Three healthcare organizations in Southern Oregon paid for the study to understand how people felt about the homelessness situation. The Moore Information Group polled 400 people in the counties of Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath.
According to the findings, around 90% of individuals feel homelessness is a severe problem, and at least 67% think it is becoming worse.
Josh Balloch, vice president of health policy at AllCare Health, said, “My running joke is you can’t get 91% of people to think puppy puppies are beautiful. The fact that it was so important is therefore revealing.
Additionally, according to Balloch, 92% of people want their local governments to address the homelessness situation.
Therefore, he said, “when you have all three elements together, you can truly achieve substantial changes in public policy.”
However, while individuals who took the study concur that there is a homelessness issue, the general public appears to have divergent views on the underlying causes.
According to Balloch, the findings indicated four main causes of homelessness in the area, at least according to popular perception. According to him, affordable housing, drug abuse, loose government regulations, and mental health problems are some of these factors.
In the future, the homeless population will be surveyed, according to Balloch’s group. He said they could compare what the general public believes about homelessness to the valid reasons for homelessness by speaking with people on the street.
A Place to Call Home, an investigation by AllCare Health on the homeless population, was carried out in 2017.
A collection of 250 on-the-street interviews revealed that two major obstacles for homeless people were a lack of a reliable source of income and a lack of access to affordable housing.
Balloch hopes that a fresh study will offer an updated assessment of the problems in Southern Oregon. That should be finished, according to AllCare, at the start of 2023.
AllCare and other organizations will be able to collaborate with local governments to press for change and combat false information by combining the public opinion polls with the on-the-street survey. According to Balloch, the poll revealed that many individuals have erroneous ideas about what it means to be homeless.
In his opinion, couch-surfing is equivalent to being homeless if you don’t have a place to live and are moving about. But not everyone in the neighborhood concurs with it.
Only 55% of respondents said they believed that couch surfing counts as homelessness; the remaining respondents either disagreed or didn’t know. Another example is staying in a motel. Although more than half of individuals disagree or are unsure if it counts as being homeless, many community organizations do.
Balloch wants to assist in presenting this information to local community organizations and city/county governments so they can understand what the general people are thinking and how they can work to improve conditions for the area’s homeless populations. He said that although they haven’t yet organized any presentations, they recently spoke with the city manager of Brookings, who indicated an interest in the data.
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