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Biennial Count Shows 6 Percent Increase In Oregon's Homeless Population

File photo. A biennial count of Oregon's homeless population turned up nearly 14,000 homeless people in the state--a 6 percent increase since the last tally.
File photo. A biennial count of Oregon's homeless population turned up nearly 14,000 homeless people in the state--a 6 percent increase since the last tally.

A count of Oregon's homeless population shows a 6 percent increase in the number of people living in shelters or on the streets. The tally takes place every two years in January and is meant to be a snapshot of a specific point in time.

The Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services released the numbers Tuesday.

The agency's Ariel Nelson said the count turned up nearly 14,000 homeless people in Oregon. But she says the actual number of homeless could be bigger.

"That's an important note to make about the Point-in-Time count, is that it's critical information but it's not going to tell the whole story about homelessness in each community,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the homeless count doesn't measure the number of people sleeping on couches or floors at the homes of relatives or friends.

One positive note from this year's count: The number of homeless veterans decreased by 9 percent.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.