City of Bend Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell is asking Bendites to open their space to those who need it during the winter weather — the unhoused community.
“It is a big ask, but it is so important for those in our community who need this shelter. It could really save lives,” said Goodman-Campbell.
She is also reminding the community about shelter code changes that make it easier for shelters to house people.
“Previously the ability for an organization to open up an emergency temporary shelter in the winter has been dependent on the city issuing a declaration of emergency for winter weather,” said Goodman-Campbell.
But City of Bend Housing Director Lynne McConnell says this is not the case anymore.
“We’ve now created a provision to help providers and other interested parties create shelters any time of the year in recognition of the greater need,” said McConnell.
This does not mean anyone can open a shelter in any space. City approval is still required.
“It could be a full permitting process. In other cases, it’s an administrative approval, and so we can walk folks through all of that information,” said McConnell. “Staff are here to help.”
Central Oregon Daily News reached out to Bethlehem Inn, a homeless shelter operation in Central Oregon, and asked what advice it has for someone who wants to open their space to house people.
“I would invite people to come serve a meal at Bethlehem Inn, Shepherd’s House, Jericho Road,” said Executive Director Gwenn Wysling. “Find out the population that population that we’re working with and, again, tending to what some of the challenges are. Volunteer and ask some questions among staff and learn more about how they can be apart of the solution.”
Goodman-Campbell said resources are on standby.
“The city and the coordinated houseless response office are ready to help businesses or organizations who want to provide the space and kind of match them up with organizations that can help provide the services and run the shelters,” said Goodman-Campbell.
If you are interested in opening a shelter space, you can reach out to Amy Fraley, the senior program manager of houselessness services for the city at 541-323-8550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.