▶️ Full-time homeless service center in the works for Madras


High temperatures have cities and non-profit groups scrambling to find cooling options for people, especially those living on the streets.

In Bend, misting stations went up in transient camps after those two men were found dead last week.

The heat has affected all of Central Oregon, Madras is no different.

The city is currently finding solutions to keep people out of this heat, but they are also looking toward a more permanent solution.

“I picked up people literally off the sidewalk that were in complete exhaustion,” said Jefferson County Faith-Based Network Director Tony Mitchell.

Mitchell opened a cooling shelter June 26 at the Madras Free Methodist Church during the heatwave.

“By the time they got to the center they were so grateful, there were a couple of cases in fact where someone was just on this side of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and we were able to get them in, get some ice on them, get some cold water in them and get them a meal,” Mitchell said.

This week, even with 100-degree weather the shelter is closed.

The Jefferson County Faith Based Network are currently in talks about when and how long to keep these shelters open.

“If we see that there is a 100 degree or so pattern for a handful of days or whatever, we would most likely go into action to reopen our cooling center,” Mitchell added.

In the future those centers may become permanent.

“We put together an application based on the specifications they needed, to go from a part-time warming shelter into a full-time homeless service center,” said Madras Public Works Director Jeff Hurd. “We put together an application and submitted that back in April. It looks like we are going to be successful to be able to get at least phase one, which is about 1.8 million. 1.5 million comes from the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) and the city is allocating $300,000. Also, it looks like though Senator Findley, we may be getting another $750,000 that was earmarked for the project and so that will bring us up to about 2.5 million dollars total, which is right where we want to be in order to give them about a 3,500 square foot building that the Faith-Based Network really needs to service the homeless around here. The plan will be we expect a word any day for design and land acquisition. We will get rolling on that and once that is done we will go get the construction grant and get to building. 

In the meantime, public works is finding other ways to keep people hydrated.

“We always have coolers full of water and ice for them and we have them there and if somebody needs something and comes up and asks, ‘hey do you have any water’ and we are always there to hand them out,” Hurd added.

One popular way to cool down in Madras is the local spray park.

“It’s a great amenity to have in our little town of Madras and I am hoping they can add more things through the parks and rec, but this has been great,” said Madras local Stacey Bruce.

The City of Madras is hoping to have that full-time homeless shelter by the fall of 2022.


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