure 7 Age distribution...14 Figure 8 Percent of chronically homeless Oregon Figure 9 Racial and ethnic composition Oregonians and homeless Oregonians...16 Figure 10 One- and two-parent families experiencing homelessness...16 Figure 11 Income change for Oregon families income quintile...20 Figure 12 Oregon Health Plan Standard enrollment...22 Figure 13 One-night-shelter count service eligibility...24 Figure 14 Five-year one-night count trend...25 Figure 15 Payment source for Salem Hospital emergency department patients with address similar to homeless...35 Tables Table poverty threshholds...11 Table 2 Race and ethnicity...15 Table street count results...17 Table 4 Rural and urban Oregon poverty, unemployment, rent burden...18 Table 5 Oregon one-night-shelter count January Table 6 OHCS homeless assistance biennial program funding...31 Table 7 FY 2005 Major federal homeless program spending in Oregon...31 Table 8 Costs of homelessness

6 Ending Homelessness Advisory Council vision We believe all people in Oregon should have the opportunity to be at home in their communities and be physically, emotionally, and economically healthy. Our guiding principles These principles will guide the Ending Homelessness Plan in the next 10 years. Support local community efforts that respectfully empower individuals and families. Prevent and reduce homelessness across all homeless groups. Provide choice, quality, minimum standards and affordable temporary and permanent housing. Heighten awareness and understanding of the relevance of homelessness issues. Keep people in their homes by using support packages and find the right home the first time. Deliver evidence and outcome-based services and through partnership working. Consult with service providers and users. Listen, learn and improve. Oregon s plan to end homelessness Oregon s 10-year plan to end homelessness requires new ways of thinking and working. The state s success will depend on new partnerships and integration between all levels of government and ultimately a less clear divide between public and private. The ultimate goal: to address the problem of homelessness holistically, from its root causes to its troubling effects. The strategies the Oregon Ending Homelessness Advisory Council (EHAC) recommends fall into three interrelated areas critical to meet the goal of ending homelessness. Prevention and intervention. These strategies limit the number of adults, youth and families that fall into homelessness. They include programs that help people stay housed, approaches that divert people from institutional facilities, policies that assure people with affordable housing and necessary support in place when released from institutional systems of care, and approaches that identify people at risk of homelessness while assessing their needs and reducing barriers for accessing needed support. Permanent housing with supportive services. EHAC s philosophy and recommendation for state and local policy, supported by research, is that stable, permanent housing is the foundation other services need to succeed. Moving people into housing first is both a value and the impetus to continue expanding affordable housing in Oregon. This will require not only the expansion but also the preservation of existing affordable housing. System improvements. The institutions and systems that have addressed homelessness for so long must change. Instead of disjointed and isolated service systems for homeless persons, the Oregon Plan to End Homelessness calls for a better alignment of services, funding, policies at the state level, and between the state and local communities. 6

7 Part I Understanding homelessness in Oregon 7

8 Defining homelessness Oregon s Ending Homelessness Advisory Council adopted the definition of homelessness as being without a decent, safe, stable, and permanent place to live that is fit for human habitation. 1 People experiencing homelessness, under the broad EHAC definition, include more than people living on the street. They include those who: share the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, personal safety, or a similar reason live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds because they lack adequate alternative housing live in emergency or transitional shelters have been abandoned in hospitals await foster care placement sleep in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping place for human beings live in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings face impending eviction from a private dwelling unit and have not found a subsequent residence and the person lacks the resources and support networks needed to obtain housing face discharge within a week from an institution in which the person has been a resident for 30 or more consecutive days and for whom no subsequent residence has been identified and s/he lacks the resources and support networks needed to obtain housing Migrant children between the ages of 3 and 21 qualify as homeless when they live in the circumstances described above. 2 1 Appendix A provides the federal definitions of homeless used in federally financed homeless programs. Not explicitly identified in the EHAC definition: individuals fleeing a domestic violence situation. Elements of the EHAC definition not included in the HUD definition: persons sharing housing, those abandoned in hospitals, and those who await foster care placement. 2 As defined under No Child Left Behind Title IC Migrant Education. 8

