A houseless person sets up a tarp along a downtown street. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)
A bill passed Wednesday by the Oregon Senate seeks to give policymakers a better understanding of the challenges of homeless individuals by making a small change to state health records.
THE ISSUE: Oregon has a growing number of homeless people. But getting numbers on the number of homeless people who die is difficult.
THE BILL: Senate Bill 850
WHAT IT DOES: The bill requires state death records to mark a homeless person’s residence as “Domicile Unknown” at their time of death.
WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: Proponents of the bill (including its sponsor, state Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem) say the requirement will provide some dignity to the deaths of people experiencing homelessness. It’ll also provide better data that will help policymakers understand the challenges of those who are unsheltered.
HOW THE MARION/POLK DELEGATION VOTED:
Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: Excused
Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes
Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: No
Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: No
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: It heads to the House for consideration.