BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Following a highly competitive national recruitment, Deschutes County and partnering cities Bend, La Pine, Redmond and Sisters have hired Cheyenne Purrington as Central Oregon’s first Houseless Strategies and Solutions Director.
Purrington, who will start work next Monday, will lead the newly created Coordinated Houseless Response Office. The Office will streamline the work of dozens of local organizations serving our regional houseless population, as well as enable a community-wide approach to addressing houselessness under a shared set of principles, priorities and strategies.
The County-Cities Coordinated Houseless Response Office has a Governing Board of Directors made up of one representative from the Board of County Commissioners and one representative from each city council.
“We are pleased to hire someone with Cheyenne’s expertise and track record to serve as the Houseless Strategies and Solutions Director,” said Patti Adair, County Commissioner and Chair of the Governing Board of Directors.
Andrea Blum, Sisters City Councilor and Governing Board of Director, noted, “Out of four excellent candidates, Cheyenne stood out with her experience working to resolve barriers facing people who are houseless.”
“We look forward to the continued collaboration with the County and our other three cities and are very fortunate to bring to our region someone with Cheyenne’s vast experience and passion for this complex issue,” commented Bend City Councilor and Governing Board Vice-Chair Megan Perkins.
Colleen Scott, La Pine City Councilor and Governing Board Director remarked, “Cheyenne’s passion, dedication and personal approach to moving people into housing was evident throughout the interview process. Her hands-on experience related to the very complex issue of homelessness is going to make such a difference in Deschutes County.”
“I look forward to having someone with Cheyenne’s experience provide important leadership as we work to find solutions on homelessness,” stated Redmond Mayor and Governing Board Director George Endicott.
Deschutes County and the Cities of Bend, La Pine, Sisters and Redmond are recipients of House Bill 4123, which will provide $1 million in funding over two years to operationalize coordinated offices to strengthen our communities’ houseless response.
Purrington recently served as the Executive Director of the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless and has provided strategic consulting for numerous homeless-serving nonprofits and public agencies in California. She has nearly two decades of experience supporting diverse teams and collaborating with community stakeholders to address homelessness.
“I’m honored to join the excellent team already working hard to end houselessness in Deschutes County,” said Purrington. “Our goal with the Coordinated Office isn’t to add more layers of bureaucracy, it’s to quickly evolve our entire ecosystem of care – to make it more efficient and more effective. In the short term, we’ll stay focused on implementing proven solutions based on data. At the same time, we’re planning ahead for more affordable housing and robust services to help prevent and end houselessness.”
“We have a unique opportunity to move our response efforts in the right direction and end the trauma of houselessness for our most vulnerable neighbors,” Purrington said. “Houselessness is a complex topic, but its solutions are quite simple. We know what works, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Requests for community speaking engagements with the Coordinated Houseless Response Office can be arranged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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