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Bend’s new Lighthouse Navigation Center aims to help the houseless gain autonomy, stability

Multi-service hub seeks to provide well-rounded support

(Update: Adding video, comments from Kev Papazian, assistant director of Lighthouse Navigation Center Evan Hendrix)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- “It’s exciting, you know, to see that there’s still compassion to be found, there’s still help to be found, and it’s not just that homeless people are a lesser class of people," Kevin Papazian said Monday. "It’s nice to see people treating homeless individuals as if they’re still human."

Those struggling with houselessness in Bend have a new navigation center that will help get them back on their feet.

“We’re hoping to be able to offer everything a person might need in order to require the services, the support, and the documentation they need to become ready for permanent and supportive housing," Lighthouse Navigation Center Assistant Director Evan Hendrix said. "That could look like pursuing recovery of some kind, it could be like pursuing health insurance, ID cards, drivers licenses.”

Bend's new Lighthouse Navigation Center, operated by Shepherd's House Ministries at its shelter off Northeast Second Street, will also offer employment support, job skill development, counseling, addiction services and housing security, among other types of assistance.

The navigation center opened Monday and is partnering with various local organizations, including Mosaic Medical, Deschutes County Behavioral Health, REACH, THRIVE and the Bethlehem Inn to help houseless individuals beyond the basic needs that most shelters have provided to this point.

“There is much available, but the reality is oftentimes, the system can be hard to navigate, and the resources can be spread around," Hendrix said.

With the ease of coming to one location for help, Hendrix hopes it will help the houseless establish greater autonomy and develop stable and healthy connections.

Two case managers will be on site, working to develop case plans with each participant.

Kev Papazian is from San Bernardino, California. He said although he's received a lot of temp agency jobs, he struggles with finding long-term employment.

“Since my early 20’s, out of college, I’ve been basically hitchhiking around the United States, living in an alternative transient lifestyle," Papazian said.

With support from his caseworker, he said he feels confident in acquiring greater opportunities.

The navigation center is open for day use from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The overnight shelter will operate from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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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