Community, Springfield

Nonprofit helping unhoused youth   

SPRINGFIELD – Connected Lane County (CLC) continues to assist youth throughout Lane County, now focusing on those who are unhoused by participating in the Point Source Youth (PSY) Direct Cash Transfers as Prevention (DCT-P) program. This program is also supported by the Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program team at the Oregon Department of Human Services.

According to CLC, DCT-P works to prevent young people from becoming homeless by providing them money to help cover rent, catch up on utilities, make urgent car repairs, pay off debt, cover medical expenses, and more. Program participants are also able to access many services like housing navigation, financial literacy programs, education reengagement, and career exploration opportunities.

“These flexible dollars have drastically improved our ability to help youth in real-time,” said Heidi Larwick, CLC executive director. “With so many restrictions on funding and red tape preventing the use of funds, it can often be challenging to keep a young person off the streets when experiencing a real financial crisis. Flexible spending and the ability to direct cash to youth will change how we can help young people.”

The program will run until October or until all available funds are expended, and data reports will follow shortly after. ODHS donated $185,000 to CLC and anticipates supporting at least 50 local youth with direct cash transfers.

According to Becky-Jo Samples, CLC marketing director, CLC had dispersed $131,545 to 50 youth as of June 27 “with the rest of the allocated funds committed and with a plan to be dispersed.”

“We had limited funding for this program but would love to see additional funding to continue these disbursements to support more local youth,” she said.

After two years of supporting themselves alone in Oregon, as their family lives in Florida, DCT-P cash recipient and Eugene resident Amethyst said unexpected expenses left them hopeless.

“I feel like I’ve really been struggling, and I have a hard time asking for help,” they said. “This program helped me out a ton, and I feel like, without this, I probably would’ve been evicted.”

Hailey Johnston, CLC resource navigator, said this program has been “transformative” for the youth who have accessed it.

“You can see their relief as they realize they’ve found a low barrier and supportive way to ensure they can maintain their housing and get ahead of a situation where they often feel powerless and hopeless,” said Hailey Johnston, a Connected Lane County resource navigator. “I feel strongly that this program can remodel how we address homelessness and put power back in the hands of the people who need it most.”



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