Homelessness

As one of the more-populated counties in the region, Jackson County also has a higher population of homeless people. 

A Homeless Task Force formed years ago, with the goal of getting street people off the streets.  They remain, and have been the target of new laws, like exclusion zones in Medford and Ashland. 

Our survey of homeless people and services, Out in the Cold, surveys Jackson County issues and offerings in this joint interview. 

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Eugene got one, Medford got one, now a group in Ashland wants one: a tiny house village. 

And not just for cuteness, but to house people who can't afford other places to live in one of Oregon's most expensive cities. 

The Ashland Tiny House Village Group envisions perhaps 12-15 houses in a cluster, a place for people to get on their feet financially while seeking permanent housing. 

Lane County is the most populous county JPR serves.  And along with the big population, there is a large population of homeless people. 

Homeless advocates in the county have provided a number of innovative programs, like Opportunity Village Eugene. 

But there are many other entities involved in caring, or attempting to care for, the homeless population.  ShelterCare is one of them. 

Community Sharing in Cottage Grove also plays a role. 

Families with children and little money for housing can end up sleeping at the homes of friends and relatives, or in their cars, or outdoors. 

Douglas County has an answer for homeless young people, with and without parents: Casa de Belen.  It provides transitional housing for homeless young people and their families to get back on their feet. 

We learn more about it as our series Out in the Cold focuses on Douglas County. 

If there was any doubt, our series of interviews "Out in the Cold" has confirmed that every part of our region includes homeless people among its inhabitants. 

We turn our attention to Klamath County, taking in issues for homeless people both young and old. 

Older people face challenges with age-related health issues, in fact sometimes end up homeless because of those issues. 

Meanwhile, families with children struggle to keep up with school when permanent shelter is an issue.  Klamath and Lake Community Action Services, KLCAS, works to address the issues. 

"IT'S THE CLIMATE," reads the sign in downtown Grants Pass.  But the climate includes winter, so trying to get through the days and nights without shelter is a true hardship. 

We continue "Out in the Cold" with a look at services available in Josephine County. 

UCAN (United Community Action Network) is the agency that works toward homelessness and housing solutions in Josephine and Douglas Counties.  One major program available in Douglas County is not on the list in Josephine: housing provided by the agency.  And Josephine County's ultra-tight housing market is a major issue.

Siskiyou County is one of the less-populated counties in California (roughly 45,000 people). 

But it is still a place where people struggle to find housing and sometimes just do without.  Last year a consultant versed in homelessness took a look at conditions in several small cities: Etna, Mt. Shasta, Tulelake, Weed and Yreka. 

We continue our series of interviews on homelessness, "Out in the Cold," with a discussion of how homelessness manifests in these smaller towns. 

There's plenty to think about when you're homeless.  Where you'll find shelter and food, how you'll stay healthy... and many more basic concerns about life itself. 

And then there's the fact that many people avoid, distrust, fear, and even hate homeless people. 

Our series of interviews on homelessness, "Out in the Cold," explores issues and offered solutions for homeless people in the region. 

Our attention turns to Shasta County, with Larry Olmstead from United Way of Northern California and Jonathan Anderson of the Good News Rescue Mission

Being homeless in the winter is a reality facing hundreds, possibly thousands, of people in the region.  Public and private agencies are set up to assist people, but there are still more people who need help. 

Our series of interviews on local homelessness, "Out in the Cold," continues with a look at the situation and responses in Humboldt County. 

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, or AHHA, and Eureka Rescue Mission provide help to homeless people. 

It has become nearly impossible to avoid noticing homeless people in just about any community of any size in our region. 

High rents, low vacancy rates, low wages... they are among a long list of contributing factors to homelessness in all corners of the "state of Jefferson." 

We explore the situation in many of the counties we serve, with a series of interviews under the banner "Out in the Cold."  We begin with Mendocino County, very rural but also very close to the San Francisco metropolitan area. 

The annual point-in-time homeless count just concluded all over the country (January 31).  Most of the agencies dealing with homeless people in our region expect the numbers to be similar to last year's, maybe a little bigger. 

Our month-long series of interviews on homelessness and services in the region, Out in the Cold, concludes with a broad overview. 

Dan Bryant from Square One Villages (formerly Opportunity Village Eugene), talks about successes in getting people into stable housing. 

Robert Marbut has been hired by several communities in the region to examine services for homeless people... and he often finds people using services who may not need them. 

Additional perspective comes from Mohamed "Hassan" Awad, a doctoral student at the University of Oregon, and Constance Wilkerson, the Continuum of Care director for Jackson County.

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The State of Oregon recently reported on the numbers of homeless students in the state. 

And the figures were not encouraging: of the five districts with the highest rates of student homelessness, four are in our listening area.  Butte Falls tops the list. 

The Maslow Project works to assist homeless students in both Jackson and Josephine Counties, and seldom has to look far to find people to serve. 

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Communities all over the country look for ways to get people off the streets. 

Homelessness persists, despite--or perhaps because of--an improving economy. 

One answer that works on a local level is to get homeless people out of town, literally. 

Good News Rescue Mission in Redding is one of several agencies that provide transportation to send homeless people from Redding back to places where they have a support network. 

More than 100 people have used the program since the mission began offering it three years ago. 

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The idea of declaring a shelter crisis in Humboldt County has been considered for several years now. 

There are more homeless people than shelter beds to hold them, and a declaration of crisis could loosen up some building restrictions to allow housing to be created more quickly. 

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives--AHHA--plans to petition county supervisors at the November 7th meeting. 

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The teen years are tough enough without also having to worry about where you'll sleep next. 

But teen homelessness is a fact of life in many communities.  And a recently-formed group in Redding seeks to come up with some solutions. 

Aaron Hayes of Catalyst Mentoring has some experience with homeless teens; he is a member of the new group. 

BuzzFarmers

There are many anecdotes about homeless people, but not so many firm figures.  It's just hard to count people who do not live in one place all the time, especially when the people sleep out of doors. 

But the point-in-time (PIT) homeless count attempts to track homeless people in Oregon every other January. 

The numbers are out for this year; they show Jackson County with one of the higher populations of homeless veterans in Oregon. 

Access, Inc. led the point-in-time study this year. 

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The story is the same in many of our communities: renting a house is costly. 

Lots of people want housing, and the supply is low, driving up the price and keeping vacancies rare.  Now a minimum wage job can't provide enough money for even a basic apartment. 

Those are findings from the National Low Income Housing Coalition

We dive into the numbers with Diane Yentel, the president of NLIHC. 

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity

It's almost like an old-fashioned barn-raising, the way Habitat for Humanity works. 

People with home-building skills come together with a soon-to-be homeowner and work together to build the house. 

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity marks 30 years on the job this year, with activity in Medford and several other communities. 

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Even people who can afford homes are aware of how tight the rental market is. 

From Eugene to Redding, vacancy rates hover around one or two percent.  Which makes rental housing hard to find AND expensive.  The situation contributes to homelessness as well. 

In the city of Redding, the Community Revitalization and Development Corporation works to bring up the numbers of affordable housing units. 

Living outside is never easy, but it could be deadly this time of year.

A Portland man living on the street succumbed to hypothermia Monday, as temperatures plunged into the teens.

We hear about efforts in Lane County to keep people warm during dangerously cold times of year. Groups like St. Vincent De Paul are providing warming shelters from Dec. 1 to March 31 this year, longer than ever before thanks to a bump in state funding.

Ashland also provides cold-weather shelters.  Our guest is William Wise, Director First Place Family Center for St. Vincent De Paul Lane County. 

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