▶️ State legislation speeds construction of tiny home village for homeless

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There’s another village of tiny homes to shelter homeless people under construction, and it’s scheduled to open this spring. 

St. Vincent’s Place dodged the NIMBY bullet and is getting built quickly while similar projects are meeting loud opposition. 

Ten tiny shelters and a community center are now under construction at St. Vincent’s Place along Cleveland avenue in southeast Bend.

The 9-foot by 11-foot sleeping units will have electricity and heat but no water.

The community building will provide bathrooms, laundry, showers, kitchen and dining area.

The project is moving along quickly – which is hardly the case for similar projects planned by the city of Bend.

“This is on private property so there was no review process necessary,” said Gary Hewitt, St. Vincent de Paul Bend Executive Director. “We are able to build under House Bill 4212 which allowed some leeway. It expedited our construction so we could get around some of the red tape that might have slowed everything down.”

The shelters cost about $11,000 a piece to build. 

The community building is estimated to cost about $90,000.

Funding for the project comes from a Housing Urban Development grant, donations from individuals and Deschutes County which chipped in  $125,000 for operating funds, security systems and landscaping.

“We have large numbers of people who have jobs, go to jobs every morning but live in their car,” said Phil Chang, Deschutes County commissioner.

There will be rules and expectations including no alcohol or drugs, and weekly and monthly goals for each tenant living in St. Vincent’s Place.   

A certified mental health counselor will supervise the residents and help them progress through a structured program. 

“Everybody’s journey will be a little different. Some may need to obtain a birth certificate from their home state so they can get an Oregon ID and go back to work,” Hewitt said. “It’s hard to work if you don’t have a safe place to come home to at night and if you don’t have a place to shower, do laundry and eat. For some it might be as simple as that. Others might need physical or mental health diagnosis so they can apply for disability and then Section 8 housing.”

Deschutes County is also sending American Rescue Plan money to the Shepherds House in Redmond to accelerate opening of commercial kitchen that will provide meal service to residents experiencing homelessness in Redmond.

 

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