“Pet Talk: Portland agencies operate pantries and clinics to help the pets of the homeless.” By Monique Balas. Oregonian. February 28, 2011. As one of Portland’s estimated 2,500 homeless people, Scott (who declined to give his last name) says he feels safer sleeping on the streets with Bear Dog than he does in a shelter. While the Portland Housing Bureau hasn’t kept track of pets in past counts, this was the first year the survey asked about pets, says Maileen Hamto, public information officer for the Housing Bureau. Results from the count won’t be available until April, but it’s obvious to many organizations dealing with the homeless and low-income that pets are taking on an increasingly important role for those population segments. As such, more are offering resources for both pets and people. Most are stretched to near-capacity but are doing their part to help where they can. The Portland Animal Welfare Team first began holding sporadic clinics in 1997, but the increasing demand meant the need clearly wasn’t being met, says Executive Director Wendy Kohn. The clinics provide basic health services and vaccinations, licensing and food for pets of homeless and low-income residents. Clients also can arrange for spaying and neutering at a variety of locations in conjunction with Multnomah County Animal Services and the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland.