A newly formed non-profit organization named Bend Humanity Coalition has launched in Central Oregon, with the intention to work "toward a more humane, safe and responsible approach to homelessness," according to an announcement from the coalition.
The coalition formed after two men living in a homeless camp on Hunnell Road in Bend died during the heat wave this summer, according to the announcement.
Jeff Eager, a consultant to the coalition and a former mayor of Bend, said in a written statement that the coalition exists to show city leaders that the homeless camps in the community are "unacceptable."
"It is not ‘welcoming’ to our neighbors experiencing homelessness to create an environment in which they perish on our streets; that homeless camps, while most dangerous to those who live in them, also create risks to surrounding property owners and residents and reflect poorly on our community," Eager wrote.
The coalition will begin reaching out to Bend residents to provide input on homelessness issues to the Bend City Council and other public bodies, according to the announcement. The focus will be on enforcing existing laws and ordinances discouraging camping on public property in addition to the city's investment in homeless services.
More information about the non profit is available at www.bendhumanitycoalition.org.