Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kids on the Street

Elle asked: "Are you working with homeless kids? Are there programs connected with you that are working with homeless kids?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "kids". If you mean youth (14-21) then there are a lot of homeless kids in Portland, and a great ministy working with them is Home PDX, run by Ken Loyd. I could get you his wife's phone number, if you like. Outside In, of course, has also got a great street youth work.

But if you're talking about young kids, under 14, those are few and far between. Families who are homeless either: get off the street really quickly or the kids are taken from the parents quickly by AFS. So young kids don't stay on the street very long, with, of course, the rare exception.

There was a famous example here in Portland of a father and his young daughter (10? 11?) who were discovered by the police living in Forest Park. He would provide for them and teach her through a set of encyclopedias and other school books he'd pick up. After the police found them, they made front page news for about a week. They were offered a lot of services. Then after two weeks, they disappeared again. I assume they went back to their former life. But this kind of example is pretty rare and if they were caught again, the daughter would be taken from her father because he refused to live in a house with electricity. (It is considered child abuse to have one's children live without electricity in Oregon).

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