BendC.O. homeless shelters seeing higher demand as winter weather approaches

C.O. homeless shelters seeing higher demand as winter weather approaches

C.O. homeless shelters seeing higher demand as winter weather approaches

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — With the dropping temperatures and recent rain, and some snow in the forecast at lower elevations in Central Oregon, more people facing houselessness are seeking shelter. 

Claudia Bussey has been staying at Shepherd’s House Ministries’ shelter on Second Street in Bend for nearly a year.

With the winter season bringing slick roads and snow, getting around will be a struggle for her.

“They’re helping with me, with getting situated and getting a place and having a roof over my head,” Bussey said Monday. “Transportation at times, because the buses aren’t always going to be useful.”

Evan Hendrix, associate director of the Lighthouse Navigation Center, operated by Shepherd’s House, said they’re seeing a lot more people in need for their daytime operations.

“That means we’ve been averaging about 55 going into the last couple of weeks, and then with the dip in temperature, we jumped up into the mid 80’s,” Hendrix said.

The overnight shelter, typically averaging around 90 people, has jumped to maximum capacity, housing 110 people a night.

The Bethlehem Inn is also experiencing an uptick in houseless individuals coming in.

“We are able to serve more people than we have ever served before with the addition of our second facility now in Redmond,” Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwenn Wysling said.

The Redmond location serves 80 people, in addition to the 140 people in Bend.

Hendrix said the increase is encouraging, in one sense, because the shelter serves as a safe place for many, but there’s also a downside.

“At the same time, it gives us an incredible amount of concern regarding the future seasons and just the upcoming winter months,” he said. “If things do get really cold and nasty, we’re afraid there’s not going to be enough space for the people that would want to be indoors at the time.”

Both shelters reach out to various organizations in Central Oregon for additional support.

From the community, they request monetary support, food donations, and volunteering.

“The many mouths that we have to feed here at Bethlehem Inn, we are working in conjunction with the upcoming Hunger and homeless Prevention Week,” Wysling said. “Nov. 14 is when we’ll be kicking off a food drive.” 

As far as some food items you can donate, Wysling emphasized a need for ranch dressing, in addition to other supplies like toilet paper. For a full list of needed supplies at Bethlehem Inn, click here.

To donate to Shepherd’s House Ministries, click here.

Bussey will find warmth with Shepherd’s House Ministries this winter, but knows for many others, it will be a challenge.

“It’s just day by day, what we’re going to be facing,” Bussey said.

The post C.O. homeless shelters seeing higher demand as winter weather approaches appeared first on KTVZ.
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