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Nov 28, 2018

Ending Youth Homelessness

Every night, our downtown Portland shelters are home to youth ages 16-24 who have no other place to go. Youth often line up outside the door at 8:30 pm, hoping to get a bed and a meal for the night. Not everyone gets in. With a limit of 60 beds, the shelter can only accommodate 60 youth each night. During the winter months, there are an additional 10 beds. This year alone, the shelters housed and fed over 500 youth. While our shelters are running at full capacity and our street outreach workers are out every night providing warm clothing and crisis-intervention services, there are some positive shifts affecting the numbers and demographics of homeless youth in Multnomah County.

“Today we see very few youth under 18 years old which is different than 10 years ago,” says Dennis Lundberg, Director of Homeless Youth Services. The average age of youth at the shelter is 22 years. Some of the reasons for this shift, according to Lundberg, is the funding Multnomah County has invested into creating interventions within the community to prevent youth homelessness. “We have a consortium of services—school social workers, teachers, churches— who can identify youth couch surfing or living in a car. Through early intervention, they connect those youth to services that prevent them from becoming street kids” says Lundberg. In addition to county programs, our Bridge House Transitional Living and Services play an important role in preventing youth homelessness.

Created in 1987, Bridge House provides shelter and support services for 16-22 year olds who are committed to staying off the streets. Youth receive help in job searching, managing their finances and connection to health support services for a year. According to Pete Lewis, Bridge House Program Supervisor, “We have 7 youth living in Bridge House and 15 youth in the Changes program who are in the process of getting housing.” The Changes program works in conjunction with Bridge House and provides housing options to support the needs of youth 16-24 years. When youth participate in both programs, the likelihood of them achieving self-sufficiency increases significantly. “I recently housed a pregnant young mother and father who were living in a car for eight months,” says Marc Hanks, Case Manager and Family Support for the Changes Program. “I helped them find housing and they just had a baby.”

Ensuring that “the streets are not the end of the road” for homeless youth is the goal of our Homeless Youth Services. If you or a youth you know ages 16-24 needs safety from the streets or is seeking services, call 503-432-3986.

Please click here if you are interested in volunteering in our street outreach program, you have donations for our shelters, or you are interested in employment at the shelter.


Jan 29, 2019
Employee Spotlight - Krista Wilson

Krista Wilson has been a dedicated Youth Care Specialist at Oak Bridge Youth Shelter in Washington for three and a half years. Oak Bridge Youth Shelter provides 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter with services accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for youth ages 9-17. When discussing what motivates her Krista says “making kids laugh. Even in times of heartache, you can always get a better perspective on life when you laugh.”

Jan 22, 2019
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Robin Miller, a Case Manager in our Washington Program, was 21 years old when she was sexually exploited. “In 1993, I was trafficked from a club in Portland up and down the West Coast and in six states.” It took me six years to finally get the courage to leave my trafficker in 1999, but healing from the abuse took more than a decade more, in part, because there was no coordinated system of care available to support survivors,” she said. Robin gave this testimony before the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners last year. Once again, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted a proclamation on January 17, 2019 recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Multnomah County.

Jan 15, 2019
An Easy Way to Give

You can donate to us every time you use shop at Fred Meyer or Amazon. If you link your Fred Meyer Rewards card or Amazon account on Amazon Smile to Janus Youth, we will get a percentage of the price of eligible purchases. It is that simple! Click these links to enroll in Fred Meyer and AmazonSmile community rewards programs and start giving to Janus Youth Programs!

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