After a stand still and pause on funds towards a homeless shelter in Redmond, Bethlehem Inn is finally receiving the money they need.
Deschutes County Commissioners voted unanimously to fund $450,000, helping turn the Green Way Motel into Bethlehem Inn’s second location.
“I’d had hoped that we could co-invest in this project, but at this point in time the City of Redmond is not ready to do that, so the county agreed to pick up the remaining $450,000 on this project,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang.
Originally Redmond City Councilors agreed to pay $450,000 of the needed $900,000 to complete the project, but later put the money on hold over concerns over how the money should be spent, leaving county commissioners to make the decision to fund the entire $900,000.
“We are not creating places where a person experiencing homelessness is going to permanently be,” Chang said. “The idea with a project like Bethlehem Inn is that you come into Bethlehem Inn, you get some stability, you get some support, you get some job matching and you are hopefully able to exit out of there for a certain number of weeks and be employed and have a place to live.”
“People ask the question, whose job is this,” Chang added.
A question raised during a Redmond City Council meeting Tuesday night.
“I don’t think we should be funding these at all. They should be funded by social service organizations and by the County and State,” said City Councilor Clark-Endicott.
“I disagree with my colleague’s that say this isn’t a city issue,”said City Councilor Clifford Evelyn. “It is a city issue because they are in our city, and they are family members of other families of this city and the fact of the matter is we cannot leave them out in the cold.”
By a 4-3 vote, Council decided to stick with the pause on funding and wait for the county’s decision.
Executive Director of Bethlehem Inn Gwenn Wysling says the funds will help finish the project.
“Knowing that the funds are there, we can now order the beds and supplies we need,” Wysling said.
Chang hopes the City of Redmond will partner with the county on upcoming homeless projects.
“It’s not going to be a perfect and smooth path getting to the eventual solutions, but I do hope through all these discussions, we are moving towards a collective effort among the cities and counties and service providers will help us put a dent in homelessness,” Chang said.
Wysling hopes the project is up and running by the end of October, giving people a warm place to stay during the winter.