Homelessness: The First Step To Awareness
statistics show that poverty is growing at an alarming rate within Washington
County. Between the years 1990 and 2002, the county population increased 51%.
During this same 12 year period, poverty increased 119%, and poverty among children
New updated information pending
Below 150% Poverty
Percent of Population
Below 200% Poverty
Percent of Population
U.S. Bureau of Census
in Washington County continues to increase. From 2000 to 2003, the number of people
living in poverty according to Federal Poverty Guidelines grew from 32,575 to
50,532. In 2004, within Washington County there were 9,380 households with annual
incomes below $10,000, nine percent of all county residents were in poverty, and
nineteen percent of related children under 18 and 7.5 percent of people 65 years
of age or older were all living below the poverty level. Families with a female
head-of-household and children under 5 years old make up the largest group of
Oregonians living in poverty. Yet, even these numbers don't tell the whole story.
to what some might believe, approximately 70% of people living in poverty work
for a pay check and less than 12% receive federal assistance. According to the
2005 Federal Poverty Guidelines, a family of three that worked full-time at a
job paying minimum wage would be living below the poverty level. Minimum wage
in Oregon is $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 annually. Even working full time, low
wage jobs don't provide enough income to cover basic living costs of housing,
utilities, food, fuel, and medical care.
study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found Oregon's affordable
housing wage to be $13.59 per hour to make enough for basic living costs within
Oregon. Affordable housing is considered to be rent or mortgage payments that
are no more than 30 percent of a family's income. In other words, a worker making
the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would have to work at least 84 hours
a week to be able to afford basic living costs.
in five people ate meals from an emergency food box at least once in the past
year within Oregon. Most of these people are children, senior citizens on fixed
incomes, people who are disabled, and people who work hard at low-paying jobs.
On average, 194,000 people are eating meals from emergency food boxes each month.
In addition, 170 soup kitchens and shelters provided 4-million emergency meals
and 362 other agencies helped more than 128,000 people at senior centers, day
care centers and other low-income programs.