By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Veterans Village—a place for homeless veterans to find shelter and support—is rapidly approaching reality.
Central Oregon Daily’s Brooke Snavely shows us one of the shelters and introduces us to people involved in the landmark project.
“Obviously, it’s a spec front door, three-foot opening on all the units….”
James Lymerick of Hayden Homes is coordinating the construction of 15 sleeping shelters that will soon house homeless veterans on Bend’s north end.
“The idea is to have a little table and chairs here. Bed here. Closet here and a heater. We even built in a vaulted ceiling to make them feel not so enclosed in these spaces.”
Partnerships among state, county, city, non-profits, businesses and individuals are making this project possible.
At J Bar J, at-risk youth are learning construction skills as they help build the shelters.
“I’m learning skills to apply in the real world with, like, building walls and things like that,” said Thomas, a J-Bar-J student. “I get to practice them inside our shop and then come out here and actually put them to use by helping build the homes.”
“Encouraging the kids to look into trade schools, two-year schools for some technical jobs, anything from the medical field to electricians and plumbers, aircraft technicians,” said Robert Periman, J-Bar-J instructor. “All those things are in high demand and they pay very well.”
Veterans Village is a $1 million dollar project made possible by a 10-year free lease of land, waivers of system development charges, volunteer contributions and donations from organizations and individuals.
“A lot of the hard work is behind us. Getting approval from the City of Bend to do this project, getting the lease and memorandum of understanding with the county, getting all of the agreements in place and raising all the money to do this, that’s been going on for almost two years. Now we get to do the fun stuff and build the facility,” said Erik Tobiason, President of the Bend Heros Foundation.
“The shelters will be constructed in the next four weeks. We should be able to go live in mid-May to where we are actually providing the services to homeless veterans.”