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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.

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Bola Gbadebo

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

Comments

17 Comments

  1. KTVZ, please go back to St Vincent’s leadership who have been providing homeless shelters and services for years and ask why it is taking over 9 months to get the operation started? The programs already exist at other St. Vincent’s sites in the country, their building permits were probably fast tracked and plenty of people ready to get the building built. One only has to see how quickly other new construction takes place and no reason why this was not done by the end of this year.

      1. The city is already fast tracking permits for the homeless shelters plus giving them a large discount on SDCs. Additionally,’hardly any rain this summer so weather was not a factor. Politics should have any impact on a site already providing services and they have been grant a number of grants from a variety of state and local agencies, so money was not the issue. Seems they might be in over their heads in how they provide services. Bu then Bethlehem Inn knocked a recently renovated hotel for a parking lot, so non profit management might not be in big supply in Central Oregon.

  2. They think 6,000 dollars will be enough to move into a new place in an area where the rent is 2k a month for a studio and landlords want first, last, and a 1,000 dollar deposit plus proof of employment?

    Programs like this are the same of bad comedy that “job fairs” are. The only thing that is going to solve homelessness is giving people a home. Everything else is a bandaid that will just cost more in the long run.

    1. Yo Blue, got some news for you sister, Homelessness won’t and hasn’t ever been solved as long as there are people that want to live their lives on their own terms – outside the demands of society and community. Homelessness also won’t ever be solved as long as addiction and alcoholism are prominent in our world. I’d like to think you could find time too thank this organization for their efforts…..I’ll hold out hope you will when you’re feeling better.

    2. Well, if rent is 2k a month, and a landlord wants first (2k) last (2k) and a deposit (1k), this brings us to a total of 5k. If they have 6k, they do indeed have enough.

  3. This actually has a chance to work. Programs like this will help folks to break out of the cycle of homelessness. Giving them a place to pitch a tent and do drugs and calling it managed is such a disservice to everyone. Finally I see a program around here that has promise. I hope some measuring stick is used to gauge the success or lack thereof.

  4. Job well done St. Vinnies. Perhaps Bend’s $135,000 a year “Recovery Strategy and Impact Officer” Carolyn Eagan could stop in and take a look at a program that actually has a chance at some success. Transitional by design with accountability of behavior gives those who really want off the street a chance – and that’s all anyone could ask for. When I hear the bell ringing this year there will be some extra into the kettle from me.

      1. Nice piece of problem solving my friend. In the meantime, while Ms. Eagan continues to drain the budget with her esoteric duties and bloated salary, the city could direct some of the funding already set aside for a managed camp to operations like this that have a good track record.

  5. This project sounds well thought out, and a more complete program to help homeless transition back into a meaningful place in society than so many other attempts of addressing one element of the homeless problem without coordinating with those who may provide the others.

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