BEND, OR -- J bar J Youth Services and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council received $953,950 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“The community is taking policy strides and doing all the right things to lay the groundwork for additional housing supply and for homeless response. So, really showing the solution-oriented approach,” HUD’s Northwest Administrator Margaret Salazar told a gathering of officials from the city of Bend, COIC, and area non-profits Central Oregon is a model for its efforts to end youth homelessness, “We know that when we invest in our youth, not only are we changing the trajectory of their lives, but we're preventing adult homelessness.”
The grant is part of $60-million in federal grants aimed at ending youth homelessness across the country. Central Oregon is the only community in the Pacific Northwest to receive the funding.
J bar J Youth Services Program Director Eliza Wilson says the money is a big boost, and she has several plans to put it to use, “I definitely think having a place where youth know to go, and they can go every day to access things like showers and things like that.” Wilson added it would be a collaborative effort in deciding how the money is spent.
During Wednesday’s check presentation at youth homeless shelter, the LOFT, COIC’s Tammy Baney thanked local officials, service providers, and non-profit leaders for their efforts, “Today is the day that we get to tell our youth that hope is on the horizon.”
In Central Oregon, there are 29 shelter beds for teens, between the LOFT and Grandma’s House.
The number of unsheltered children rose 30% in the last year. The region has one of the highest rates in the country.