Thursday, April 14, 2016

One YBR Outreach Specialist Says Goodbye to Yellow Brick Road

Tonight was my last night of outreach with YBR. Tomorrow I move into a new phase of my career, changing my role from street outreach specialist to access center worker.
I spent this last year seeking out youth to tell them about resources and where they could get screened in for services. Now, I'll be screening them for the services I once referred them too.
It's weird to think that I can say I've worked for my dream job. The whole reason I went to school was to come back and work for YBR. If you know me, you've heard me talk of it. It feels weird to say that this thing in my life that I love so much, and in so many ways has helped me grow as a human, will now be behind me, at least for a time.

It wasn't always easy. I saw children making homes under rocks, people wandering with no shoes, and a population that is routinely judged more for merely trying to survive. I saw those same people give their last dollar to someone else in need, bless passersby who didn't acknowledge their existence, and form families from nothing other than a common bond of struggle. I've witnessed first hand the amazing spirit of human resilience, and it's contagious.
If you'd like to gain new perspective, and learn to love more genuinely, if you want to make raw difference, I encourage you to volunteer for YBR. One night a week, for six months. I promise it will change your life.

-Bettina, Former Street Outreach Specialist

Friday, February 12, 2016

Porch Light Shelter Staff Natasha Kotey on Black History Month

February is Black History Month and we asked one of our shelter staff, Natasha Kotey, to share her thoughts on this important occasion. Natasha has been with Janus Youth Programs for several months and participates on our Janus Diversity Committee. Here's what she had to say:


Black History Month is here and is as necessary as ever before. This month we celebrate the many contributions of African Americans since getting off the boat. Blacks’ excellence and struggle have been nearly invisible in American History classes. Visible only to pander to a very idealized and misleading view of America. This is the education the youth we serve have come from. For the sake of the Janus employees, employers, and the youth we are here for, let's speak truth to this month, through the historical lens of Blacks in Oregon. 

I moved to Portland from Oklahoma in August of 2014 and started working at Janus nearly a year afterwards. After having seen so many young faces on the streets, I found Janus and joined the team at the Porchlight Crisis Shelter. As an African American woman, I have always and will always be aware of my race. Race was the first thing I noticed about Portland. Although I treat every client with the same care and respect, whenever Black youth enter into our shelter I feel a connection an ease in them knowing people who have been culturally or racially stamped also work at shelter and are there to support them. Empathy goes a long way and there is no denying how our culture shapes us. In the most predominately White big city in America, our clients of color may find it difficult to find the unique support they need. It has been my job to learn about direct actions in Portland that will benefit our youth.

Oregon passed a series of Exclusion laws from 1844-57 forbidding Blacks from settlement, and prohibiting Blacks from owning real estate.  Even after the 14th and 15th amendments were past after the Civil War, it wasn't until 1927 that these laws were repealed. These were widely oppressive laws and we are still met with the residue of the past. This a dark side of Oregon's history that is kept in the shadows through Oregon Public Schools. 

Take it to present day Portland. Redlining in Portland denied people access to housing and wealth. Redlining was a way for segregation to live on past laws prohibiting it. Redlining was an insidious practice that gives reason to why NE Portland is the "Black side of town". The youth we serve come from areas that were historically ignored and mistreated. The struggle for identity in a city that has systematically rejected people like you is a challenge that a majority of Portland natives will never understand. Historical and cultural awareness greatly informs how we engage with youth and each other.

Working on the front lines at Porchlight has taught me so much about myself and the communities around me. Race relations on the streets are far more familial and accepting than those of middle class neighborhoods.  I've realized ways in which I can support youth that would also heal my inner child who struggled finding the help she needed. Call it selfish, but everything we do is to satisfy our values and passions. We should never place more value on the act than the effect. We should effect social change by making our doors more accessible for people of color. 

We all must learn about structural racism, critical race theory, and engage in the history of the places we choose to settle in. A healthy dialogue stems from the discussion and dissection of historical issues. This dialogue provides us the tools to not dismiss the challenges and opportunities organizations and our community face when we simply "talk about diversity". Janus Youth should strive to be an organization not just talking about it, but building from it.

Speak to people you do not know. Listen and believe their story. Embrace Black Excellence. Embrace the Uncomfortable. I'll leave you with a quote from Portland activist, author, and PSU Professor Walidah Imarisha "When we see these events as part of a cycle, then we can see what is really happening and can create a place we want to live in" Happy Black History Month. Stay Educated.


Natasha Kotey
Residential Advocate 
Porchlight Crisis Shelter

Diversity Committee Member

Monday, January 04, 2016

Severe Weather Alert extended through Tuesday Morning.

