By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
There is a new place in Bend for homeless people to go on these cold winter nights.
It took months of coordination and planning by multiple organizations and now the work is paying off.
The Bend Winter Shelter opened Tuesday night in northwest Bend
“This is really important because there is a great need in Bend to get people off the streets on very cold, potentially deadly winter nights,” said John Lodice, Director of Emergency Services for Shepherd’s House Ministries.
The new shelter is located in Deschutes County’s Adult Community Justice Building, also known as the “work center,” on NW Britta Street in Bend.
Sheriff’s office work crews were only using half the building, so Deschutes County offered it in response to requests for shelter space.
“This is the right time, right place. I’m so thankful the Board of County Commissioners reached out to us and we are happy to help our community in this much-needed way,” said Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson.
The Bend Winter Shelter is professionally staffed and supervised and will operate from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven nights a week until March.
It features beds, showers and meals for 48 people per night – with separate dorms for men and women.
“When people realize they can stay here consistently, that it’s safe and warm and they’ll have their needs met here, they’ll come in large numbers,” Lodice said. “That will relieve the stress on other shelters. We won’t have to worry about being over capacity at the Shepherd’s House in Bend.“
Along with representatives from Deschutes County, Shepherd’s House and Neighbor Impact, the sheriff’s office new K9 officer, Copper, took a tour of the new shelter Tuesday morning.
Homeless advocates say this “low barrier to entry” shelter will save lives of people who have nowhere else to go.