After years of not having a long-term homeless shelter, Redmond could now be in the position to be home to two in the near future.
Shepherd’s House Ministries, which operates the long-term homeless shelter that just opened in Bend, is now working to open another shelter in Redmond.
And Bethlehem Inn, which operates a homeless shelter in Bend, is aiming to open a high-barrier shelter in Redmond by August, said Executive Director Gwenn Wysling.
The most recent Point-In-Time count, which surveys how many homeless people are living unsheltered on a given night in January, showed a 13% increase in Central Oregon’s homeless population. In Redmond, the homeless population roughly doubled from 89 people in 2019 to 189 in 2021, according to Point-in-Time data.
“As our city has grown, so has the need for homeless services,” Redmond Deputy City Manager John Roberts said in a statement. “The development of these shelters in Redmond by Bethlehem Inn and Shepard’s House are a catalytic step forward in addressing needed resources.”
Dave Notari, the director of development at Shepherd’s House Ministries, said the organization has been trying for more than five years to find shelter space in Redmond.
The situation changed when the pastor of what is now a former church contacted Shepherd’s House to let the organization know it would no longer be occupying a building at 1350 SW U.S. Highway 97, Notari said.
The church for years has been used as a temporary warming shelter, Notari said.
At this point, Notari said Shepherd’s House is in discussions to purchase the building and is working with the city on permitting for the site.
The shelter will provide both emergency shelter services and long-term services, Notari said. The goal is to have residential programs in place to teach the people living in the shelter how to run the emergency shelter.
It will be a low-barrier shelter, meaning anyone is welcome regardless of addiction.
The shelter could host roughly 20 to 30 people, he said.
“We’re super excited. This has been a long-term vision of ours,” Notari said. “We know … that this is a huge need and that this population is growing just like it is in Bend.”
But fundraising will need to be done and contractors for interior improvements will need to be secured before this shelter can become a reality, according to Notari. Finding a contractor available to do the work could take a while, Notari said, given how much construction work is already happening in Central Oregon.
Notari said Shepherd’s House hasn’t set an official dollar amount it hopes to raise, but said fundraising efforts will step up this fall.
“This is our opportunity to really grow and expand in a meaningful way,” Notari said.
People interested in donating toward this shelter can email Notari at firstname.lastname@example.org.