Severe Weather Alert

Severe Weather Notice: For the period of Monday evening, January 4th to Tuesday morning, January 5th, 2016, the National Weather Service forecasts wind chill temperatures between 21° and 25° F.  


See the post below for list of shelters or call 211.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Severe Weather Alert: Wednesday evening, December 30th to Monday morning, January 4th.

Severe Weather Alert

Severe Weather Notice: For the period of Wednesday evening, December 30th to Monday morning, January 4th, 2016, the National Weather Service forecasts overnight lows between 24° and 27° F, with wind chill temperatures reaching lows of 14° to 17° F.  

Anyone seeking shelter should contact 211info, reached by dialing 2-1-1. 211info will be available to identify shelter and warming center resources 24/7. Additionally, shelter information is available at www.211info.org.

Service providers who would like to update information about services they offer during Severe Weather Notices, please call Troy Hammond at (503) 504-9867.

The following warming center facilities are available:

St. Francis Dining Hall
330 SE 11th Avenue, Portland 97214
Dates: Wednesday, December 30th - Morning of Monday, January 4th, 2016.
Hours: 7pm-6amServes: Adults 18 and older, allows pets
Imago Dei Emergency Shelter - TPI
1302 SE Ankeny Street, Portland 97214
Walk in, check in anytime after 8:30pmDates:
Wednesday, December 30th - Morning of Monday, January 4th, 2016.
Hours: 8:30pm-7amServes: Adults 18 and older, allows pets

St. Johns Warming Shelter 
University Park United Methodist Church
4775 N Lombard Street, Portland 97203
Dates: Wednesday, December 30th, 2015Hours: 8pm-8am 
Serves: Adults 18 and older, allows pets


Bud Clark Commons - TPI
650 NW Irving Street, Portland 97209
503-280-4700
Walk in, check in anytime after 8:30pm
Dates: Wednesday, December 30th - Morning of Monday, January 4th, 2016.
Hours: 8:30pm-7amServes: Adults 18 and older, allows pets
Jerome Sears Emergency Shelter - TPI
2730 SW Multnomah Boulevard, Portland 97219
To reserve a spot, call 503-280-4700 Monday-Friday 8am-4pm OR come to the Day Center at 650 Irving Street, Portland 97209
Dates:
Seven nights a week throughout winter season
Hours: 7pm - 7am 
Serves:
 Female-identified individuals and couples 18 and older, with a capacity of 150.
 


The following year-round shelters are also available:

Safety Off the Streets Shelter (SOS)
435 NW Glisan Street, Portland 97209
To reserve a spot, call 503-280-4700 Monday-Friday 8am-4pm OR come to the Day Center at 650 Irving Street, Portland 97209
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: 5pm-8amServes: Female-identified adults, documented service animals permitted

East County Family Center
16141 E Burnside Street, Portland (near 162nd Avenue) 97233
503-502-0128

This is a walk-in facility. It is not necessary to call beforehand.
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: 3:30pm-7:30amServes: Families with children under 18 and women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy

Portland Rescue Mission
111 W Burnside Street, Portland 97209
503-906-7690
Additional beds available for winter shelter
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: Entry to year-round beds 5:45pm, winter beds 8pm
Serves: Male-identified adults

Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES)
30 SW 2nd Avenue, Portland 97204
503-227-0810
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: 6pm-8amServes: Female-identified adults

CityTeam International
526 SE Grand Avenue, Portland 97214
$5 fee waived during severe weather
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: 5:45pm-7amServes: Male-identified adults

Porchlight Crisis Shelter
1635 SW Alder Street, Portland 97205
503-222-5933
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: 9pm-9amServes: Youth ages 15-23

Harry’s Mother Runaway Shelter
738 NE Davis Street, Portland 97232
503-233-8111
Dates: Seven nights a week
Hours: 24 hours a day
Serves: Youth ages 9-17

 


The following day centers are available:

Dignity Village Warming Shelter
9401 NE Sunderland Avenue, Portland 97211
503-281-1604
Dates: Seven days a week when temperatures are 40 degrees or colder
Hours: 8am-10pm
Serves: Adults 18 and older

St. Francis Dining Hall
330 SE 11th Avenue, Portland 97214
Dates: Monday-Friday, Sunday
Hours: 10am-7pm, noon-5pm (Sunday)
Serves: Individuals and families

Anawim Christian Community
19626 NE Glisan Street, Gresham 97230
503-888-4453
Dates:  TBD
Times: TBD
Serves: Individuals and families

Bud Clark Commons
650 NW Irving Street, Portland 97209
503-280-4700
Dates: Monday-Friday, Saturday/Sunday/holidays
Times: 7am-6:45pm (Mon-Fri), 8am-3:45pm (Sat/Sun/holidays)
Serves: Adults

