Bend Warming Shelter Location Identified

The Homeless Leadership Coalition (HLC) has been working with our regional network of emergency and permanent shelters, and service providers to ensure we have a location for a warming shelter in Bend this winter. A warming shelter is vital in order to keep individuals experiencing homelessness warm at night, and save lives.

On October 29 the HLC convened a meeting with community partners and public officials to issue an emergency call for help in identifying a location for a warming shelter in Bend.

After attending the meeting, the Deschutes County commissioners reached out to Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson and asked if a portion of the DCSO Work Center, located on the Public Safety Campus, could be utilized for this emergency need.

The Sheriff’s Office conducted a review of facility operations and, in partnership with the commissioners, has identified a section of the Work Center building that will meet this year’s needs for an emergency shelter location in Bend.

The DCSO Work Center, once used as a home to the Bethlehem Inn, will be made available to shelter up to 48 men and women. Although this does not meet the identified need of 100 shelter beds, it makes a huge impact on sheltering those without anywhere else to go.

Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said, “We are happy to step up and fill this critical void in our community. We understand the importance of having an emergency warming shelter and it worked out to be the right time where we could help.”

The shelter will operate with support from the HLC, NeighborImpact and service providers. The location will be solely run by a service provider identified by the HLC and in close coordination with the HLC shelter committee, and be completely separate from the DCSO in all i ts operations. With funding provided to Oregon Housing Community Services by the Oregon Legislature, the HLC is working with the Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes County to ensure the appropriate measures are being taken to provide safety and security for all shelter guests. HLC will be utilizing paid staff hired by NeighborImpact and will soon have a call out for volunteers to help provide meals and serve as hosts for evening shifts.

Efforts are underway to tentatively open the shelter by mid-December or as soon as possible before the cold of winter deepens. HLC plans, at this point, to be open every night through mid-March. The HLC would like to thank the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes County commissioners for collaborating and making it possible to meet the need of sheltering our community’s most vulnerable this winter season. For more information and questions, please contact Colleen Thomas or James Cook, HLC Co-Chairs.

Colleen Thomas
Homeless Leadership Coalition Co-Chair Homeless

James Cook
Homeless Leadership Coalition Co-Chair