Come Home Project
Posters share the message
Everybody has a home. That's the thought behind a national program started by a local group trying to connect the homeless with family.
It's the Come Home Program, the work of Omaha's Project Jason.
Posters give families a way to try and connect with people like 31-year-old Michael Jarvi. A note from his family reads, "Michael, we miss you so much. We miss our walks on the beach."
Michael is out there somewhere and now, so is his picture.
As part of the Come Home Program, Michael's poster is going up in the Siena Francis House and other shelters across the county.
Siena Francis Director Mike Saklar sees family heartache like this every day.
"It's really a tough situation when you have grandmothers; mothers; sisters; brothers calling and asking about a lost loved one," he says.
Kelly Jolkowski is behind the posters.
She came to a shelter more than three years ago looking for her son, Jason. She is still looking for him but she's also helping other families of the missing.
Kelly says, "What we believe is that even if this missing person, Michael Jarvi, never sees this poster, that some of the other homeless will and at least be encouraged to call home, and maybe even find a way to go home."
Twice a month, more than 1,000 shelters, soup kitchens, crisis centers and other places in 34 states will download the posters that can be reached by anyone at www.projectjason.org
Saklar says these posters will help him as he tries to help others, like one family that stays with him.
"I felt so bad, because mostly the person who would call me was the grandmother, and they wanted me to pass on how much they loved their grandson," he says.
Now he can tell the family about the posters while another family hopes that Michael will see his picture, get the message and come home.
There is no clearinghouse for missing persons in Nebraska. Project Jason has been working on legislation for that for a couple of years now.
Iowa does have a clearinghouse through its Department of Public Safety Web site ( http://www.state.ia.us/government/dps/dci/mpic/list.htm
) and Council Bluffs also lists missing persons on its police Web site ( http://www.cbpolice.org/missing.asp
). They have 15 open cases.