▶️ Cooling shelters offer temporary relief for Bend homeless community

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Higher temperatures mean higher risks.

“We thought it was really important that we get people out of that very hot temperature,” John Lodise, Shepherd’s Houses Ministries director of emergency services said. “Which can be sometimes even life threatening.”

It is what convinced a non-profit and church to team up and give Bend’s homeless community temporary places to beat the heat.

Shepherd’s House Ministries will welcome guests on 2nd Street, in what used to be Bend’s warming shelter, Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. this week.

“If they stay with us regularly overnight, they can stay where they normally sleep, but just rest there during the day,” Lodise said. “If they don’t normally stay with us, we’ll find some comfortable spot for them.”

First Presbyterian Church is offering a helping hand this weekend.

“In a perfect world in a couple years we don’t have to have impromptu cooling stations,” Morgan Schmidt, pastor said. “We have infrastructure in place that can serve our neighbors.”

Even Deschutes Public Library is acting as a resource.

The library is removing its two hour time limit put in place for COVID safety.

“We want people to have as much time as they need to get away from the heat,” Todd Dunkelberg, library director said. “All of our buildings across the county are fully air conditioned.”

Cooling shelters weren’t part of the plan prior to last week’s forecast, but organizers quickly realized it would be necessary.

“Hot weather can have serious health effects on people who may already be in a vulnerable state,” Lodise said.

Shepherd’s House and First Presbyterian are also offering guests “beat the heat” essentials.

“Cold water, Gatorade, like electrolyte tablets, any kind of sunscreen, deodorant, hats as they head back out,” Schmidt said. “We’re trying to resource them as best we can with what they might need.”

Actions like these that can make all the difference in record-breaking temperatures.

“So the same as we protect people from freezing to death in the winter,” Lodise said. “We want to protect them from the sun in the summer.”

Shepherd’s House and First Presbyterian are accepting cooling shelter donations.

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