Skip to Content

Search continues for new Bend winter shelter location; COVID-19 adds to challenges

(Update: Adding video)

Shepherd's House is expected to run operation

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As the seasons change and Central Oregon experiences the colder temperatures of fall, hundreds of homeless in the Bend area will again face the challenge of finding shelter this winter.

Last winter, the winter shelter at the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office hosted nearly 3,500 overnight stays by 327 guests who were also provided meals and medical care. 

This year local, community leaders are looking for a new, permanent location to house those in need this winter.

The Shepherd's House is working with the city of Bend and county officials to find any public facilities that might be made available, but so far, none have been identified.

Churches and private buildings are also being considered as new locations for a warming shelter, if made available.

COVID- 19 has posed a new challenge in the search for a new winter shelter.

John Lodise, director of emergency services for the Shepherd's House, told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday, "It poses new challenges. Because we have to take measures like social distancing and other steps to keep people apart, we might not be able to fit as many people in whatever facility we use."

Lodise said as of now, they have not received any reports of a homeless person who contracted COVID-19 in the area.

The Shepherd's House in Bend would run the day-to-day operations of the new winter shelter. Lodise said with COVID-19, it's likely they will need more staff on hand, to alleviate some of the new barriers.

"We really want to have the shelter in place so that when the cold weather hits, we'll be able to get people out of the potentially deadly weather and into a safe place," Lodise said.

Lodise said COVID-19 has prevented many people from being able to utilize shelters and various services provided for those in need.

"Once shelters open and services become available, we could see people swarm to the shelters, to get services they haven't been able to get," he said.

Once a location is found, the new warming shelter is expected to be open Nov. 1 through the end of March, to allow five months of winter shelter.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content