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Apr 05, 2018

​Youth Spotlight—Rose Edwards

“Never give up,” is the motto Rose carried with her during her years as a homeless youth in Vancouver, WA. After over five years of homelessness, struggling with addiction and ending up in jail repeatedly, Rose turned a new leaf on life. At 24, she is a supervisor at Papa Murphy’s, has a one-bedroom apartment, spends time with her six-year old son and is completely clean.

Her homelessness started at age 18 when she left home because of a falling out with a family member over her drug use and relapse. While Rose was able to get support, hoping to change the course her life was taking, she was not ready to quit. Eventually, Rose got into a program at Open House Ministries in Vancouver where she received rent-free housing for a year. When that ended, she was back on the street, trying to survive but relapsed again and sent to jail. In lieu of extended jail time, Rose enrolled in a Drug Court program that offered treatment and recovery support services. This was a turning point for her. “I realized I couldn’t help myself alone, it didn’t work.” While in the program, the Vancouver Housing Authority placed Rose with a caseworker at Janus who tirelessly worked with her to find housing. Says Rose, “It took a year to find stable housing and it was an emotional rollercoaster ride. I hit bottom, relapsed and was back in jail. Fortunately, my caseworker never gave up on me and was always kind and reassuring, which helped me get through that tough time.” Finally, Rose and her Janus caseworker found her an apartment where she has been happily living for a year. “A month before I moved into my home, I sobered up. Having my own space and a place to go home every night where I can shower and store my own things—I never had that,” says Rose.

Next month, Rose will graduate from the Drug Court program. She plans to become a mentor there to help others who are in similar situations as she once was. She also believes that staying involved in the program will be a good reminder never to go back to her former life.

One of the most important outcomes of having her own home, in addition to being clean and employed, is that Rose was able to have her son back within two months of moving into her home. Says Rose, “Last week I took him to school for the first time. Having housing stability gives me a chance to be a mom.”

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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.

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