9 Homeless demographics Elusive data Many organizations report information about people experiencing homelessness. The resulting numbers vary dramatically and complicate the job of discerning trends and appropriately targeting resources. The very nature of homelessness hampers accurate counting. Just finding homeless people can be problematic. Some homeless people live on the margins of society, avoiding contact with social service organizations. Many homeless episodes are of short duration and therefore occur prior to or after the one-night-shelter count. 3 System barriers also impede accurate counting. For example, the diverse network that serves homeless people has disparate financial support for data collection. Some providers target particular subsets of the homeless population such as women with children resulting in under-representation of other subgroups. Another complicating factor is the lack of consensus on how to define homelessness. For example, as presented in Appendix A, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development operates with one definition of homelessness, while the federal No Child Left Behind Act offers yet another definition. Some areas complete a street count of the homeless in conjunction with the annual one-night-shelter count. Some include the street count numbers in the one-night-shelter count report while others do not. In addition to these reporting differences, the counting methodology varies from area to area. EHAC members acknowledge the limitations of these various sources and recognize the need to improve the quality of data available to policymakers. In the interest of creating a sketch of the homeless population, EHAC uses data from a variety of credible sources with the hope of creating a yardstick against which to measure future progress toward ending homelessness. New homeless management information systems (HMIS) should soon provide data upon which to estimate more accurately the number of homeless people. The new system will generate real-time information about those served in emergency shelters, transitional housing and shelters, and unsheltered persons served by outreach programs. The numbers The National Alliance to End Homelessness used data collected by 463 continua of care 4 to report that a projected 744,313 individuals experienced homelessness in January 2005 across the country. 5 3 The one-night-shelter count is described in greater detail beginning on page 13. The instructions for the data collection and trend data for the 2002 to 2007 counts appear in the appendices. 4 A continuum of care is a local or regional body that coordinates services and funding for homeless people and families, with a focus on permanent housing. 5 Homelessness Counts, National Alliance to End Homelessness, January

10 On two important measures, Oregon fared poorly in the alliance s report: the percentage of homeless without shelter (52 percent versus 44 percent nationwide) (Figure 1) and the percentage of the total population experiencing homelessness (0.45 percent versus 0.3 percent nationally) (Figure 2). According to the Alliance, more than half (8,446 people) of Oregon s estimated 16,221 6 homeless individuals went without shelter. 100% Sheltered and unsheltered U.S. and Oregon % 60% 40% 20% Sheltered U.S. Oregon Figure 1 Source: Homelessness Counts, National Alliance to End Homelessness, January 2007 (2005 data). Unsheltered Homeless persons as a percent of total population U.S. and Oregon % 0.40% 0.30% 0.20% 0.10% U.S. Oregon Figure 2 Source: Homelessness Counts, National Alliance to End Homelessness, January 2007 (2005 data). 6 This number is higher than that reported in the one-night-shelter count because it also includes some street counts. That is, the local continuum of care count includes homeless people who did not seek shelter on that particular night. 10

11 Chronic homelessness The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported that nationwide chronically homeless people represented approximately one-quarter of homeless identified in the January 2005 count. The federal government defines chronically homeless as an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. U.S. percentage of chronically homeless people Figure 3 Source: Homelessness Counts, National Alliance to End Homelessness, January 2007 (2005 data). Despite their diversity, homeless people share one characteristic: extreme poverty. Researchers find that people experiencing homelessness have incomes that are generally 50 percent or less of the federal poverty level poverty thresholds 8 Household Size Poverty threshold 50 percent of threshold One person (under 65 years) $10,488 $5,244 One person (65 years and older) $9,669 $4,834 One adult and one child $13,896 $6,948 One adult and two children $16,242 $8,121 Table 1 7 Burt, Martha R. et al, Homelessness Programs and the People They Serve: Findings of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients, Urban Institute, As of January 2008, 2007 poverty thresholds had not been published. 11

12 Nationwide family status of homeless Figure 4 Source: Homelessness Counts, National Alliance to End Homelessness, January 2007 (2005 data). People experiencing homelessness are diverse representing every age, racial and ethnic group, and familial status. 12

13 Oregon s one-night-shelter count: another source of information In addition to the continuum-of-care counts upon which the National Alliance to End Homelessness report depends, Oregon also collects information about the state s homeless population via the one-night-shelter count. The one-night-shelter count instructions and data collection form appear in Appendix B. Limitations of available data, discussed in further depth on page 9, include inconsistent counting methodologies, inconsistent definitions of homelessness, fragmented and complex systems serving people experiencing homelessness, limited shelter capacity, and the very nature of homelessness. Despite its limitations, the one-night-shelter count provides another valuable perspective on the problem of homelessness, including more detail about the demographics of this group. Who experiences homelessness? Oregon 2007 Figure 5 Source: One-night-shelter count, January 2007, Oregon Housing and Community Services. Analysis of data collected through Oregon s one-night-shelter count conducted in January 2007 (see Figure 5), reveals that: singles represented 39 percent of counted people experiencing homelessness adult males represented 62 percent of the single homeless population families with children made up 60 percent of the counted homeless population single women composed 10 percent of the homeless population unaccompanied youths made up nearly 1.5 percent of counted people without homes children and unaccompanied youths represented 32 percent of the homeless counted on that night 13

