There are about 1,100 homeless people in Bend and less than half that many beds to shelter them. A new facility opening soon near the Old Mill District will help ease the housing crisis for those who can afford to pay some rent.
The Old Mill Inn and Suites on SE 3rd Street, about two blocks north of Reed Market Road, still looks like a motel. The property is being renovated for permanent habitation. People who live there will pay rent.
“I learned there’s going to be 75 beds at that new property by the Old Mill,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair. “And I know the county has helped pay for seven new cabins at Veterans Village. That makes the total number 587. Not quite 600, but we are getting there.”
Deschutes County and the cities of Bend, La Pine, Sisters and Redmond are using $1 million in funding from House Bill 4123 to coordinate efforts that strengthen the region’s houseless response system.
Among the Coordinated Houseless Response Office’s strategic initiatives: Identify solutions to homeless camps.
Adair says safe parking places are one way to address the problem.
“It surrounds people with social workers, with help. All the little things. Whenever I hear about a family with children, I want to get them somewhere safe — into safe parking. That’s why we are still working on our managed camp.”
Lacking a designated managed camp to send homeless people to, Deschutes County has modified its plan to clear homeless people living on Juniper Ridge.
For now it is providing porta-potties, drinking water, hand washing stations and trash clean up to the camps that remain occupied.