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Feb 06, 2017

​Yellow Brick Road of Washington Goes to Olympia

For many of our youth and families living on the streets, they are often faced with barriers when attempting to be housed. Some of these barriers include sources of income, criminal backgrounds, serious mental health and substance abuse disorders and lack of resources. On February 2nd, The Yellow Brick Road of Washington—our street outreach program designed to find homeless youth—took a trip to the state capitol of Olympia to participate in one of the largest lobby days: the Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day. This was a day to advocate on issues such as housing affordability and an end to homelessness.

The first half of the day consisted of several workshops that ranged from knowing how to effectively advocate for a House/Senate bill, to fully understanding the barriers that prospective renters’ face.

Following the workshops, all the participants walked to the Legislative Building to attend the “Rally for Homes” where we listened to live music from a First Nations Native American tribe, heard speakers and witnessed a presentation of the unity flags— colorful pictures tied together—that honor those 4,505 who slept outside according to counts in Washington last year.

The final part of the day was breaking into our respected districts and attending our legislator meetings. The team met with State Representatives Paul Harris (Republican) and Monica Stonier (Democrat) to advocate House Bill 1570, which improves resources, increasing access and removing barriers to housing for individuals and families in Washington. We also spoke with them about House Bill 1633, which prohibits a landlord from refusing to lease or rent property to an applicant or expelling a tenant from a property based on the source of income of an otherwise eligible applicant or tenant.

Homelessness is nationwide issue that is very complex but this event showed that with civic engagement, advocates, and a sense of community our goal to end homeless is attainable. 

Terrell Berry, Outreach Specialist, The Perch, Yellow Brick Road of WA

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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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