It’s been known for a while that Oregon has a big problem with homelessness. On Think Out Loud we’ve had many conversations about homeless issues. We’ve talked to homeless youth, and about rural homelessness. We’ve heard from family members and advocates. And we’ve discussed the role of mental health and hunger. But there’s one — well, likely many, but one for now — part that we’ve missed: the picture of homelessness in our suburban communities.
A Brookings study from a couple of years ago illustrated that the growth in poverty is now happening in the suburbs. A recent column in The Oregonian by Israel Bayer and Joanne Zuhl of Street Roots makes that local and up-to-date. They say:
Suburban homelessness is no longer a projection on a spreadsheet about the future. It’s a reality that’s getting worse by the day.
Take, for instance, the Oregon Department of Education’s homeless student count. It showed that Beaverton School District had the highest level of homeless students in the state: 1,580. Medford and Portland followed. What’s the cause of this growth in suburban homelessness? What can be done to halt it?
Do you live in the suburbs? How is homelessness affecting your community?
- Lynn Hurst: Was homeless for 10 months with her family
- Bridget Daniel: Executive director of Home Plate for Youth
- J. Newson: Has been homeless for four years
- Eric Canon: Chair of Interfaith Committee on Homelessness