Street Roots worked hard over the past three years to report and advocate the need for people experiencing homeless to be counted by the Medical Examiner to determine how many people on the streets are dying, and why. With the help of County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury and the hard work of the Multnomah County Health Department, the Portland Housing Bureau and the Medical Examiner's office, we now have a system in place. This spring Street Roots will be partnering with the Medical Examiner, Multnomah County, and the City of Portland to release a report on how many people died on the streets in 2011.
Why is this important and what's at stake?
First, knowing how many people died on the streets gives us the opportunity to pause, and offer respect and dignity to any number of people who died without adequete shelter. From a health perspective, understanding why people are dying could lead to targeted services, additional revenue for those services and give us a glimpse into the hard realities of life on the skids. Street Roots hopes this up and coming report in the spring of 2012 will be the first of a series of annual reports that will allow us to determine trends and be able to create targeted outcomes to curve both homelessness and people's suffering on the streets of Multnomah County.