ASHLAND, Ore. – Oregon has one of the highest homeless rates in the country, but an Ashland group is doing what it can to improve things on a local level.
The Ashland Community Resource Center opened earlier this year, and provides resume help, access to services, showers, laundry, and supplies. Organizers said the number of people seeking help at the center has doubled since it opened.
“We have over 135 individuals that we’ve provided anything from a tent, a sleeping bag, housing, it’s just been miraculous,” said director Leigh Madsen.
Best of all, the center is receiving positive word of mouth among the homeless community, which is leading to more people coming in.
Some homeless families have been able to secure full-time jobs since seeking help at the center, Madsen said. Others have applied for apartments and low-income housing.
A report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness said Oregon has 13,822 homeless people, with a rate of 35.2 homeless people per 10,000 residents. That rate is higher than the national average of 19.
Madsen said one of the keys to bringing down that number is providing resources to allow homeless people to improve their own lives. People who previously came into the center seeking sleeping bags or tends are now building resumes and applying for jobs.
“The news is out that we can actually provide services to people in poverty and homelessness,” Madsen said.
The Ashland Community Resource Center is located at 572 Clover Lane, and is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Showers and laundry service is available Tuesdays and Thursdays.