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New Funding Allows Youth Outreach Program to ‘Stay on the Streets’

Downtown Clean & Safe District Covers Federal Grant Shortfall


For more information:
Valerie Cunningham | 503.552.6754, vcunningham@portlandalliance.com 
Liza Dossick | 503.552.6772, ldossick@portlandalliance.com

November 24, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. – Beneficiaries of the Janus Youth Yellow Brick Road program, an outreach effort connecting Portland’s homeless youth to services, will get continued service this winter, thanks to swift action last week by the Downtown Clean & Safe board of directors.

 After learning that Janus Youth had lost federal funding for professional outreach workers and supplies, the Clean & Safe board acted immediately to offer $30,000 in transitional funding to get the program through the cold winter months. Through the Yellow Brick Road program, Janus provides critical warm weather supplies, such as sleeping bags and gloves, to homeless youth. Outreach workers talk to the youth about housing options and counseling services that are available.
 
“Janus has been highly effective in offering critical first steps for kids to get back on track,” said Ty Barker, general manager of Unico Properties and chair of the Downtown Clean & Safe board of directors. “This past summer, the Janus staff developed a strong partnership with the Portland Police Bureau walking beat officers, enhancing our ability to work with these youth, develop trust and ultimately get them off the streets and into safer environments.”  
 
Janus lost funding due to an error in its filings with a federal funding agency in Washington D.C. While the group will re-apply for the grant during the next fiscal year, an interim solution was needed to keep critical aspects of the program in operation this winter. Downtown Clean & Safe board members learned about this issue at a Portland City Council work session last week. That same day, the idea to provide one-time funding to bridge the gap was immediately proposed to the Clean & Safe board and unanimously approved.
 
“My head is still spinning from the unexpected phone call from Clean & Safe,” said Dennis Lundberg, associate director at Janus. “This very generous support keeps my longest-running outreach worker employed and on the streets of downtown where he can continue to build relationships and engage homeless youth in services they need. The additional money will help me stock our outreach supplies as we gear up for the cold, wet months ahead.”
 
While this temporary fund will help cover short-term costs, Janus has an ongoing need for public support to keep the program operating. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit the Janus website: http://www.janusyouth.org/ (Click 'donate' at the top right of the screen and look for the box that allows donors to indicate a specific program to support. By indicating Yellow Brick Road, you will ensure that your contribution goes directly to street outreach). 
 
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Janus Youth Yellow Brick Road Portland
Yellow Brick Road is a volunteer-based street outreach program established in 1984 in Portland, Oregon. Yellow Brick Road is a non-political, non-religious, non-judgmental organization that provides immediate eye-to-eye advocacy, first-aid and hygiene supplies, community resources, and referrals to Portland and Southwest Washington's diverse street dependent population. Learn more at http://yellowbrickroadoutreach.blogspot.com/
 
Downtown Clean & Safe District
Downtown’s Clean & Safe District was created more than 20 years ago to support additional cleaning and security in the central city. The district, funded by downtown property owners, includes 213 blocks in the central city, and also supports market research and retail recruitment and retention efforts. The district is managed by the Portland Business Alliance under the direction of the district’s board of directors. Learn more at http://www.cleanandsafepdx.com/