▶️ Oasis Village opens as temperatures plummet, sheltering 20 homeless people

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Oasis Village — a transitional housing shelter — opened in Redmond last week as the weather turned bitter cold. Most of the new residents are locals previously living on the streets, in camps or moving from shelter to shelter in search of someplace warm.

“The price of housing kept going up and up and up and we had to move out,” said John Breen Sr. For the past four years, Breen, his wife and son have lived in their car, in homeless camps and moved from shelter to shelter.

“This is pretty nice. We don’t kicked out in the snow anymore. Shepherd’s House is only nighttime. Daytime you’ve got to get out, whether pouring down rain, freezing or snowing, you’ve got to go out,” Breen said.

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The Breens now live at Oasis Village on Highway 126 east of Redmond, just north of the airport.

“Right now we have 15 sleeping units or cabins. Five have double beds. Ten have single beds. They have a little closest area, shelves and a built-in desk,” said Eleanor Bessonette, Oasis Village interim executive director. “They have outside storage sheds that are lockable and waterproof. There’s also storage under their beds in each cabin.”

Oasis Village is a non-congregate shelter, meaning residents have private sleeping quarters — tiny, 100-square-foot cabins that are warm and dry.

The residents gather in a community center to cook meals, do laundry and receive professional support.

“They are all interested in learning how to get off the streets and into housing,” said Alison McKinney, Oasis Village program manager. “Our purpose for the first little while that they are here is to build the hope that that’s possible.”

Several Oasis Village residents already have approached staff ready to begin working on goals. The program is designed to meet them where they are at and move forward.

Length of stay will be dependent upon the personal situation of each resident, and the availability of permanent housing opportunities. After an initial stabilization period, each guest will be required to make progress toward housing stability to continue residency in the village.

“Folks have expressed to us how grateful they are to be warm, dry, and safe. They love having their own heaters they can adjust up and down. One even expressed excitement about curtains. Just being able to have that little bit of privacy they haven’t been able to have,” Bessonette said.

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