As we approach the coldest weekend of fall so far in Central Oregon, and with winter coming, shelters like The Lighthouse in Bend are become increasingly important for unhoused people.
The City of Bend says it has increased overnight winter shelter capacity from a maximum of 60 people to 100.
“We’ve been at 90% capacity for most of the last few months. We do anticipate that when weather gets colder they’ll be more demand for shelter,” said John Lodise, director of emergency services for The Lighthouse.
Warming shelters are normally utilized if the temperature outside is forecast below 20 degrees, according to the city.
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Central Oregon Daily News Chief Meteorologist Dorrell Wenninger says this weekend will most likely not get that cold, but it will get pretty chilly at night, which will impact those without shelter.
“That’s going to be hard on a lot of people so they need to be able to get in here when they’re cold,” said Theodore Smouse a resident at The Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse Shelter is ready to take in as many people as possible this weekend.
“Do we have a limitless capacity? No, we don’t. I think at this time, though, we’ll be able to handle the numbers that we see this weekend,” said Lodise.
In addition to more overnight winter shelter capacity, the City of Bend has helped create 28 rooms with Project Turnkey, assisted in establishing 10 safe parking sites and funded projects like the Veterans Village.
The only change Theodore would make with the shelter he stays at: “I want to be able to get in here earlier when it’s cold.” The check-in period for a bed at the shelter opens at 6:00 p.m. and closes at 10:00 p.m. every day.
The Lighthouse shelter says, to prepare for winter, it needs hand warmers, blankets, jackets, hats and gloves. You can find out more ways to support The Lighthouse at the Shepherd’s House donation web page.