14 Among children in families and unaccompanied youth, 63 percent of those counted were sheltered. The remaining 37 percent did not receive shelter. 9 A homeless child in a family is typically younger than age 11 based on the one-night-shelter count. Age of children in homeless families Figure 6 Source: One-night-shelter count, January 2007, Oregon Housing and Community Services. Age distribution The number of very young children experiencing homelessness remains a troubling problem. Children age 5 and younger represented nearly 14 percent of people counted as homeless in the January 2007 one-night-shelter count. Children age 11 and younger represented nearly 26 percent of the people counted. (Figure 7) Age distribution Percent of homeless population Figure 7 Source: One-night-shelter count, January 2007, Oregon Housing and Community Services. 9 Shelter may include a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill) or a public or private place that provides a temporary residence for individuals pending institutionalization. In some areas, the number of sheltered persons included individuals receiving rental assistance. 14

15 Chronic homelessness During the January 2007 one-night-shelter count, more than 40 percent of the people counted experienced homelessness as a chronic condition (Figure 8). This contrasts with the 23 percent chronically homeless in Figure 3; the two different definitions of chronic may partly explain the difference. 10 Percent of chronically homeless Oregon 2007 Figure 8 Source: One-night-shelter count, January 2007, Oregon Housing and Community Services. Disparate impact Like poverty, homelessness affects racial and ethnic minority populations disproportionately. Census race and ethnicity categories 11 Percent of Oregon population Percent of homeless Oregonians Black 1.8% 7.4% American Indian and Alaska Native 1.4% 5.0% American Indian Only Asian 3.4% 0.8% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.3% 1.0% Pacific Islander Only Other 2.3% Two or more races 8.4% Unknown Hispanic or Latino (can be any race) 9.9% 14.3% White not Hispanic 81.6% 63.1% Table 2 Source: US Census Bureau for Oregon population 2005 (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/41000.html) and One-Night-Shelter Count, Oregon Housing and Community Services, The one-night shelter count asks, Have you been continuously homeless for a year or more, or had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years? Persons who answer this question Yes, and who also indicate they have a disability will appear as chronically homeless, regardless of family status. In contrast, the federal definition that a chronically homeless person is an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years (emphasis added). 11 Note: The US Census racial and ethnic categories and the one-night shelter count categories do not align (as noted in Table 2). 15

16 Racial and ethnic composition Oregonians and homeless Oregonians Figure 9 Source: US Census Bureau for Oregon population (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/41000.html), and One-Night Shelter Count, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Family status Oregon s one-night-shelter count found that single people represented 39 percent of those experiencing homelessness, while persons in families represented 61 percent. A single parent heads nearly two-thirds of homeless families (see Figure 10). A typical homeless family includes a mother with two children younger than 5 years of age. One- and two-parent families experiencing homelessness Figure 10 Source: One-night-shelter count, January 2007, Oregon Housing and Community Services. 16

17 Street counts In addition to the one-night-shelter counts, some areas also conduct street counts of people experiencing homelessness. Like the one-night-shelter count, the street count is a point-in-time count. Therefore, people with episodes of homelessness that occurred before or after the street count do not appear in the count. In some cases, the numbers collected during the street count also appear in the one-night-shelter count in the turned away category. Inconsistent definitions of homelessness and differences in data collection methods drive the differences in the following table. These definitions vary from continuum to continuum and sometimes within a continuum, making comparisons unreliable street count results Continuum of Care Street Count Included in one-night-shelter count Notes Clackamas County 12 3,543 No 9 percent sheltered Crook, Deschutes and --- Yes Jefferson counties Jackson --- Yes Marion & Polk counties 13 1,921 No Includes 799 identified as sheltered (One-night-shelter count identified 814). Count affected by police sweep of areas where homeless people congregate. Portland, Gresham and Multnomah County 14 1,438 No Includes 61 individuals indentified as turned away in one-night-shelter count. Remainder of state No count conducted No Washington County --- Yes Table 3 Source: local continua of care, Clackamas County Homeless Count 2007, 13 Pacific Policy and Research Institute, Inc., Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action, 10-YEAR PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS (Marion and Polk Counties, Oregon), 14 Home Again: A 10-year plan to end homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County, 17

