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St. Vincent De Paul of Bend developing ‘St. Vincent’s Place’ structured program to serve homeless

New 10-unit housing community to help homeless transition into stable living

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- St. Vincent De Paul in Bend is taking its mission of being community-focused and helping those in need to the next level.

They’re in the process of building St. Vincent’s Place, a 10-unit village with a community center to temporarily house the homeless on its property on Southeast Third Street.

The vision of St. Vincent’s Place took on a new form six months ago as a structured program that will serve as a pathway from homelessness into permanent housing.

Executive Director Gary Hewitt said homelessness has become an increasingly serious issue in the Bend community, and it’s important for residents to band together to find solutions. 

He pointed out that the objective of the village is to help people transition into stable living situations, not perpetuate the problem. 

“It’s not meant to be a place where a person just moves and lives. It’s meant to move through,” Hewitt said Wednesday.

Hewitt said the community center will include laundry facilities, four bathrooms, two of which are ADA-approved, a dining area, a kitchen and a porch.

Each unit will accommodate one person. The residents will have rules and expectations to live by, which Hewitt said will be in their best interest.

“We’re going to have a site manager. He’s a certified mental health counselor,” Hewitt said. “And we’re going to have each tenant paired with a volunteer coach. We’re going to help them move through whatever obstacles they're facing to help them succeed in life and move on.”

The site manager, with the assistance of volunteer coaches, will be directly involved in creating action plans for each resident.

For the first six months, Hewitt said, the rent will be free.

“And then six months of $100 a month,” he said. “That’s not for rent, it’s matching funds and savings accounts. Then a year (it will increase to) $200 a month, and we will match all that. So when a person leaves two years later, they should have $6,000 ready to move into another house.”

The estimated cost for the project is around $600,000. Hewitt hopes to open St’ Vincent’s Place on March 15 and plans to hold a spring open house for the community to view the setup.

Article Topic Follows: Bend
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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

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