▶️ Bend City Council hears final proposal on shelter code amendment changes


More homeless shelters are coming to the City of Bend, but shelter codes need to change first.

“Some of the standards being added to this proposal would be parking requirements, maximum size limitations, screening requirements, storage and coordination’s with parks and schools,” said City of Bend Associate City Attorney, Elizabeth Oshel.

These were just a few changes to Bend’s shelter code amendments brought before City Council Wednesday night.

Planning commission and sounding boards both worked on these changes before finalizing recommendations.

“These types of clearer standards let the community, as well as shelter operators and developers know what could be built and where,” said Oshel.

Shelter Code amendments propose three permanent shelter types, outdoor, multi-room and group shelters.

Two temporary shelter types were also proposed: a temporary shelter, and hardship housing.

“A group shelter means a building that contains one or more sleeping areas, an outdoor shelter means a site with multiple mobile or permanent units, multi-room shelter means a building that contains individual sleep rooms for use as a shelter,” said Pauline Hardie with the City of Bend.

City Councilor Megan Perkins also gave an update on houseless funding.

Bend received almost $14 million for allocation through federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The City received $7 million of the allocation in May of 2021, and another $7 million will arrive this coming May.

“The City has invested $12.4 million of the $15 million in state and federal funds to increase shelter capacity,” said Perkins.

$9.4 million has already gone toward purchasing, renovating, and operating the Division St. and 2nd St. shelters.

The $3 million remaining is reserved for outdoor shelter operations. 

“The City directed nearly $2 million in state and federal funds towards supporting service providers,” said Perkins.

City Council will have a public hearing at 7 p.m. on May 4 with the first reading on May 18.

You can read Perkins’ full update here:

When we engage with our community on the topic of houselessness, conversations sometimes include questions and concerns surrounding funding. For example, where does the money come from to support the Navigation Center at the Second Street Shelter? Or for the operation of the Division Street shelter? Today, I want to talk with you about the ways state and federal funds have empowered the City of Bend to invest in supports for our unhoused community members. The sources of revenue I will discuss are being allocated for some of the major investments associated with the City’s strategy to address houselessness.

The federal government launched the American Rescue Plan Act (or ARPA) in March 2021 – a nearly $2 trillion-dollar federal stimulus bill introduced to help the country recover from the health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The City of Bend received almost $14 million dollars for our allocation. $7 million in May 2021 and another $7 million will be allocated this May.

When we talk about state and federal funding used to support Bend’s houselessness related efforts, we are primarily talking about ARPA dollars. The City’s use of this funding stream has been supplemented with federal Community Development Block Grants and some general state funding.

Accessing these funding sources empowers the City to continue to focus local money on supporting City departments and operations.

The City of Bend has leveraged nearly $15 million in federal and state dollars to:

1) increase shelter capacity,

2) support service providers, and

3) address camping in City rights-of-way, all parts of the City’s strategy to address houselessness.

Increasing temporary housing capacity-

First, let’s address increasing shelter capacity. The City has invested $12.4 million of the $15 million in state and federal funds to increase shelter capacity.

  • The majority of those dollars ($9.4 million) has gone toward purchasing, renovating, and operating the Division Street (the Project Turnkey hotel) and Second Street (the Shepherd’s House) shelters.
  • The $3 million remaining is reserved for outdoor shelter operations. The City is continuing to work on solidifying locations where Central Oregon Villages will be able to operate outdoor shelters.

Improving efficiencies and partnerships-

Second; Along with increasing shelter capacity, in addition to the previously mentioned investments, the City directed nearly $2 million in state and federal funds towards supporting service providers.

  • Most of that funding – around $1.6 million – has gone toward planning for a Collaborative Houselessness Office, Outreach Services, workforce development, and community and utility assistance.
  • The remaining $400,000 is devoted to affordable housing projects.

Managing the City’s rights-of-way to improve health and safety-

Finally, an additional $400,000 in state funding will be used to address camping in City rights-of-way. Funds are intended to be utilized for trash pick-up, debris clean-up, abandoned vehicle removal, provision of dumpsters and trash bins, and related employee/contractor costs associated with voluntary trash collection and mitigation. These funds are not intended to be utilized for activities associated with camp site removal.

In addition to leveraging these state and federal funds, the City has used approximately $4.5 million local dollars to purchase the Rainbow Motel. The property represents an important, long-range investment for the City in the Bend Central District. After an initial period (2-3 years) of using it for a temporary shelter, the property will be developed for affordable housing, a new City Hall, a civic plaza, or some other public use. I want to mention it within the context of how we are addressing houselessness, but also emphasize that the expenditure meets a different and unique long-term need.

Finally, $1.5 million has been allocated from the City’s general fund towards houselessness efforts. Most of those dollars have not yet been spent, but the majority will be used to help meet the Council’s goal of creating 500 units to house unsheltered individuals.

I hope this explanation provides insight into the funding being used to address the humanitarian crisis happening in our City. State and federal revenue streams have enabled us to generally conserve our local funds for existing operations and departments. As we build solutions, the focus on where funding comes from and how it is used will remain a critical piece of the puzzle. We will continue to keep our community informed about how we are using funds, where the money is coming from and, most importantly, WHY we are investing in these solutions.

 — Megan Perkins


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