Medford Livability Team helps get women off streets & into apartment

MEDFORD, Ore. —A Medford woman is getting a second chance at life thanks to the help of MPD’s Livability Team, and Rogue Retreat. Karen Lynncantu went from dragging her sleeping bag through the streets of Medford to moving into her own apartment today.

The Livability Team says her story proves there is hope for people out there.

“I went from high heels, tight clothes, makeup to the 9’s party girl status to push homeless cart girl in 0-90- seconds and I don’t even know how it happened,” said Lynncantu.

Meet Karen Lynncantu. She’s one of the many people that Medford’s Livability Team has met on the Bear Creek Greenway. The team was formed in 2019 in the hopes of connecting with the homeless people living throughout the city and assisting them in securing services and permanent housing.

“We first met Karen when she was walking the streets dragging her sleeping behind her and yelling at people and was in the midst of her mental health and addiction issues,” said Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick with MPD.

The 41-year-old says she’s been an addict her whole life. She went from sleeping on sidewalks to the front of stores, and then the Greenway. She finally found out about Rogue Retreat programs from the Livability Team. After bouncing around its different facilities, she got sober.

“I didn’t know what to do or where to go and I was tired of seeing people that I cared about walking away from me,” said Lynncantu.

Thursday, she moved from a tiny home at Hope Village to her very own apartment. Her friends at MPD and Rogue Retreat even helped her move in.

“Days like this are looking forward to I woke up with a big smile on my face because I knew that today was a really cool day,” said Lt. Kirkpatrick.

Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick has been with the livability team since its inception. In that time, the Livability Team has referred over 1600 people to rogue retreat’s urban campground. Kirkpatrick says he does the job for moments like this.

“No one solved Karen, Karen solved Karen, s he really is an incredible person who just every time you talk to her just exudes joy and is a fun person to be around, and its been really neat watching her make these strides in her life,” said Kirkpatrick.

Today Karen works for Goodwill and is attending Pacific Bible College. She says she’s almost 2 years sober.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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