Echo FFA on Homelessness

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Members of the Echo chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) wrote this article on the subject of homelessness in our communities.

As many of us know there is an epidemic in our nation of homelessness. There are many definitions of homelessness, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, puts it this way; "an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing."

There is an estimated 553,742 people in the United States currently experiencing homelessness. Many people may think that this issue does not affect our area as we are so small, a community this size could not possibly be affected, but this is no the case.

According to the 2017 census Umatilla County has 511 homeless people living within it; this breaks down to 292 homeless individuals living in Pendleton, 123 homeless individuals in Hermiston, 51 individuals in Athena, and 44 homeless individuals in Milton-Freewater, these numbers are estimated to have grown since then.

People experience homelessness for many reasons: lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse and the lack of needed services. These issues have not managed to escape our community and it will not unless we make a conscious effort to help our transient population and support them in any way that we can.

There are many ways to help out in our community. You can volunteer your time and help out at these locations: Chester’s Food Pantry at the Masonic Lodge in Echo, doors open at 4:00 pm the last Wednesday of every month; the Agape House in Hermiston, open Tuesdays through Thursdays 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 to 3:00 pm; and the Food Basket in Stanfield at the old Elementary School.

Echo Masonic Lodge
20 S. Dupont Street
Echo, Oregon

Agape House
500 W Harper Road
Hermiston, Oregon

Food Basket
405 N. Sherman Street
Stanfield, Oregon

Echo FFA on Homelessness, Echo Oregon
Echo FFA on Homelessness, Echo Oregon

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