18 Oregon one-night-shelter count January 2007 County Singles Persons in families with children Sheltered Turned Away Total Homeless Chronically Homeless Less than 11 years old years old TOTAL Sheltered Singles Persons in families with children Less than 11 years old years old TOTAL turned away Sheltered & turned away Sheltered Turned away TOTAL Baker Benton Clackamas Clatsop Columbia Coos Crook Curry Deschutes ,179 1, Douglas Gilliam Grant Harney Hood River Jackson Jefferson Josephine Klamath Lake Lane , , Lincoln Linn Malheur Marion Morrow Multnomah , , ,602 1, ,544 Polk Sherman Tillamook Umatilla Union Wallowa Wasco Washington , Wheeler Yamhill Total 3,706 4,659 1, ,365 1,525 3,130 1, ,655 13,020 3,263 2,318 5,581 Table 5 18

19 Geography Painting a picture of homelessness presents particular challenges. In Oregon, the rural continuum of care 15 does not conduct a street count, and capacity of shelters remains very small. (Table 5 shows the results of the one-night-shelter count for each of the state s 36 counties.) Because poverty drives homelessness, the poverty rate can serve as an indicator of what the problem of homelessness may be in a part of the state where homeless counts reach few. Poverty in rural Oregon at 13.8 percent stands well above the rest of the state s rate of 11 percent (Table 4). Similarly, people in rural counties are more likely to be unemployed. In 2006, unemployment stood at 6.6 percent in rural counties, but was just under 5.1 percent in the rest of the state. Rural and urban Oregon poverty, unemployment and rent burden Percent in poverty Unemployment Rate Fair market rent 16 as a percent of average earnings Percent of households rent-burdened 17 Rural counties % % 44.5% Urban counties % % 44.7% Table 4 One statistic worthy of future monitoring renters housing burden currently shows no significant difference between rural and urban Oregon. However, changes in the owner-occupied housing market may affect the housing burden for renters. According to experts in rural homelessness, 9 percent of the homeless population lives in rural areas. 20 Oregon s large size and undeveloped forestlands provide ample space for people to establish campsites and other living quarters while remaining undetected. The long distances between communities in rural Oregon can impede access to treatment, therapy, other services, social services and supports necessary to maintain stable housing. These great distances also increase the cost of delivering services. 15 Baker, Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler and Yamhill counties comprise Oregon s rural continuum of care 16 As defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 17 Housing burdened households pay more than 30 percent of income for housing. 18 Included in this list of rural Oregon counties: Baker, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler, and Yamhill. 19 Included in this list of urban Oregon counties: Benton, Clackamas, Deschutes, Jackson, Lane, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, and Washington. 20 Burt, Martha R. et al., Urban Institute, Homelessness: Programs and the People They Serve, Findings of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients,

20 Causes of Homelessness Insufficient income and low-paying jobs In Oregon, the gap between the rich and the poor has grown steadily since the 1970s. This gap between rich and poor Oregonians saw the second largest increase among the states between the late 1980s and the late 1990s. When adjusted for inflation, income for the poorest fifth of the population actually fell more than 6 percent while income grew nearly 34 percent in the same period for the richest fifth. Income change for Oregon families Late 1980s to late 1990s by income quintile Figure 11 Source: Economic Policy Institute/Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends, April Inflation adjusted wage gains of the 1990s lost ground during the recession. Wages increased for 98 percent of workers between 1900 and For the 2 percent who earned the lowest wages, wages stagnated or dropped. 21 Housing burden The percentage of renters in Oregon paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing increased from 45.5 percent in 2000 to 54.9 percent in The National Low Income Housing Coalition calculated a weighted ranking using the following parameters: median gross rent, the ability of a renter at median renter income to afford a median-priced rental apartment, and the proportion of renters paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent. The coalition ranked Oregon the third most unaffordable rental market among the states in Moore, Eric and Peniston, Barbara E., Oregon Employment Department, Wage Inequality in Oregon Still Growing? September National Low Income Housing Coalition, Ranking the Most and the Least Unaffordable States for Renter Families, Up Against a Wall: Housing Affordability for Renters, An Analysis of the 2003 American Community Survey, November

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