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Proposed Multnomah County budget for 2017-2018 marks $3.2 million in upgrades.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - A homeless man underneath the Interstate 84 overpass near Troutdale.

Multnomah County Chair Kafoury has proposed to increase spending to address homelessness in the area.

In her proposed 2017-2018 budget, Kafoury calls for $57.8 million in state, city and county funds to the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services, an agency created last year in response to the homelessness and housing crisis.

That's an increase of $3.2 million from last year's budget. The city's precise contribution is expected to be released next week.

The joint office focuses on housing placement and retention, supportive housing, helping people find employment, diversion from homelessness in the first place and creating shelter beds.

The county reports that in 2016, more than 25,000 people were served by the housing retention and homeless service system, while 6,600 people accessed emergency shelter.

In the 2015 Point-in-Time Count, the last time the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-mandated survey of homeless people was conducted, 3,801 people were sleeping on Multnomah County streets, in an emergency shelter or transitional housing, while the number of those strictly on the streets unsheltered was 1,887.

Despite boosted efforts and funding, officials expect numbers for the most recent survey, completed in February, to be about the same. Results are expected in coming months.

Multnomah County faces challenges in its efforts, including what officials say are high levels of inflow into their system and state and federal funding reductions that continue to push people into the homelessness system of care, as well as a challenging housing market.

They've also allocated money to two housing-related pilot programs, including a housing voucher pilot, which focuses on families and seniors who are facing displacement due to rent hikes or medical issues. The second effort focuses on eviction outreach to connect tenants to resources.

See the budget at: https://multco.us/file/61554/download

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