Monday, February 17, 2020

Women Benefit More From Homeless Programs that Target Homeless Families VS Programs that Target Single Homeless Persons or the Chronic Homeless.

The Portland metro homeless and supportive housing ballot measure proposal comes before Metro Council this week; the draft resolution is HERE.  (As of Sunday evening exhibits A and B referenced in this resolution were not on line. The agenda HERE may be subsequently updated to include the exhibits).

For now, I'm not clear on the specific populations targeted to benefit, how "homeless"  and  ''success" will be defined, any set asides for specific populations and areas, limits on administrative costs, and the specifics of who will be taxed and at what rate. Governance, audits, and transparency are also issues for me.

In the interim I thought it would be useful to take a look at one aspect of homelessness that has received little attention that I can remember--female homelessness.

I downloaded and organized several gender specific population counts from the 2019 PIT count for all Oregon Continuum of Care organizations. I also grouped the data to focus on the three Portland metro CoC organizations.

The graph and the table pasted below summarize my initial observations.
1. Women were a minority of ALL homeless persons. For the 3 county Portland metro area women were only 35% of all homeless persons.
2. Women are also a minority of all homeless who lived as individuals, For the 3 county Portland metro area women were only 31% of all homeless persons who lived as individuals.
3. In contrast women were a MAJORITY of persons who lived in families.For the 3 county Portland metro area women were 62% of all homeless persons in families.

Chronic Homeless Gender Information More Difficult to Find, But Women Clearly the Minority.
The HUD 2019 CoC downloadable data does not include gender for the chronic homeless. However on the 2019 PIT Dashboard for the Home for Everyone/Portland CoC there were 1,729 chronic homeless people counted including 572 women. So, women were 32% of all chronically homeless people.
The Clackamas county CoC reported that 32% of its chronic homeless population were women. 
I was not able to locate similar data for Washington County.

Bottom Line: 
Programs that target homeless individuals or the chronic homeless will primarily benefit men. Programs that target homeless families will provide more benefit to women.

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog,

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