'We see a lot of people who just can't afford to rent on minimum wage'
LANE COUNTY, Ore. - Once again, homelessness is on the rise in Lane County, as shown by the results from the Homeless Point in Time Count.
The count, which took place in January, found more than 1,600 people in Lane County are homeless, which is over 100 more than last year.
Most of them reported that they don't have any shelter, and the number of homeless kids more than doubled from 11 last year to 25 this year, and African Americans were three times as likely to be homeless.
Lane County Human Services Division officials say more people are reporting substance abuse as a factor to homelessness. They also attribute rising costs of housing.
"We are feeling the same nationwide pressure that other communities are feeling, of rising rents and stagnating wages," said Alex Dreher, the Human Services Supervisor for Lane County. "We see a lot of people who just can't afford to rent on minimum wage."
They say the good news is once people get into housing, they usually stay in housing. The county is working to create more housing now, especially for more vulnerable populations like those with mental illness, substance abuse or who are exiting domestic violence.