Project cost expected to total $8.5 million
(Update: Adding video, comments from Deschutes County homeless services coordinator)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A permanent supportive housing project for the chronically homeless population is being planned in southeast Bend.
Colleen Thomas, the homeless service coordinator for Deschutes County, said Thursday the project is needed, but still a long way from completion.
"There's many pieces still up in the air, so this isn't a project that's going to start tomorrow, but this is definitely a step in the right direction and really exciting for us to provide that type of service," she said.
Thomas said the project, proposed near the corner of Fifth Street and Cleveland Avenue, could see construction start some time in 2022.
"This is a really unique housing opportunity,” Thomas said. “We don't have anything like this in Central Oregon, and the piece I think is really important to that is that it's going to take collaboration."
Deschutes County is giving $2 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the project.
Thomas said it will need $8.5 million just to get it built, plus operating costs.
She said the purpose of Cleveland Commons is to provide housing and services to people who are "chronically homeless."
Thomas said that applies to "individuals who have been experiencing literal homelessness for an extended period of time that also have a diagnosis of a disability, whether that's physical health, mental health or other circumstances that might impact their homeless status.”
Thomas hopes the facility will include on sight case management, peer support and medical support.
"It's really an individual basis on what each individual will need,” Thomas said.
She also said there won't be a time limit on how long a person stays.
She said the plan is to work with neighbors in the community, but understands any concerns in the early stages.
"So if anybody is nervous, I think that's okay, and that's expected with a program like permanent supportive housing,” Thomas said.
Thomas wants to emphasize the $2 million allocation from Deschutes County shows the county’s investment toward addressing chronic homelessness, and is a positive step in addressing homelessness overall.