▶️ Bend warming shelter reflects on 1 year of service; expects busy winter

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It’s been about a year since the warming shelter on Northeast Second Street began operating year-round.

Officials with Shepherd’s House, the organization in charge of running that shelter, said they serve about 60 people per night and that number will go up as the winter season approaches.

“We’re finding that, the longer we’re open, and being open every day, and our guests not having to worry about us closing, that they rely on us more and more,” said John Lodise, Director of Emergency Services for Shepherd’s House Ministries, “That they come to view this more as a place that they belong and want to come to and feel that this is their place.”

When Shepherd’s House initially opened the shelter it provided about 20 people per night a place to sleep, meals, donated clothes, and even supplies for their pets.

As word got around about the shelter its numbers have increased.

“I know there’s a lot of people that are thankful here for this center, I know I am,” said Dennis Hauserman, shelter resident.

With ODOT clearing some prominent camps around highway areas, the shelter expects to accommodate those campers.

“At the beginning, I wouldn’t say we expect to see large numbers coming from those locations here. Later on, as we grow and as more people come to rely on us, then some of these folks may make their way here,” Lodise said.

Shelter organizers say it will be a busy winter.

“We’re expecting that we’ll have to be ready to operate at our full capacity nearly every night during the winter,” Lodise said.

One way to help out the northeast second street shelter is by volunteering or signing up to provide a meal, dinner or breakfast, for shelter guests.

Shelter organizers hope the community can show up to support and get to know the residents.

Beyond shelter from the cold, residents search for connection.

“I’ve never done this before in my life, and I’m 63 years old. There are good people here. They’re just down on their luck. Everybody gets that way once in a while,” Hauserman said.

The shelter opens to those who need it at 6 p.m.

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