Homelessness Help in Newport

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Look around.  Do you notice the number of people who appear to be homeless?  When I look around, I am aware of the number of people holding up signs asking for food or money, of the number of people pushing shopping carts filled with their worldly possessions, and I have become increasingly aware of the number of people who appear to be living out of their cars.  

Did you know that out of 198 school districts in the state of Oregon, Lincoln County ranked the highest in Oregon for unsheltered youth in 2019?  Our school district had 943 homeless students in the 2018-2019 school year.

In case you may not be aware, homeless students, as defined by the Mckinney-Vento Act, are those students who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime shelter.  They may be staying in motels, living with other people, living in cars, tents, staying at campgrounds,  or living in a shelter due to economic hardship or loss of housing.  

   There are many reasons that can cause a family or someone to become homeless.  Some of the main reasons are unemployment, poverty, lack of affordable housing, availability of needed services, mental illness, and substance abuse.  Youth homelessness is often caused by family conflict, economic hardships, mental health issues, and substance abuse.  Also, children who have had an interaction with the Juvenile Justice system or Welfare are more likely to become homeless; those who have special needs, who are pregnant, who identify as LGBTQ, and youth of color are more likely to become homeless.

Resource link:

https://endhomelessness.org/

According to Katey Townsend, our HELP Program Coordinator, which stands for Homeless Education & Literacy Project: “as a community, we need resources to catch up with our students’ needs that include more stable housing, emergency shelter, and host homes for unaccompanied youth.” 

Regardless of the statistic or how the person arrived at this situation, these facts have faces and are real human beings.  These facts are our friends, our classmates, and they sit next to us in the lunchroom.  These “facts” need us to step up, reach out, and help in any way we possibly can.  If you think that you may know someone who is homeless or who may be in need, here are just a few ways that you can help:  Reach out, be kind, make the connection and befriend that person.  If possible create a gift bag that might include snacks such as packaged food items like trail mix, granola bars, apple sauce, juice, instant noodles; or items like hats, gloves, socks, and toiletry items.  You and your family could donate items like food, clothing, toiletries, blankets & sleeping bags to a shelter.  

There are resources available through our school district.  The HELP program can assist students that are homeless overcome obstacles with school so they can have academic success.  They can provide assistance with enrollment, fees, school supplies, meals, transportation, and clothing.  In addition, HELP can offer assistance with other community and public resources that might be available to the student.  HELP centers are located in Newport, Lincoln City, Toledo, and Walport.

Contact:

541-514-5824 Newport

541-336-4357 Toledo

541-563-8564 Walport

541-996-4878 Lincoln City