In potentially dangerous temperatures like we are experiencing this week, the City of Sisters continues to operate without a warming shelter for the unhoused population.
“The reason why I’m here in Redmond, Oregon is because, in Sisters, there is no warming shelter,” said George Discullio, a Sisters man who has been taking the bus to Redmond to take refuge in the warming shelter at Mountainview Fellowship Church.
According to shelter managers, Discullio is the only Sisters resident consistently at the shelter. But the reality remains — it’s the closest shelter to Sisters.
This winter, the city has yet to open a space for the unhoused to get out of the cold.
“It’s ridiculous,” Discullio said.
Central Oregon Daily’s Brooke Snavely reached out to the Sisters Cold Weather Shelter Organization on February 1, 2023. The organization declined his interview request more than two weeks later.
I tried reaching city councilors and the mayor, but I did not get an answer to why the city has not opened a shelter space.
“It’s really hard because you can’t go out and find a job, get a shower, be civilized because of the cold,” said Discullio. “There’s nothing there to provide for that.”
The Sisters city manager declined to do an interview but said the cold weather shelter organization is focusing on helping individuals who request assistance.
When I asked Discullio if he has requested assistance, he said, “People don’t know about it. People don’t know how to find that help.”
He added that without the shelter in Redmond, he probably would not survive.