Homelessness

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It's a natural fit, for churches to help the homeless population. 

The founders and leaders of most major religions speak with compassion about caring for people down on their luck. 

Ashland churches are making moves to increase the quantity and quality of the community's offerings for homeless people. 

Rev. Dan Fowler from the First Presbyterian Church visits, along with Ken Gudger, president of Options for Helping Residents of Ashland

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Too many people already spend nights in their cars because they don't have any other place to sleep.  But some other vehicles, with a little work, can be comfy places to spend some time. 

Ashland-based Forever Homes, Vehicles for Change plans to convert retired school buses to new uses as temporary homes for homeless people. 

FH,VFC leaders envision both short- and longer-term modifications for the big yellow buses. 

Clean Break Partnership

Taking a shower is a normal and uncomplicated event for most people.  It can be a rare event indeed for people living on the streets. 

Last year homeless people in Redding got a chance to take showers in a shower trailer set up by Clean Break Partnership and the Shasta Humanity Project.  But it was only a pilot program that did not return this year. 

And the city council in Redding just nixed a change in zoning that would have made operation of the shower trailer easier in more places. 

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Business students are trained to solve problems.  So Southern Oregon University and several cities in Jackson County set the MBA students loose on homelessness. 

Students set out to assess community attitudes toward homeless people and problems, from the perspective of residents, businesses, and homeless service providers. 

Corey Murphy and Lisa Marston were on the team of students studying the business community attitudes. 

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Eight new housing units for veterans are in the works for Klamath Falls, thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services. 

$2 Million will buy and renovate a building on East Main Street, give veterans places to live, and NOT require a money match from the Klamath Housing Authority or Klamath & Lake Community Action Services

Housing for vets is an ongoing issue in Klamath Falls and many towns in the region. 

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. 

Lulu Vision

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. 

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