Central Oregon Daily▶️ Bethlehem Inn pauses Redmond shelter operation; considers long-term options

▶️ Bethlehem Inn pauses Redmond shelter operation; considers long-term options

▶️ Bethlehem Inn pauses Redmond shelter operation; considers long-term options

▶️Bethlehem Inn pauses Redmond shelter operation; considers long term options

An emergency homeless shelter in Redmond is pausing operations so it can figure out how to support the need for long-term transitional housing.

Bethlehem Inn has moved residents out of its Redmond shelter to its main facility in Bend. This comes as the number of homeless people in the region continues to rise.

There’s a combination of factors driving this temporary pause of operations at the Bethlehem Inn’s Redmond shelter. Lower-than-expected utilization of the facility and new shelters opening lead the list.

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Bethlehem Inn bought the old Greenway Hotel in Redmond with Project Turnkey funds and converted into an emergency shelter with room for 88 people. It never reached capacity.

“We are looking to take the 22 rooms and see how we can serve more people based on what we are seeing is the demand,” said Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwenn Wysling.

Wysling said there is demand for transitional housing — places where people can stay long term as they save money for rent or a down payment on a home.

“We are building that boat as we are sailing it. We are in the process of designing it. We’ve been looking at what’s happening locally as well as statewide. We’d like to have something by the first of the year,” Wysling said.

A new, low-barrier shelter operated by Shepherd’s House Ministries is opening in two weeks, about a mile away.

“I expect we’ll reach capacity by the holidays. We’ll be pretty busy if not completely full,” said John Lodise, director of low barrier shelters for Shepherd’s House Ministries. 

Guests at the new Shepherd’s House Redmond shelter will not be required to undergo background checks or be sober — a distinct difference between the two shelters. 

“With an accountability-based program that Bethlehem Inn has always offered, we want to make certain that individuals that come seeking shelter, help and hope that they want it as much as we want it for them,” Wysling said. 

“I believe that they are on a break and I believe they are going to open by January with the prospect of their guests being able to stay longer. We look forward to that,” Lodise said. “The more beds we have, the better service we can provide everybody.”

For now, the Redmond Bethlehem Inn is preparing meals in its commercial kitchen for Jericho Road — another non profit involved in helping the homeless.

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