from Paul Neville, Director of Public Relations, Grants
St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc.
Great news! St. Vinnie’s Youth House project has cleared its first hurdle, receiving approval for a $620,000 federal HOME grant. This will allow us to acquire the former Cascade Presbyterian Church at 3350 Willamette St. – the site of the planned Youth House. Our application for federal HOME funding was approved without a single negative vote by both the Eugene City Council and the Eugene-Springfield HOME Governing Board. Eugene City Councilor Chris Pryor remarked that the project received the highest marks in the evaluation process of any HOME application he could recall.
Our project – the first of its kind in Oregon – will provide unemancipated homeless high school students ages 16 to 18 with the secure housing and services they need to stay in school and graduate. Local school officials estimate that more than 300 homeless youth are enrolled in local high schools and they are at extreme risk of dropping out. In response to this growing problem and the lack of services for this most vulnerable population, St. Vinnie’s is partnering with Eugene, Bethel and Springfield school districts and Hosea Youth Services to create a facility that will house 14 homeless youth rent free for up to two years with the core requirement that they remain in school.
The project will include: a house manager who will live on-site; 15 efficiency apartments, a computer lab and study area, counseling and casework offices, a community space, kitchen, laundry and more. A full-time social worker will connect youths with community resources, work with school officials and advocate on students’ behalf. Each resident will be assigned a trained adult mentor committed to working at least a year with his or her assigned student.
The goal is clear, simple and, we believe, attainable: To provide homeless high school students with the secure housing and vitally important social services they need to graduate — and to significantly increase their chances of becoming successful, productive and healthy citizens.
Our next challenge is to raise the nearly $1 million needed to complete the remodeling of the former church. You can help by both making donations and encouraging others to do the same (please feel free to distribute the attached donor prospectus). At St. Vincent de Paul, we are convinced that the generous help of people like you in this big-hearted community will make this project reality.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or suggestions, would like more information or know of others who would like to be added to this Youth House email update list.
Director of Public Relations, Grants
St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc.
Help provide housing for our community’s homeless students
Goal: To get at-risk kids through high school.
Imagine for a moment that you are a homeless 16-year-old high school student. Your teachers urge you to stay in school. But it’s hard when you have no safe place to sleep, no place to study, no clean clothes, no place to shower, no adult guidance. And all around you is a chorus of whispers urging you to drop out. The outlook is bleak for those who do: Unemancipated homeless teens have few public resources, private assistance or housing options available to them. High school dropouts are six times more likely to end up in prison and three times more likely to be unemployed than those who graduate.
THE PROBLEM: On any given night in Eugene/Springfield about 300 homeless high school students struggle to find a place to sleep. Many end up on the streets, where they are vulnerable to violence, drugs and a thriving human-trafficking trade along the I-5 corridor.
THE SOLUTION: We are seeking funding to remodel the former church at 3350 Willamette St. in Eugene into youth housing. The building will house 14 homeless high school students, ages 16 through 18, rent-free for up to two years with the key requirement that they remain in school.
THE AIM: To provide homeless high school students with the secure housing and social services they need to graduate and to enhance their chances of becoming successful and productive citizens.
PARTNERS: SVDP is partnering with Eugene, Bethel and Springfield school districts and with Hosea Youth Services, a local nonprofit with two decades of experience providing services to improve the lives of homeless youth.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT: We can give our community’s homeless youth a fair shot at achieving a bright future.
More information on this exciting opportunity for our community’s homeless youth:
Printable one-page prospectus: SVDP Youth House prospectus (pdf format)
- Federal Funds Boost Housing Project For Homeless Students (KLCC, October 14, 2016)
- Homeless youth house project in south Eugene closer to approval (Register-Guard, October 12, 2016)
- St. Vincent de Paul moves forward with housing project for homeless high school students (KMTR, October 11, 2016)
- St. Vincent’s next big thing: a shelter for homeless high school students (Register-Guard, June 16, 2016)
- An intriguing idea (Register-Guard Editorial, June 23, 2016)
- SVdP Looks To Convert Cascade Presbyterian Into Housing For Homeless Youth (Eugene Weekly, June 16, 2016)
- Homeless Students to Call Vacant Church Their New Home (KEZI News Report, June 27, 2016)
Sign up to get email updates on SVDP Youth House progress, click here.