With cold weather on the way, many warming shelters across the region are starting to get ready for winter.
Warming shelter operators around the region are not yet ready to open their doors, but with cold temperatures at hand, they are beginning to think about it.
Throughout Central Oregon, there are many resources for people in need.
In Bend, the city manager has the ability to sign a weather emergency declaration, which allows the use of approved shelters for overnight stays.
That also requires the fire department to allow people to stay in those shelters.
Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said Wednesday the city works along with shelters and other agencies to make sure people have a safe place to stay when things get too cold.
“We’re all in this together, and we as a fire department have become very, very collaborative with all agencies, including like in the summertime with wildland fire agencies, in the winter time with agencies that take care of people when the weather gets cold, and all times of the year when people are in dire need,” Howe said.
The shelters can be opened when the temperature drops below 25 degrees.
The same goes for the city of Redmond, where shelters can be opened when the temperatures drop below 30 degrees.
There are about four or five shelters that are open throughout the winter in Redmond.
The La Pine Warming Center is run by Chad Carpenter, and it opens when temperatures drop below 15 degrees.
The shelter first opened its doors during the winter of 2016/17. Carpenter said the shelter saw 321 people come through the doors last year.
The shelter was open for 57 total days during the winter, which included being open for the entire month of February.
Carpenter said it’s extremely important for the community to have this service.
“The winters are a little bit more difficult here, the snows a little bit more deeper here, and so this is an important thing that we do. We’re pretty convinced, seeing people come in, they might not have survived winter outside of this not having a place to come inside and get warm,” Carpenter said. “We’re very compelled by what we do, because we know that we are helping people have a better quality of life.”
Carpenter added with the early-season cold weather there is a possibility the shelter could open later this month, if they are able to get the resources together.
The city of Sisters also has four churches that serve as shelters, run by a cold weather committee.
They also have the ability to declare a state of emergency to allow people to stay in places that may not typically allow for overnight stays.
To see NeighborImpact’s full list of shelters across Central Oregon, click here.