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‘Moving forward in life’: St. Vincent’s Place in SE Bend putting final touches on 10-unit homeless village

(Update: Adding video, comments from St. Vincent De Paul executive director)

Public invited to open house Friday and Saturday ; first residents expected in August

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- St. Vincent's Place has been under construction for more than a year and is just about set to make a big difference in the lives and future of some homeless individuals.

The 10-unit village is right behind St. Vincent de Paul in southeast Bend. It was expected to open back in March, but was set back due to supply issues.

The village has 10 sleeping units and a community building with bathrooms, showers, laundry and a kitchen. Ten men and women, older than 18, are going to be able to move into the units. They are expected to move in some time in August.

Gary Hewitt, the executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Bend, explained Thursday how it will work.

"We have an application process, and then an assessment of that individual-- so we're looking at what obstacles are standing in that person's path to success," Hewitt said. "Then we're looking at creating an action plan, which will have possibly weekly or monthly goals that they can overcome. Hopefully, by the end of their action plan, they will take down all the barriers that have prevented them from moving forward in life."

Along with the action plan, there will be a curfew, weekly chores and weekly meetings, among other rules.

"This is not a landlord/tenant situation. It is an emergency shelter," Hewitt said. "There are no illegal drugs, alcohol, or marijuana allowed. A mandatory drug test is required before being accepted into the program. Villagers are required to be on site between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, though exceptions will be made for work. No overnight guests will be allowed."

He said the village function much like the Bethlehem Inn.

"It is meant to be a hand up with support and encouragement," he said. "However, with that in mind, there are a lot of rules intended to offer structure and to help create a positive environment where all villagers can feel safe and secure."

St. Vincent's Place is considered a two-year program, but Hewitt said the hope is that people move on before that.

"It's actually a zero-rent program," Hewitt said. " We're an emergency shelter, and as such we are not charging any rent. We are encouraging people that stay here to participate in a matching savings program."

For the first six months, rent will be free, and then six months of $100 a month for matching funds and savings accounts. The second year, it will increase to $200 a month, and it will be matched. When a person leaves, they will have $6,000 to help them move into another place.

Community Health and Resource Manager Isaac Montoya will be living on the grounds and will be in charge of the village, which cost about $850,000 to build.

There will be an open house for the public to see the village and learn about the program on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 950 SE Third Street.

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. This is awesome! A perfect example of how to empower those that want help not a handout! More government isn’t the answer; its faith based groups such as St. Vinnies!

  2. That’s great that poeple are getting help. It is terrible that the shelter is across from families that don’t want their kids outside due to dumpster divers, theft of children’s bicycles, and scooters. Why can’t the shelter be built in one of the gated communities that is pricing low income poeple out of Bend?

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