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Youth Drop-In Center to Open in Eugene, Provide Resources for Underserved Students

Martin Rafferty



The Eugene organization Youth Era is opening a drop-in center for students in need of resources. The program will begin as soon as COVID-19 protocols allow.

The building is called the Eugene Drop, which will serve students who need access to Wi-Fi or are experiencing homelessness. Youth Era’s CEO Martin Rafferty hopes providing a safe space for students will help destigmatize youth homelessness.

“The theory that we have is that part of what's happening is that they are over identifying with that label as being a homeless youth or belonging to the streets," said Rafferty. "And so we're going to do everything we can to try and help them see that they're not homeless youth. Just like if you have anxiety, you're not a mentally ill youth, you're a youth. And your potential is endless.”

Rafferty hopes to expand the building into a hostel in the next few years for youth to have a place to stay overnight.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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