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Jan 26, 2017

Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Multnomah County

Bella Gonzales was 17 years old when she was living on the street before she found her way to Athena House—a Janus residential program that provides safe, emergency housing up to 18 months for sex-trafficked youth. On January 26, she testified before the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners about how the Athena House and the staff there helped Bella change her life. “Staff helped me with resources, got me back to school and provided me with clothing and shelter. This program really makes a difference,” says Bella. Today, as a Lead Residential Counselor at Athena House, she is a role model to the residents living there. In 2016, Athena House housed 23 youth who were victims of sex-trafficking.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners is actively involved in addressing sex-trafficking and on January 26, proclaimed January 2017 to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Multnomah County. The county’s engagement is critical to combating sex trafficking: last year, 183 purchasers were arrested. Through their efforts, as well as the efforts of partner organizations like the Sexual Assault Resource Center, Oregon Department of Human Services and Lifeworks NW, sex-trafficking of youth is receiving attention and resources. Their work extends not only to sex-trafficking survivors, but also in the community to increase awareness focused on prevention and breaking the cycle. To support this effort, Harry’s Mother expanded its services and opened up a new center in Gresham and has two outreach specialists who provide street-level outreach, education and mentoring for sex-trafficked youth. These specialists speak to community groups, schools and health professionals about how to identify sex-trafficked youth and get them into service and safety.

Sex trafficking is a complex and pervasive problem but with the coordinated engagement among local and regional partners, our goal is to continue to make progress this year in eradicating it from the lives of our youth and our communities.

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Mar 09, 2017
Employee Spotlight— Roy Spencer

Every night of the week, a crowd of youth line up to get into our downtown Portland shelter where they get a warm bed and meal for the night. Preparing for their arrival every day takes a lot of work, including cooking their dinner. We talked to Roy Spencer, Porchlight Shelter Supervisor, about his job which includes managing and cleaning the shelter, doing light maintenance work and feeding up to 70 homeless youth daily. In addition to performing all of those tasks, according to his supervisor, Dennis Lundberg, “Roy will always step in when the shelter is short-staffed, going the extra mile for the staff and youth we serve. For example, this week he is on call 24/7 for 14 days straight.” Roy has been working for Janus for over three years. A soft-spoken person with an easy smile, he has earned respect from his peers and youth.

Feb 15, 2017
​Next steps After Imani

This month, Christian Ford will graduate from Imani House, one of our residential treatment programs that help youth between the ages of 13 to 18 rebuild their lives. 18 year-old Christian, a soft-spoken youth, has plans for his life after Imani. Like so many of the youth we serve, his journey in getting to where he is today was filled with many challenges.

Feb 13, 2017
​Board of Directors President Spotlight—Stephen McCammon

Stephen McCammon is the new President of the Janus Board of Directors. He has been a Board member since 2013. He lives with his wife Mary Ann. They are spending the month of February in Yelapa, Mexico where Mary Ann will teach quilting to the women in the village so they can sell their work to visiting tourists. We appreciate the time he took to answer our questions for this interview.

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