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"Due to the economy, the depth of need in our community has risen significantly over the last four years. In working toward economic recovery, many people living with poverty issues need more than just financial resources. They require educational opportunities, job training, employment, and supportive social networks. Investments in these types of resources and services are essential for our community to prosper and to thrive. Programs like HomePlate Youth Services are effectively addressing these challenges for many young people living in Washington County." - Lisa Mentesana, Beaverton School District Homeless Liason
There are 2,148 homeless students in Washington county - of those, 419 are unaccompanied youth. On top of these numbers, there are many more youth who are disconnected from schools (and are therefore not counted), have left or graduated school, or are under the radar who also access support at HomePlate.
Unaccompanied youth attend school but are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Unaccompanied youth and children include young people who have been thrown out of their homes, have run away from home, or have been abandoned by their parents or guardians.
Suburban neighborhoods weren't designed to respond to financial-crisis and low-income needs like the safefy nets seen in urban centers. During the economic recession, middle class families, many struggling with foreclosures and job-loss, were with few resources. Youth in these families are sometimes struggling with their families, sleeping in cars or shelters; are asked to leave home to relieve their family of a financial obligation (see youth unemployment below); or experience incredible stress in their family unit which may cause concerns for saftey. Across the nation, suburban communities are being confronted with the dire consequences of a limited social-service safety net.
“We are seeing more and more calls coming to City Hall. Our staff get three to five phone calls a week from people seeking help of various kinds. Prior to the recession we did not get any calls like that. One person called and said she lost her job three years ago after working for a company 13-14 years. Her water was turned off. She thought she had done everything right, gone back to school, gotten her masters and so on. ... It’s very frustrating to watch good people suffer. I’ve never been shy to admit the problem is here in Beaverton.”
— Denny Doyle, Beaverton Mayor