Social media has been abuzz with reactions to the City of Bend’s decision to close and clean Hunnell Road. Many of those comments are sympathetic to the fact that many have nowhere else to go.
Some groups have stepped up with more than opinions about the homeless in Bend and did something about it.
The Bend United Methodist Church is one group that quickly realized they had something to offer the homeless crisis in Bend and are encouraging others to do the same.
“We had one who was living here who was able to save his money while he was here and is now in school in another state,” said Senior Pastor for the Bend United Methodist Church Jen Stuart. “So, we’re excited for him. And one of our gentlemen has just gotten into affordable housing.”
There are five Safe Parking sites throughout Bend.
The Safe Parking Program lets property owners within the ciy to allow limited overnight parking for people experiencing homelessness.
Stuart says the church community decided to put a couple of pallet shelters in their parking lot.
“To show people that it’s not crazy, it’s very safe, it’s run by Central Oregon Villages, our program is. And we have been able to help people get on their feet,” said Stuart.
Those guests reach out to the host organizations to check for vacancies. Their stays can last months in some cases.
The City of Bend is always looking for new Safe Parking sites and tries to make the approval process as simple as possible. You must have the proper kind of facilities for transitional overnight parking accommodations and follow rules like:
- Includes adequate sanitation
- 150 feet away from schools
- notify neighbors
- supervision of space
Pastor Stuart says partnerships between the city, county, churches and nonprofits are what make this work.
“Even if you have a small space, you can make this happen,” said Stuart. “We can help you make this happen and make space for the over 2,000 people we know are without homes in Deschutes County.”