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Ashland homeless center having impact

The Ashland Community Resource Center is already having an impact on homeless people and others in need, according to a report issued four months after its launch.

The center has helped nine unemployed people find jobs, and volunteers have assisted many more with resumes and job searches.

Nine families have found housing. The families were previously living in places such as a tent, a vehicle, a broken-down recreational vehicle, under bushes and in a homeless shelter, according to report prepared for the Ashland City Council that covers Feb. 6 through June 6.

The report did not detail how many people who were not part of families had found housing.

The center opened in February at 570 B Clover Lane near Exit 14 and has logged 1,053 adult visits.

People can stop in for something as simple as a hot cup of coffee and use of restrooms, or they can receive a host of services designed to help people get back on their feet.

A total of 133 adults have received services beyond hospitality. Those services include housing help, rental assistance, bus passes, camping gear and clothing.

Of those 133 people, 45 — or one-third — were not homeless.

The center had its grand opening for a mobile shower and laundry unit on May 1. The mobile unit operates at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank next door on Thursday afternoons, and at the Ashland First United Methodist Church at 175 N. Main St. on Tuesday afternoons.

In a little over a month, the unit provided 142 showers and people washed 40 loads of laundry.

The center is operated by the long-established Medford social services agency ACCESS and the grassroots Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland.

It has one part-time paid manager plus 39 volunteers who have logged 862 volunteer hours.

ACCESS and OHRA have teamed up with 22 other agencies to provide one-stop shopping for people who would otherwise have to travel all over the Rogue Valley for help. Partners include veterans organizations, faith groups, charitable organizations and local governments.

At least 10 business have contributed goods to help support the center.

The center was able to open after the Ashland City Council provided $100,000 to be spread over two years to help finance the venture. Councilors said the center would have to attract outside funding in order to remain viable.

ACCESS and OHRA project they will spend less than $60,000 of city funding in the first year of operations.

Community members have donated $19,535, charitable foundations have contributed $1,750 and OHRA has provided $2,500.

Non-monetary in-kind donations from community members were valued at $11,561.

The center is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in a portion of the Ashland Masonic Center building, 570 B Clover Lane.

To read the full report, visit http://www.ashland.or.us/Files/CC%20Access%20and%20ORHA%20report.pdf.

Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.