Tribal Government & News

Survey finds six homeless Tribal members in area

04.13.2018 Danielle Frost Tribal Council, Housing

By Danielle Frost

Out of 125 responses to the Tribe’s first homeless survey conducted in December, only six Grand Ronde Tribal members identified as being without a place to live.

Eight other Tribal members said they were living with family or friends.

The survey was conducted at the request of Tribal Council to gather information on homelessness in the area after Tribal members requested help for the homeless during the holiday season.

Surveys were available via e-mail and at various locations around campus, including at iskam mfkHmfk haws, Social Services and Early Childhood Education.

“Over the last several months, Tribal Council and staff have made addressing the homelessness epidemic one of the Tribe’s highest priorities,” stated a Tribal Council press release. “Staff have been working with the community and Tribal Council to research and determine the number of Tribal members and Tribal member families affected by homelessness in the Grand Ronde community.”

Data was collected on whether those completing the survey or someone they knew was either homeless, in jeopardy of becoming homeless or housing someone who was homeless. Information also was gathered to help staff identify contributing factors to homelessness.

“A number of members … disclosed that they were either housing someone that was homeless or knew an individual that was housing someone that was homeless,” the release stated.

When compiling survey results, Tribal staff also found the data collected illustrated the complexity of the homelessness issue overall and the need for “best practices” to address it. 

“Staff have also worked to ensure that Tribal members affected by homelessness that have been identified already are aware of the resources the Tribe provides through a number of its programs,” the release stated.  

In addition to the recent survey, staff members have developed a local resource guide in coordination with Lighthouse Community Church and have participated in the “Point in Time” surveys conducted by neighboring counties.

On Jan. 31, the Yamhill Community Action Partnership conducted one such survey at 13 locations across the county, including Willamina and Sheridan.

In Marion County, a 100-day challenge to end youth homelessness was launched in mid-January with the goal of building a coordinated system to give 150 unaccompanied youth ages 12 to 18 a safe and stable place to live. It includes coordinated efforts between law enforcement, youth, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

After Lighthouse Church Pastor and Tribal member Ken Haller received word of people staying at nearby campgrounds, sleeping in their cars and couch surfing with friends, he decided to take action.

With the assistance of volunteers from the local Narcotics Anonymous group that meets at the Tribal building on Grand Ronde Road, Haller began offering coffee, cookies and information for anyone who needed it between 5 and 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 24697 Grand Ronde Road.

Since the church opened its doors to help area homeless, a handful of people have come in. Some were looking for information, while others just wanted a cup of coffee and conversation, Haller said.

Recently, Haller’s wife, Sandra, assisted a young mother and her baby with diapers, a gas card and clothing.

“She came in a few times just to visit, too,” Sandra said. “I was glad we could help her out.”

Moving forward, Tribal staff will collect more data on homelessness and those affected within the community, as well as continue with efforts to educate themselves and the community on homelessness and the barriers it creates.