In January, the City of Medford initiated a proposal to Southern Oregon University’s (SOU) MBA Program to conduct a multi-sector study on homelessness. In partnership with the Jackson County Continuum of Care (CoC), the City requested the students expand their research to include the cities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Central Point, all of which are also members of the newly restructured CoC to address homelessness in Jackson County. Three graduate teams from Professor Donna Lane’s Graduate Research course gladly accepted this proposal.
This collaborative SOU study was designed to collect the region’s perceptions of homelessness from three specific target groups including residents, businesses and homeless service providers with the idea that understanding our community’s perceptions and attitudes of homelessness is prerequisite to developing long-range solutions that are locally sustainable.
The students will incorporate developed research protocol under the direct supervision of Professor Lane, which was reviewed by SOU’s Institutional Review Board and certified as in compliance with federal standards for the ethical conduct of research. City of Medford Principal Planner, Angela Durant has been working with the students to design and coordinate distribution of surveys throughout each city along the I-5 corridor. The surveys close on Monday, February 19 at 6:00 p.m.
The students will analyze data collected from the surveys and complete a literature review which may include case studies, peer-reviewed articles, existing action plans, interviews and local data on homelessness. Findings and recommendations will be presented to the City of Medford in March.
The City of Medford appreciates the intellectual resources available through SOU and hopes to incorporate findings and recommendations in the development of a Strategic Action Plan on Homelessness. On behalf of the Jackson County Continuum of Care, Medford welcomes this regional partnership with the University and is optimistic the results will help cities impacted by homelessness in Jackson County build local capacity and inspire new solutions.