“Most homeless people I know aren’t homeless because they’re addicts,” said Tammy Stephen, 54, who lives at a homeless encampment in Seattle. “Most people are homeless because they can’t afford a place to live.”
– Official counts taken earlier this year in California, Oregon and Washington show 168,000 homeless people in the three states, according to an AP tally of every jurisdiction in those states that reports homeless numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That is 19,000 more than were counted two years ago, although the numbers may not be directly comparable because of factors ranging from the weather to new counting methods.
– During the same period, the number of unsheltered people in the three states – defined as someone sleeping outside, in a bus or train station, abandoned building or vehicle – has climbed 18 percent to 105,000.
– Rising rents are the main culprit. The median one-bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area is significantly more expensive than it is in the New York City metro area, and apartments in San Francisco are listed at a higher price than those in Manhattan.