PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new report by the Joint Office of Homeless Services showed the number of homeless people in Multnomah County rose more than 30% during the pandemic.

That is not a surprise to the people on the front lines of the homeless issue, including Blanchet House Executive Director Scott Kerman.

Kerman said that information is significant because people who are chronically homeless can be that much more difficult to house successfully.

“It’s one of the reasons why when we talk to the mayor’s office or county about the plan for large scale camps, whether those are 250 people or 100 people, those are large, and they’re not suitable for a lot of the people who have experienced chronic homelessness,” Kerman told KOIN 6 News. “We’re really encouraging smaller, more discrete options including higher barrier shelters.”

He said low barrier shelters are important “but there are a lot of people who are afraid of low barrier programs.”

He said the trauma of living on the streets compounds like interest. They are definitely still seeing the increased need they began to see at the start of the pandemic.

That’s also partially because of increased rent prices and inflation, he said and added they are gearing up for what could be a difficult winter.