Traveling homelessness panel available for your group

There’s no doubt that homelessness is a contentious and emotional topic for residents of Josephine County. Should those without stable housing be denigrated as simply “a bunch of addicts,” as some have said? Or is the reality more complex? A new grant awarded by the Allcare Health Foundation to the nonprofit JoCo Equity Project will support a series of speaker panels to help the public better understand homelessness.
JoCo Equity Project’s mission is to promote an inclusive and equitable Josephine County through education, advocacy and community building. Allcare Health has been active in support of housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness, including the Foundry Village transitional housing project in Grants Pass and the I.V. HOPE transitional housing project in Cave Junction.
Homelessness panel speakers will talk from their personal experience about commonly overlooked topics such as being homeless while disabled, families and children experiencing lack of housing, and the lack of stepping stones out of houselessness as well as lack of housing inventory. The panels will be led by people who have experienced homelessness, in partnership with nonprofit professionals who work in the field of homeless and social services. In some cases, the professionals themselves have also experienced homelessness.
According to project coordinator Leslie Keller, “The most important thing to know is that people who don’t have homes are still people. They deserve a roof over their head just like everyone else does.”
Recently the panel did a presentation to the Rogue Gateway Rotary club. “Your girls did a wonderful job today,” reacted one club member. “You could hear a pin drop in the room. Their story is very compelling. We had lots of questions and they stood there for nearly 45 min. Answering each one with a thoughtful response.”
Speakers will be available to talk with church groups and other organizations interested in becoming more informed about homelessness. If your organization is interested in hosting the panel, please call 541-295-6131 to speak to Leslie Keller.