Homelessness is an issue felt across the country. Here in the Eugene/Springfield, homelessness is a wide-spread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years. With the ever increasing population in the Eugene/Springfield areas, the housing market has become more competitive, which has increased rent, utility costs, and availability of housing. Although the population experiencing homelessness has remained relatively consistent throughout the last few years, waiting lists for subsidized housing and housing assistance programs continue to grow longer and longer. Many people turn to the Eugene Mission to seek temporary housing, especially during the cold winter months. However, if you are an unaccompanied youth and you are experiencing homelessness, gaining access to resources is more difficult.
Youth under the age of 18 are unable to access many food distribution resources, shelters, and resource centers due to their status as a minor. For those between the ages of 18 and 23, the available resources are oftentimes not appropriate and young people can find themselves interacting with populations they have not encountered yet. In order to fill this gap in resources for youth, the 15th Night has created a community coalition that acts as a safety net for young people experiencing homelessness.
The 15th Night is a broad community partnership designed to prevent youth from going out on the street and to intervene quickly if they do. Instead of creating a new 501(c)3, the 15th Night created a coalition of existing non-profits, businesses, and community leaders all focused on providing services to work on prevention and intervention. The 15th Night has created organizational objectives for the coalition:
- Reduce youth dropout rates due to homelessness
- Inform our community and youth of the dangers street life can bring
- Create a culture of caring throughout our community towards at-risk youth
- Help our community to better understand what their participation could do for a homeless youth
- Create accessibility for homeless youth in regards to community resources and assistance
How Does AFFEC Fit into the Network?
- Host homes and how to become one, click here
- How to become a mentor
- Family finding - visit our family finding page for more information. Fill out the volunteer form to learn how to assist us with our family finding program.
We are also looking for community members to join the movement and volunteer in a number of ways. If you are interested in volunteering in either capacity:
- Fill out a volunteer application.
- Select the appropriate boxes for either mentor, family finding volunteer, or host home.
Having a safe and stable place to call home is an immeasurably important resource that many of us take for granted. AFFEC will be providing homes for youth referred to the 15th Night network, who are maintaining regular attendance at school, so they can experience this necessity, while completing their secondary education. The host home matching system is mirrored after that of our mentoring program, in that it matches youth with volunteers on a strengths and needs basis. These homes are split into two categories- short term and long term. Short term housing providers will house a youth as they enter the program, for up to 30 days, unless a bond is formed between the pair. While staying in this home, the youth will work with AFFEC to determine who can provide them with the most successful long term placement. The long term housing providers will house the youth for the duration of the high school career. This sounds like a big commitment and it is. Housing providers are not allotted monthly stipends for supporting the youth and they assume a parental role in the relationship. However, the pair will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night network. By being connected to the network, AFFEC can help youth get their Oregon ID, food stamps, clothing vouchers, and other necessities. It is not expected that those taking youth into their homes will take on a heavy financial burden when providing this service. However, we do have certain requirements to be a host home. Housing providers must:
- Have an available, private bedroom for the youth that has a bed, a window, and space for them to store their belongings.
- Have at least one adult, age 21+, who permanently resides in the home.
If you believe that you could provide a youth in need with a place in your home, AFFEC encourages you to apply. The process for becoming one of our housing providers is as follows:
- Fill out a volunteer application.
- Complete a background and sex offender registry check
- Provide 4 references
- Interview/ home tour
- Have a home study completed (licensed program only serving ages 12-15 year old, not needed to house youth 16+)
- Complete the orientation period which includes 16 hours of training at our office and online. You also will need CPR/ First Aid certification. (licensed program only)