Shelter occupancy rates are spiking during this bitter cold weather.
The Redmond Winter Shelter is housing beyond capacity and staying open longer hours because of the extreme cold.
“We are saying on days that stay below 25 degrees, shelters stay open all day,” said Andrew Hoeskma, Shepherd’s House Redmond City Director. “On a day like today we started at zero, but we served a hot lunch just now and then we are up in the 30s this afternoon. We are going to close the shelter and reopen this afternoon at 6:00 p.m.”
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Forty people stayed in the Redmond Winter Shelter located in Mt. View Fellowship Church Sunday night, about 10 more than normal.
Officials say having the ability to increase shelter capacity helps, but does not come close to addressing the need.
“We know there’s more than 100 people camping east of Redmond. This is a four-mile walk from there. I think we need more shelters. That’s why Shepherd’s House will be opening a permanent, year-round shelter in 2023,” Hoeksma said.
Construction on Shepherd’s House Ministries permanent shelter in Redmond is underway.
The facility, a former church on Highway 97 north of Veterans Way, will have a capacity of 44 people with flexibility to house more in emergencies.
“We are getting ready for what will it take once construction is completed to fill it with bunks and beds, tables and chairs. We’ll be sheltering all year round there. We’ll start with 44 year-round beds. We’ll have eight beds for residential internships program for people who have gone through our recovery program to step into job roles there. We’ll also serve three meals a day as we ramp up operations there.”
Hoeksma says if the community keeps donating and volunteering, the permanent shelter should open by later this summer or early fall. That will mark the end of a nine year run during which Redmond churches have taken turns hosting the winter shelter.