City of Bend News Release – Houselessness Update 7/20/2022

Bend City Council Houselessness Update – Shelter capacity progress update

Post Date: 07/20/2022 6:40 PM

Councilor Megan Perkins’ update 7/20/22

Councilors just heard about the parameters with which the City is able to develop a camping code to better regulate where, when and how unsanctioned camping can happen on City rights-of-way. We’re starting down the path of developing code and you’ll hear more about what that could look like, and the many different ways you can provide input, over the summer and into the fall.

In the meantime, we have much to celebrate! Our strategies to address houselessness include increasing shelter capacity and supporting services that people need to get back on their feet and into stable housing.

You may recall hearing about a proposal by Central Oregon Villages to pursue a temporary outdoor shelter at 27th Street and Bear Creek Road. In June, Councilors approved a $45,300 contract with Central Oregon Villages to perform community outreach and engagement, apply to the City for approval of site improvements and shelter buildings under state legislation known as HB 2006, and refine the site plan for a Temporary Outdoor Pallet Shelter at Desert Stream Church.

As part of the City’s Phase 1 contract with Central Oregon Villages, on July 14, the organization held an open house to gather information from the neighborhood and address their concerns.   Every table was full. At the event, Central Oregon Villages shared drafts of their Village Handbook, which is a Code of Conduct, and a proposed Good Neighbor Agreement. Central Oregon Villages requested feedback and recommendations on the documents, will review and incorporate feedback and will report back to the Council in the coming months. We want to thank our community for your input!

Another exciting step toward solutions is the opening of the Lighthouse Navigation Center, an innovative and responsive approach to addressing the challenges facing our community. The Navigation Center, a program of Shepherd’s House on Northeast Second Street, is a service hub where multiple providers meet with clients in a single, accessible location.  The Lighthouse Navigation Center Ribbon Cutting celebration took place on July 12 and was well attended by many supportive community members.

In addition to sheltering an average of 95 people per night in June, the Lighthouse Navigation Center enrolled 60 people in its day program which includes individualized case management, skill building, breakfast and lunch. Shepherd’s House is partnering with several resource providers including Mosaic Medical, Deschutes County Behavioral Health, Thrive, REACH, St. Charles, St. Vincent De Paul, Family Kitchen, Bethlehem Inn, The Peaceful Presence Project, and others, to help clients obtain permanent housing, health and stability. This collaborative approach by service providers to meeting the needs of our houseless community is truly to be applauded.

Fifteen people served by Shepherd’s House transitioned to more permanent housing in June. That’s exactly what we all want to see and we look forward to more success in finding stable housing in the future.

The Franklin Avenue Shelter, formerly the Rainbow Motel, which the City bought earlier this year, has 24 rooms and is being used by 43 people at the last count – including households with children. REACH is providing case management. Family Kitchen delivers meals. And, NeighborImpact manages daily operations providing stable and supportive services for families in need. Once again, evidence that collaboration makes a difference.

The Rainbow site is in temporary use as a shelter while the City renovates the Division Street Shelter (formerly the Bend Value Inn).

Renovations on the Division Street shelter are ongoing. Remember that the Division Street Shelter was a motel that the City purchased with state funds known as Project Turnkey. The goal is to create emergency shelter units and we anticipate this being a 28-room low-barrier shelter. The City has a contract with NeighborImpact to operate it when it’s ready.

And finally, we want to acknowledge significant progress by St. Vincent de Paul on their new housing program.  At the end of June, St. Vincent de Paul held a two-day open house for their new housing program that includes a 10-unit village right behind St. Vincent de Paul in southeast Bend. It was expected to open back in March, but was set back due to supply issues. The village has 10 sleeping units and a community building with bathrooms, showers, laundry and a kitchen. Ten adult men and women are expected to move in August. I had a chance to tour this facility and meet with the staff and it is a true achievement and an important step in our shared goal of creating temporary housing in Bend.

As you can see, many important steps in the City’s strategic plan to prevent and end houselessness are becoming a reality. We want to acknowledge the collaboration of our service providers as we expand capacity and work together to provide essential services like food, medical, government assistance, showers, behavioral health support, and so much more. It is truly making a difference and we thank you.

 -Councilor Megan Perkins