Brad Bills, the new director of Hosea Youth Services and our very own Southtowne member, Josh, spoke about the issue of homeless youth.
The Lane County Point In Time (PIT) count results, a survey for the homeless community, just came out. Here are a few statistics:
- 2165 filled out the survey which is an increase of 524 from the previous year. 297 are youth through age 24.
- 1633 reported being unsheltered. 165 are youth through age 24.
- Chronically homeless also increased dramatically. 38% report being chronically homeless.
- 1 in 4 reported having a substance abuse issue but more than that actually have an addiction issue of some kind.
- 1/3 report having a mental illness.
- 197 homeless veterans were counted.
- The amount of homeless youth in high school has doubled in three years.
Hosea sees about 350 new youth each year (and about 3000 visits). At Hosea, kids can get meals, a shower, do laundry, get clothes and toiletries, and find resources and mentors. Loving kids where they are is a main focus. They are open several weekdays, but not weekends. Shelter is not offered for most youth.
Shelter is a huge issue for homeless kids and the homeless population in general. Without it, getting a job, getting to school, getting anywhere, becomes much more difficult. Mental health is a huge issue because most of these kids come from situations where it is actually safer and better for them on the street. Health and addiction recovery is another huge issue…they aren’t being seen by a doctor, they cannot afford rehab. So these are huge obstacles that need to be addressed in order to truly provide an impact for most of the kids that are on the street.
Hosea is a part of the 15th Night Initiative, a group of organizations focused on keeping kids away from CHRONIC homelessness.
New development: After over 20 years of standing on its own, this past year Hosea Youth Services (HYS) became part of the Lane Leadership Foundation (LLF). Learn more here: https://t.e2ma.net/message/d8uwbb/p97s6d
Southtowne Rotary volunteers with Hosea once a month to provide meals. We also painted the resource center and donated laundry machines. Anyone can join in anytime.