Monday, March 17, 2008


Project Metamorphosis is currently looking for Recovery Mentors and Recovery Transition Advocates to fill entry level, part-time positions within an innovative grant program. Position involves ability to act as a peer among 16-24 year old street youth, providing support, information, referral and crisis intervention to homeless and street dependent youth. Candidates will have experience with addiction issues and homelessness. Qualifications include: experience and/or knowledge of the issues of homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction, GED/high school diploma preferred, at least 1 year in recovery required as well as a pre-employment drug screening.

Position closes April 7, 2008.

Please call (503) 535-1170 for more information.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Outreach Log

People often ask what an evening of Yellow Brick Road Street Outreach actually looks like. The truth is, the streets can vary greatly from night to night but we do our best to be prepared for just about anything we might find out there. In an effort to share with people what we mean by "anything", we'll be posting random Yellow Brick Road log entries. Let's get started with an entry from a particularly eventful night this past weekend. The following excerpts represent one 3-hour outreach shift on-foot in downtown Portland:

Tonight we kept a relaxed pace and enjoyed the beautiful weather but still made lots of connections and managed to accomplish some solid outreach. First we headed over to Pioneer Square where a kid with face-paint and a black trench coat was reciting excerpts from the Satanic Bible (!). It didn't seem like he had actually read the book very thoroughly, but his audience seemed attentive & generally pleased to be hearing such a different sort of discourse. There was some lively debate and dialogue, after all this is Portland's living room, so we sat on the steps with some young people who shared their thoughts about the controversial religious debate taking place. By the Max rail we met a 19 year old male who we'd never seen before who said he was preferring to sleep outdoors at the moment. We gave him information about the Janus Youth Shelters and showed him where he could go if he wanted services then moved on...

We headed north from Pioneer Square and found "Amy" (19) and "Sky" (22) in front of Rite Aid, where we shared a candid conversation about their escalating intravenous drug use. We also talked about safe travelling, Amy's obviously above-average intelligence, and how she might be an excellent writer or college professor someday if she can just get it together. They said they plan to ride freight trains together to New York City next week so we cautioned them about east coast heroin (commonly referred to as "china white") which is notoriously (and dangerously) stronger than most west coast heroin (commonly referred to as "black tar"). We informed them that people often overdose on "china white" when they arrive in New York and inject their usual dose of "black tar". We cautioned them that if they continue their drug use they should always use with a friend present and do a small amount to test the purity before injecting their regular dose (this is called a "tester shot"). Harm Reduction saves lives!

Under the Burnside Bridge we met three young folks who are fairly new to town and we sent them to Road Warrior [the Homeless Youth Continuum's late night drop-in). It seemed as though they had already attempted to access but could not verify their ages so we explained how Janus might be able to help them get ID's. We then ran into "Dots" (17) by the Skidmore Fountain. She's not doing well and said she has been awake for two days on meth. She occasionally stays in Porchlight Shelter but has been using heavily. When she doesn't stay at shelter she seems to camp with much older men and is possibly trading sex for drugs (based on her current associates and some of the street drama she reported). She really needs some support right now so all teams please be looking for her and let's do our best to redirect her back to shelter and case management...

Lots of outreach occured at the meal under the Burnside Bridge and along the waterfront by the Steel Bridge. Back near Old Town we met a woman calling herself "Ocean" who said she was attempting to get away from an abusive partner who pulled a knife on her earlier in the day. She said she left their Southeast Portland apartment to avoid "getting my ass beat again" and said her boyfriend was looking for her downtown. She knew about the Portland Women's Crisis Line but said all the domestic violence shelters were already full. We told her we might be able to advocate for her with the Portland Police and get her referred into an emergency bed at a local shelter and she agreed to walk with us to the Old Town cop shop. When we arrived, the officer we spoke with was rushing to the Ross Island Bridge where two people had just reportedly jumped! All we could do was hope we don't know them. We then escorted "Ocean" to the Salvation Army Female Shelter where she was able to wait inside safely while we called police non-emergency for an escort to the emergency shelter bed. It felt good knowing that we were able to get her safely indoors even if for just one night. Especially considering how frustrating domestic violence situations can be due to a lack of space at the existing programs...

On the way back to the office we met three teenage girls on the Max who had obviously just been in some sort of altercation with another young female. we struck up casual conversation and learned that all three are currently housed or "couch surfing" but they seemed very high-risk. One of them said she had dropped-out of high school and another said it was unlikely that she would make it through another year. we gave them our contact info, explained what we do and how we might be able to help. We also talked about how important it is to stay in school and just get it done now rather than going for the G.E.D. later. She said she knew but shrugged and said, "I don't know what will happen..."

Wow. Busy night!
~D & J (Sunday Night Yellow Brick Road Team)