MEDFORD, Ore. — A group helping hundreds of homeless youth in Jackson County is expanding its efforts.
The Maslow Project here helps more than a thousand homeless youth across the Rogue Valley. Now, employees are hoping to partner with rural organizations, like health or family centers, schools, public offices and faith-based organizations.
Executive Director Mary Ferrell says most homeless teens they come across are couch surfing or living in unfit conditions. So, as the homeless youth may be moving around, the Maslow Project wants to better identify those in need and get the word out.
“It’s not so much that we haven’t wanted to do that before, its just that we’re making a pointed effort now that we want to really get out there and connect with kids, and let them know that we’re here to help and let the community know that we need their help as well,” said Ferrell.
Schools in Ashland and Rogue River have teamed up with the Maslow Project to identify homeless students. During the 2011 to 2012 school year, school officials in Ashland identified nearly a hundred homeless students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. That was up nearly 18 percent from the previous year.
Before working with Maslow, school officials in the Rogue River area identified about 33 students who were homeless. Then, after teaming up with the organization, they identified 110 homeless students. The executive director says this increase isn’t because there are more homeless students, but because school officials just became better at identifying homeless youth.