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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.


Mar 01, 2018
Board of Directors Member Spotlight – Todd Allais

We welcomed Todd Allais onto the Janus Board of Directors in January this year. Born in Portland and raised in Vancouver, WA., Todd has lived in the Portland metropolitan area his whole life and has deep roots in the community. Todd enjoys running, cooking and keeping up with his two teenage children. Todd is an Account Manager at CenturyLink.

Jan 18, 2018
Employee Spotlight—Washington Outreach Specialists

Every day our Outreach Specialists in Washington are busy serving homeless youth who have no one else to turn to. The team of three staff—Keeva Haverkost, Jessica Villasenor, and Jean Withers—work like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other so they can provide high quality service to youth. All of them are passionate about their work. Bettina Boles, Program Supervisor of The Perch and Yellow Brick Road Washington, says of her team, “Each person brings their unique contribution and special reason to work as an Outreach Specialist.” According to Bettina, the team has multifaceted roles— hosting The Perch—our drop-in center for youth—conducting street outreach for Yellow Brick Road, Washington and leading educational presentations that help the community better understand human trafficking and its impact in Clark County.

Jan 09, 2018
Youth Spotlight—Noah Schultz and his” Inspiring Action Tour”

Noah Schultz is a 25-year old graduate of the Hope Partnership program who served 7.5 years in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). While at the MacLaren Correctional Facility, Noah received two Bachelor of Arts degrees. Since his release in October 2016, he has become an outspoken youth advocate, with a passion to drive reform in our justice system, inspiring hope, action and humanizing the stories of the incarcerated. In November 2017, Noah completed a two-month “Inspiring Action Tour” at ten correctional facilities throughout the U.S. where he showed the award-winning documentary film about him, “Perception from Prison to Purpose.” He is co-owner of Forgotten Culture Clothing and co-founder of Verbal Escape. Noah spoke to us about his tour.

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