Redmond’s newest low-barrier homeless shelter is getting ready to open its doors. Oasis Village will welcome its first group of residents next week on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
The first-of-its-kind approach — one community building surrounded by 15 tiny cabins — is located just north of the Redmond airport off of Highway 126. The location allows for easy access to a bus stop for the homeless who need to reach it.
Village Chair Bob Bohac has been trying to bring a resource like Oasis Village to the Redmond homeless community for a decade.
“Oasis village is meant to be a tiny shelter village cabins for the unhoused that are looking for a way out of homelessness,” he said.
Since the shelter is low-barrier, villagers don’t have to be clean to meet the living requirements. And they can stay up to two years.
“Even though it is a low-barrier, we expect people to honor the rules and to work towards safe and secure housing,” Bohac said.
Vice Chair James Cook says this new approach offers a different way out of the juniper forest, through connections.
“One of the things about homelessness is that it does isolate people,” Cook said. “We want to reconnect both among individuals that are living here, but also reconnect the people who are living here with the community.”
Bohac’s goal with the village is to reduce the homeless from near 200 now to under 50 in 10 years.
“We’ve established very good rapport and relationships and a level of trust that is not easy for individuals that are out here,” Bohac said. “They’re believing that we can help them and I’m not sure that they would extend that trust and faith to terribly many people other than those of us who have been working with them.”
So far the village has very high interest. The cabins are already accounted for and there is a growing waiting list.
“These people have a lot to offer our community if we just give them a chance,” Cook said.
Oasis Village plans to build 10 more cabins by the end of the year, helping accommodate some of that additional demand.