- Adults with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) are overrepresented in the homeless population, and Oregon’s homeless population has expanded in recent years. In the 1950s, the mentally ill were moved out of the state hospitals and into the community. However, due to a lack of support services in the community many of these individuals have not thrived outside of the institution. This has created a system oriented toward crisis, where individuals with SPMI frequent emergency rooms and jails. The lack of affordable housing in Oregon has exacerbated these problems by making it difficult for individuals to obtain one of the most basic necessities, a place to call home. The United States Department of Justice entered into negotiation with Oregon Health Authority after finding Oregon’s service insufficient, and the resulting agreement called the Oregon Performance Plan was published in 2016. Since then, the state has continued to struggle to provide services for one of its most vulnerable groups, the adult (18-65) homeless population with severe and persistent mental illness.
- Key Words: Severe and persistent mental illness, homeless, policy, affordable housing, criminalization