close menu
Apr 02, 2018

​Employee Spotlight—Annie Colton

Finding affordable housing in the Portland/Vancouver area is difficult in the best of circumstances. For many homeless youth, the challenge may seem insurmountable—that is where Annie Colton steps in. Annie has been working as a Housing Case Manager in Vancouver, Washington for over a year. She provides the lifeboat that helps youth ages 18-25, navigate through the unchartered waters of housing. Working in collaboration with two other caseworkers in The Perch, our Vancouver drop-in center, her job is focused on getting youth off the streets and into stable housing.

In addition to high costs, there are many barriers homeless youth face in finding housing—a criminal record, a clean rental history or even their age. To help overcome these obstacles, Annie assists youth in drafting letters to landlords, explains what a lease or an eviction notice is and teaches them what it means to be a good neighbor. “This past winter, some of our youth got evicted. I try to address the issues that led to the eviction, like substance abuse or too many guests,” says Annie. Often there are setbacks and we may not see the success of our work for one to two years. “When this happens, our clients often want to disappear but we tell they we’re here for them, that we are not giving up and they can learn from their experiences. I try to build their confidence.”

Annie has always wanted to help others especially at-risk youth, having been one herself. She was in foster care when she ran away at 13 years old and ended up on the doorstep of Oak Bridge, our temporary youth shelter in Vancouver. “This led to something very positive for me. I ended up with a nurturing foster parent and eventually went on to get my Bachelor of Arts degree in human development and a certificate in human services and case management,” says Annie. She gets satisfaction from being a positive and professional role model as well as an advocate for her clients. She enjoys seeing them reach important milestones—simple things like getting dressed and ready in the morning to socialize in the world or going to treatment for the first time. And Annie is happy when youth graduate out of the program. Says Annie, “I tell them all the time, you have value, you have worth.”

Share:

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.

Nov 26, 2018
​Employee Spotlight—Gina McConnell

Gina knows what it feels like to run away. She did it at age 12 to avoid abuse at home, but like so many youth on the street, she quickly became a target for sex trafficking. After many years “in the life,” she spent time in prison where she befriended a person who said to her when she was released, “I need you to go out there and be our voice.” This was a pivotal moment for Gina and from that point on, she was committed to helping youth who have experienced similar trauma as she did. Today she works in the Cowlitz County Youth Services Program as a case manager for sexually-exploited youth. We talked to Gina to find out how her experiences has prepared her for this role.

Nov 12, 2018
Share The Season Of Giving

It's not too early to start thinking about giving for the holidays. Over 600 children and youth call Janus Youth Programs home every day. You can make their season brighter. Here are a few ideas:

  • Adopt a shelter or residential program: Provide gifts ($40 or less) for 12 youth in Portland or Vancouver/Cowlitz. We will provide a holiday wish list with names and ages.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation and leave the shopping to us!
  • Organize a donation drive: Purchase new blankets, jackets, socks or winter weather gear for homeless youth in need.

Contact us by completing this form and email to januscommunications@janusyouth.org.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter

View current e-newsletter

Follow Us

Search Our Site

©2013-2015 Janus Youth Programs  |  707 NE Couch St. Portland, OR 97232  |  Phone: (503) 233-6090
Staff Area  |  Federal Tax ID: 23-7345990  |  Privacy Policy   |  Site by Wooster Web Design