By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
An arctic blast hitting much of the country hasn’t spared the Pacific Northwest.
Locally, we’ve seen some of the coldest temperatures of the season and a couple of rounds of snow.
Tough conditions, especially for those without a roof over their heads.
“You can’t find a better place to stay,” said Tammy Edgerly, a frequent guest at the Redmond cold weather shelter. “Especially at night and keep warm. Warm food and a nice place to be.”
With her husband Calvin, the two have stayed at the cold weather shelter in Redmond for the last winters.
Their car is the roof over their head for the rest of the year.
“It really does take a toll on the homeless people living on the streets, especially in this cold,” Tammy said. “Emotionally, physically, everything.”
The gym at Mountain View Fellowship Church in Redmond, where the cold weather shelter is located, has been a lifesaver for the homeless.
“To have a place for them to come would be a big difference for them,” Tammy said.
The cold temperatures over the weekend did not increase the numbers of those using the Redmond facility.
That wasn’t the case for the Bend winter shelter.
Director of Emergency Services John Lodise says the Bend Shelter averages around 50 people per night.
“Lately with the weather being cold, with snow on the ground, we’ve easily been over 60 many nights,” Lodise said.
Lodise says the winter shelter takes away one of the stresses of homelessness during freezing temperatures.
“They know it is either going to be very, very uncomfortable, very debilitating or dangerous, possibly life-threatening,” he said. “If they know this place is here every night, they don’t have to worry about that.”
It’s not just the freezing nights that affect the homeless.
“Even when it is only 40 degrees at night, Refrigerators are 40 degrees inside,” Lodise said. “So, imagine just being inside a refrigerator the whole time.”
Tammy and Calvin don’t want other homeless to be afraid to use the winter shelters.
“They treat you with respect, they don’t look down on people.” Tammy said. “It’s really nice.”
The Redmond shelter closes March 15 and the Bend shelter, March 31.
Lodise added that if the weather remains cold after the closing dates, they will keep the facilities open longer.