BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend and NeighborImpact announced Monday they have partnered to fund the reopening of last winter's warming shelter as a year-round low-barrier shelter for unhoused community members.
The Shepherd’s House Ministries will operate the 70-bed shelter, located at 275 NE Second Street. The shelter will open on Tuesday, June 1, and will run seven days a week from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Case management and supportive services will be provided by the Project S.H.A.R.E. Program of Shepherd’s House and several other agencies to ensure collaboration and continuity of services for guests at the shelter.
"A low-barrier shelter does not exclude persons based on anything except the present ability to cooperate in keeping the shelter safe, peaceful and restful," said the announcement, which continues in full below:
“Having a low-barrier shelter in Bend is an important step towards our Council goal to find 500 beds for our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins. “This public-private partnership is a key investment and can serve as a model for our actions going forward.”
The city and NeighborImpact are funding the shelter by combining dedicated state and federal funds each organization has received for these specific types of services. Each agency will contribute at least $300,000 from federal COVID-19 relief funds received last year, which will provide about six to nine months of initial funding.
The Emergency Homelessness Task Force, a joint endeavor between the city and Deschutes County to respond to homelessness issues, will explore options for long-term funding to support the shelter’s operations year-round.
Low-barrier shelters provide unhoused community members with a safer option than living on the street or in other public right-of-ways, and are an important piece of the continuum of services that can help people find permanent shelter and housing, the partnership said.
Homelessness in Central Oregon and Council Goals
There are nearly 1,000 people who are experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon on any given night. This number includes families with children and youth who do not live with an adult. Learn more in Central Oregon Homelessness Facts & Figures.
To help address issues related to homelessness, the Bend City Council has adopted a strategy to “Invest in programs and partnerships that result in collaborative, concrete actions toward ending homelessness in Bend,” as part of its 2021-2023 Council Goals. That strategy includes creating a five-year Action Plan, exploring and increasing funding sources, and expanding options for temporary or permanent housing.
Supporting Homelessness Solutions
The City of Bend is working with public agencies and community partners to support solutions for houselessness in the Bend community. This includes finding ways to keep people in their homes, provide temporary transitional housing and shelters, and increase the availability of affordable housing. Recently, the City Council adopted a Safe Parking Program to allow limited overnight parking in certain locations for people experiencing homelessness and updated the Bend Development Code to allow temporary housing (shelters) in some commercial zones in Bend.
The city is in the process of applying for a grant from the State-funded Project Turnkey to convert a motel into a shelter for people who are unhoused. The State legislature has approved $2.5 million in funding to open a navigation center in Bend to support unhoused community members. The Sounding Board to House Our Neighbors is working with City staff to make recommendations to update the Bend Development Code to allow for the development of different shelter types in certain zoning districts.
To learn more about what the city is doing, visit www.bendoregon.gov/homelessness.