Salem teens helping tackle youth homelessness - KPTV - FOX 12

Salem teens helping tackle youth homelessness

Posted: Updated: Mar 07, 2018 12:15 AM

Two Salem teens are working on making a difference in the lives of their peers who are homeless.

In January, Raul Marquez, a senior at McKay High School, told FOX 12 when he found out that 96 students in the Salem-Keizer School District were living in their car or on the streets, he knew he had to do something.

So along with a few other students, Marquez, as a board member of United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, started working on a plan with Community Action to buy a home in Salem and turn it into a youth homeless shelter.

United Way executive director Ron Hays asked Jon Reeves, the executive director for Community Action, if he would be able to run a shelter if United Way raised funds to purchase the home.

United Way tasked Marquez with spearheading the project and once the board was approached with the plan, members donated $100,000.

Now a few months later, Marquez and his team have reached over $360,000 of their $400,000 goal.

"The sooner we can open and start providing these services, the sooner we are preventing another youth from having to stay another night on the streets," said Marquez.

Another student and board member, South Salem junior Claire Adams, is working on a United Way project to help homeless people by bringing a shelter to them, by creating a mobile hygiene bus.

Adams says some people feel too scared to go to a shelter and end up bathing in rivers, which can be unsafe especially in winter.

Having a mobile shower can reach more people in Marion County while helping to remove some of the stigma.

Adams hopes to have the bus on the ground by the fall.

Anyone who would like to help Marquez reach his goal, please visit

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