For the first time, Lane County has been awarded with funding from the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Homelessness.
The program supports communities working on implementing a coordinated approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness.
County Commissioner Pat Farr, who is Chair of the Poverty and Homelessness Board, said the grant is competitive. He attributed the win to having youth who’ve experienced homeless involved in the application process.
“You know for years we’ve had adults talking about how we can help kids with homelessness, now we have kids talking about how you can help us with homelessness... I’m really excited that this is a chance for kids to help define the program that will help them,” he said.
“Really it is a place for kids to get away and settle into a lifestyle that is away from the crisis that has been a part of their lives and away from potentially harmful situations and relationships that they are in,” he said.
Funds could also go toward creating a center where youth can stay and access services to help them get out of a crisis, Farr said.
“It’s been underfunded and we’ve been trying to open it on Lane County property, but we’ve been working really hard to make it happen, that’s one possibility,” he said.
Farr said the grant is one of the most exciting things the county has received and could be a real game changer.
The Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance that serves homeless youth across Marion and Polk counties also received an award from HUD. They received $3.69 million to fund similar projects to prevent and end youth homelessness.
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