Voucher Program Helps Homeless Families

HOMELESSASHLAND, Ore. — The city of Ashland is announcing an emergency fund to help parents and children in need, after receiving criticism for its lack of family shelters

The problem the city is facing is that they don’t have any shelters capable of accommodating children and families. This emergency fund is meant to make up for that, but there are still some who say it could fall short if the need is too great.

The emergency fund is a program being paid for by access and Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland, or OHRA. It can be used if a family comes forward in need of assistance.

City councilors say that can include gas money, bus tickets, or even police escorts to get people to the nearest family shelter in Medford. It can even be used to put a family up in a motel room in worst case scenarios.

One mother NewsWatch12 spoke with described how vital that support is being homeless with a newborn child:

“I was outside more than I was inside. After a while you just get so used to the fresh air, so used to the cold, you become numb to it. It just doesn’t even phase you anymore.”

The problem, according to some involved in the program, is that the city doesn’t know how many families will need to support. Right now access and OHRA are only raising a couple thousand dollars, but they say there’s no telling how much the fund could need if more families come forward.

The city is also preparing to open a homeless resource center, an unrelated project launched by access and OHRA. That will provide more job training and long-term services, but city leaders say they can use that resource to reach out and find families in need who haven’t yet come forward.