The Oregon Runaway and Homeless Workgroup estimates that 24,000 unaccompanied youth experience homelessness each year in Oregon. National studies indicate that most of these youth run away due to family conflict or abuse, while others are kicked out of their home or "thrown away‟.
Oregon is home to innovative runaway and homeless youth services, but these rely heavily on federal funds and are available primarily in the I-5 corridor. Youth in rural areas, or smaller towns unable to access federal funds, are at risk.
In 2007 the Oregon State Legislature appropriated $1 million to the 2007-2009 budget of the Oregon Commission on Children and Families (OCCF) to enhance, expand, or develop services and supports for previously un-served runaway and/or homeless youth. While 20 counties requested over $4 million in assistance in response to the initial request for proposals, the funding allocated has enabled OCCF to “roll out” services in 8 counties. Through a leveraged federal grant, Portland State University's Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services provided evaluation on some of the short-term the outcomes of this investment.
Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services. (2009). Stronger Youth and Smarter Communities: An Analysis of Oregon’s Investment in Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs. Portland, OR: Portland State University.