Homeless Leadership Coalition, NeighborImpact, others partner in effort
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Part of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office work-release center will be used to house up to 48 people as an emergency warming shelter during the winter, the Homeless Leadership Coalition announced Thursday.
The HLC said it has been working with its regional network of emergency and permanent shelters and service providers to ensure a location for a warming shelter in Bend this winter.
Here's the rest of the coalition's announcement:
A warming shelter is vital in order to keep individuals experiencing homelessness warm at night, and save lives.
On October 29th , the HLC convened a meeting with community partners and public officials to issue an emergency call for help in identifying a location for a warming shelter in Bend.
After attending the meeting, Deschutes County commissioners reached out to Sheriff L. Shane Nelson and asked if a portion of the DCSO Work Center, located on the Public Safety Campus, could be utilized for this emergency need.
The Sheriff’s Office conducted a review of facility operations and, in partnership with the commissioners, has identified a section of the Work Center building that will meet this year’s needs for an emergency shelter location in Bend.
The DCSO Work Center, once used as a home to the Bethlehem Inn, will be made available to shelter up to 48 men and women. Although this does not meet the identified need of 100 shelter beds, it makes a huge impact on sheltering those without anywhere else to go, the HLC said.
Sheriff Nelson said, “We are happy to step up and fill this critical void in our community. We understand the importance of having an emergency warming shelter and it worked out to be the right time where we could help.”
The shelter will operate with support from the HLC, NeighborImpact and service providers. The location will be solely run by a service provider identified by the HLC and in close coordination with the HLC shelter committee, and be completely separate from the DCSO in all its operations.
With funding provided to Oregon Housing Community Services by the Oregon Legislature, the HLC is working with the Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes County to ensure the appropriate measures are being taken to provide safety and security for all shelter guests.
HLC will be utilizing paid staff hired by NeighborImpact, and will soon have a call-out for volunteers to help provide meals and serve as hosts for evening shifts.
Efforts are underway to tentatively open the shelter by mid-December or as soon as possible before the cold of winter deepens. HLC plans, at this point, to be open every night through mid-March.
The HLC would like to thank the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes County commissioners for collaborating and making it possible to meet the need of sheltering our community’s most vulnerable this winter season.
In addition, under the city of Bend's emergency winter declaration, the Bethlehem Inn, which completed a major expansion project this year, has been approved to add more beds in its lobby when temperatures fall below freezing overnight.