Union Gospel Mission
3 NW Third Avenue, Portland 97209
503-274-4486
Dates: Monday-Friday, Saturday
Times: 10am-noon and 2pm-4:30pm (Mon - Fri), 2pm-4pm (Sat)
Serves: Individuals and families

JOIN
1435 NE 81st, Portland 97213
Dates: Thursday, December 31st, 2015, CLOSED Friday, January 1st, 2016
Hours: 7am-3pmServes: Individuals and families

Rose Haven
627 NW 18th Avenue, Portland 97209
503-248-6364
Dates: Wednesday, December 30th, 2015Thursday, December 31st, 2015, CLOSED Friday, January 1st, 2016
Hours:  1pm-4pm (Wed),  8am-4pm (Thur)
Serves: Female-identified adults and women with children

Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES)
30 SW 2nd Avenue, Portland 97204
503-227-0810
Dates: Seven days a week throughout winter season
Hours: 7am-11pm
Serves: Female-identified adults


Catholic Charities - Housing Transitions
2740 SE Powell Boulevard, Portland 97202
503-231-4866
Dates: 
Monday-Friday, CLOSED Friday, January 1st, 2016
Hours: 10am-1pmServes: Unaccompanied female-identified adults

Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
5135 NE Columbia Boulevard, Portland 97218
503-288-8177
Dates: TBD
Hours: TBD
Serves: Youth ages 15-24 years old

Outside In
1132 SW 13th Avenue, Portland 97205
503-535-3800
Dates: Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday
Hours: 1pm-6pmServes: Adults ages 18-24 years old

CityTeam International
526 SE Grand Avenue, Portland 97214
Dates: Monday-SaturdayHours: 7am-6:30pm
Serves: Individuals and families


New Avenues for Youth (NAFY)
820 SW Oak Avenue, Portland 97205
503-224-4339
Dates: TBD
Hours: TBD
Serves: Youth ages 15-24

Janus Youth Access Center
1635 SW Alder Street, Portland 97205
503-432-3986
Dates: Seven days a week
Hours: 9am-9pmServes: Screening and referral for youth ages 15-23


Please call 211info with questions regarding other shelter and transportation resources.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thank you to Commissioner Fritz!

Commissioner Fritz has once again galvanized City Hall for her annual winter sock drive to benefit Yellow Brick Road Street Outreach Program! Today we picked up five large bags filled with warm socks that will be distributed to those in need on the streets of Portland. It's more important than ever to keep your feet warm, dry and clean during the winter months, and we are deeply appreciative that City Hall has pulled together to help us meet the need. 


Monday, December 07, 2015

Winter Shelter is Open!

We are pleased to announce that as of December 7th, 
the Janus Youth winter shelter is open
allowing capacity for 70 youth a night.


As I'm sure you're aware, temperatures have been dropping and rain levels have been rising. This means that homeless youth are more at risk for things such as trench-foot, the cold or flu, pneumonia, or even more severe ailments like frostbite or even death in extreme cases.

Unfortunately, even with the increased number of beds, there will still be some nights where our shelter fills up and we will have to turn people away. Even though our shelter operates between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am, there are gaps in programming hours that leave the youth exposed to the elements. 

For this reason we are accepting donations of cold weather gear, such as coats, hats, gloves, scarves, hand warmers, and rain gear. Items can be delivered to the main Janus office, located at 707 NE Couch St. in Portland between 11 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. Make sure you let them know that the donation is for Yellow Brick Road (YBR). 


Porchlight Crisis Shelter
1635 SW Alder Street, Portland
Dates: Seven nights a week throughout winter season
Hours: 9 pm – 9 am
Serves: Youth ages 15-23

Monday, November 30, 2015

Free YBR Training, Sunday, December 6, 2-5 pm.

Yellow Brick Road provides free training events to the community every 4 months. These events are FREE and available to anyone over 18 who may wish to learn more about street outreach, volunteer opportunities with Janus Youth Programs and other topics related to youth homelessness, poverty, exploitation and social justice. This is a great opportunity to meet the current outreach volunteers, staff and program supervisor. It is also a great opportunity to learn more about homeless youth resources and street outreach in Washington and Oregon. Applications are always on hand for anyone who wishes to join the team, but there is absolutely no obligation.

Our next training will take place in downtown Portland on Sunday December 6, 2015 from 2pm until 5pm. This will be an opportunity to learn about important changes relating to the growth of our program.  We will also be training on outreach safety and the team-based approach with fun break-out activities and team building exercises. We hope you will join us! Light lunch and refreshments will be provided. Seating is limited, please RSVP at the address below.

SUNDAY
December 6, 2015
2pm-5pm

Seating is limited. Please R.S.V.P. for the location: