As a judge’s ruling Monday cleared the way for the closure of Hunnell and Clausen roads and the clearing of homeless encampments, Bend shelters are reporting they have some beds available. But space is limited.
Director of Navigation Services for Shepherd’s House Ministries Evan Hendrix says their two low barrier shelters have availability.
“We’ve got a hundred bed limit capacity here at the LightHouse Navigation Center,” Hendrix said. “For the last few weeks we’ve been in the mid-80s. Last night we were at 88. That means there are 12 beds available for tonight, but that varies night-to-night depending on who shows and who doesn’t.”
The other shelter is on Franklin Avenue. Hendrix says 10 beds are available, but it is not a walk-up access. They also give priority to families with children and those who are medically vulnerable. The Franklin Avenue Shelter has a 60 bed capacity.
Stepping Stone is another low barrier shelter managed by NeighborImpact. It has a 56 bed limit.
They currently have three rooms pending intake in the next few days. Upon completion of those intakes, Stepping Stone shelter will be full.
Hunnell Road resident Michelle Hester says she would be willing to move into the Lighthouse Navigation Center, but she says the decision isn’t that easy for others.
“Moving into a shelter, we still have to get rid of our RVs because there’s no places for them. That’s our homes you know? We shouldn’t have to give them up,” Hester said.
Hester says other Hunnell Road residents are lost now that the sweep is going into effect.
“Some of us are taking it OK. Some are taking it pretty rough. We’ll lose everything out here so, we just don”t know what to do,” Hester said.
The City of Bend says there are a total of 529 beds year round beds through 16 different shelters.
According to a Homeless Leadership Coalition point in time count for 2023, 1,647 people experienced homelessness in Bend — a 28% increase from last year.