BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Amid an initial spell of sub-freezing temperatures, Bend Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell and other city leaders asked for help from the community on Monday to provide more temporary shelter space, after a recent change in city rules that made it easier to provide such assistance.
The city said recent code changes have made it easy for community members to open much-needed shelters for temporary or emergency use, such as during harsh winters, and city leaders are asking help to the community.
Since the city council adopted changes to the Shelter CodeEffective July, the city no longer requires a winter emergency declaration to allow organizations or individuals to open a temporary shelter.
“Recent code changes were intended to allow community organizations to open shelters when people need them most,” said Lynne McConnell, Bend’s housing director. “The homeless community of Bend needs help. The shelter at the navigation center has been full recently, and people need a place to shelter from the elements at this time of year.
“As winter approaches and freezing temperatures become the norm, hundreds of people in Bend don’t have a warm, dry place to rest and meet their basic needs,” Goodman-Campbell said. “This is a humanitarian crisis, and we need more organizations and businesses in the Bend community to step up and use the tools the city provides to help shelter our fellow human beings and give them the opportunity to find permanent accommodation.
“I call on everyone in the Bend community to look at the organizations and businesses you are part of and think creatively about how you can help provide lifesaving shelter to community members in need. this winter,” Goodman-Campbell added.
Temporary shelters can take many different forms, including cots in a gym, multi-room facilities like hotels, RV parking lots and more. Temporary shelters can be located in many areas of the city and can operate for up to 180 days at a time.
Organizations interested in operating a shelter can partner with a land or property owner. Anyone who can offer services or goods is asked to contact Amy Fraley, Senior Program Manager for Homeless Services, at 541-323-8550 or [email protected] and the city will help connect interested participants.
The city can facilitate the steps needed to set up a shelter and connect participants with partners, including the Coordinated Homelessness Response Office, which can provide technical assistance and support for a interested community organization.
The city has also created a secure parking program that allows landlords or tenants to allow limited overnight parking for homeless people. Secure parking programs are permitted on properties owned or leased by businesses, non-profit organizations, or religious or public entities. Learn more about: Safe parking program.