I recently read that more people are sleeping outside in Oregon’s Multnomah County this year than did over the last decade. On the positive side, the overall number of individuals who are homeless in the area has dropped by nearly 4%, and the number of homeless families with children has fallen by 50%, but it’s troubling that the latest count finds the number of people living outdoors and in places not meant for human habitation is 22% higher and the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness is 37% higher than in 2017.
I don’t think Multnomah County is alone. I’m concerned that we’ll find that homelessness is creeping up in more communities across the country, which would be a shame after all the progress that’s been made in recent years. Overall homelessness has declined about 15% nationally since 2007 thanks to increased investments and better strategies.
Key to ending homelessness is to build more affordable housing. In the September issue of Affordable Housing Finance, we look at how developers and others are deploying modular building techniques and other strategies to address one of the industry’s biggest challenges—rising development costs.
We’ll further explore this topic at our annual conference, AHF Live: The Affordable Housing Developers Summit, in November in Chicago. In the meantime, I hope you’ll keep sharing with us your fresh ideas and best practices to contain costs.
You will also find an update on several housing bills, including the much-anticipated Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would provide additional resources for affordable housing. It’s been encouraging to see the bipartisan legislation picking up co-sponsors, but more are needed.
It seems pretty clear that without more resources and more affordable housing, there will be more people in Multnomah County and across the country struggling to find a place to live.