BEND, Ore. - Homeless and runaway teens have a safe place to call home in Central Oregon -- and it's rebounding from a technical glitch that cost them a crucial grant a year ago but prompted a successful community fund-raising effort.
Cascade Youth & Family Center received an award from the Oregon Department of Human Services, Administration for Children and Families in the amount of $186,000 to provide transitional living services for youth, effective May 1.
The grant provides the core funding for the LOFT-Living Options for Teens shelter and supportive services to assist youth in their transition to self-sufficiency.
Last year, the grant was denied due to a computer glitch which jeopardized access to shelter for teens.
With a remarkable response from the local community and the support of Meyer Memorial Trust Fund, the shelter remained open and housed 69 youth, the agency said.
NewsChannel 21 ran a special public service campaign that helped raise the funds to keep the LOFT open.
"This government funding provides the base we need to keep our doors open," says Megan Prince, program manager for Cascade Youth and Family Center.. "The LOFT is a sanctuary for some of the most vulnerable children in our community."
"Surviving the teen years is hard enough; when you add family violence, poverty, mental health, and/or drugs to a young person's life at home, running away may seem like the only option. Now we can continue to build options to help young people finish school and get the training they need to become self-sufficient," Prince says.
The initial grant award is for a 12-month period. The award of continuation grants beyond this year will be based on availability of funds and program performance for a total of five years.
The executive director of J Bar J Youth Services, Stephanie Alvstad adds, "This is wonderful news that ensures safety and stability for teens. We are so grateful for the support of the community to overcome the funding crisis we experienced last year."
About Cascade Youth and Family Center
Cascade Youth and Family Center (CYFC) provides prevention, intervention and crisis resources for adolescents and their families. CYFC is the sole provider of runaway and homeless youth services in central, northern and eastern Oregon. Our mission is to provide innovative options for at risk youth and their families moving towards personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.
CYFC is a program of J Bar J Youth Services and a partner agency tied to NewsChannel 21's '21 Cares for Kids' program.