By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Central Oregon Veterans Outreach and Bend Heroes Foundation are working to build 12 small, stand-alone houses on a vacant lot on Poe Sholes Dr. in north Bend by December.
The groups plan for the units to provide shelter for some of Central Oregon’s homeless veterans.
The weather — which is expected to dip below freezing temperatures this upcoming weekend — is a motivator to get construction on the units started.
“It’s going to be 17 degrees this weekend and that’s very cold,” Erik Tobiason, president of Bend Heroes Foundation, said. “If you’re living outside, that’s very, very cold.”
On Monday, Tobiason presented an update of the project — called the Veterans Village — to Deschutes County Commissioners.
“As soon as we get approval on our building permit, then we’re ready to go,” Tobiason said. “I would expect groundbreaking around December tenth or so.”
Twelve units are already fully funded, but Tobaison is still working to secure more than $400,000 in funding for the second phase of construction, which will include a community building and at least three more units.
“We still have a bit more funding to raise for our community building and for landscaping and some of the improvements that will be done long term, but I feel like we’re in great shape,” Tobiason said.
The community building would be a hub for services that would help veterans get back on their feet.
“We could do a much more effective job at finding permanent housing if we could bring them here under one roof and provide case management on a day-by-day basis and not have to go out and find them,” Tobiason said.
More information is available at the Veterans Village website.