At the Feb. 2 Bend City Council meeting, Councilors approved a contract with NeighborImpact to operate a temporary shelter that will add up to 40 additional shelter beds in Bend through May of this year. The temporary shelter, located at 2346 NE Division Street, will open later this month and provide guests access to case management and a pathway to stable housing.
Opening the temporary shelter is in response to the lack of capacity at the shelter located on NE Second Street. It also supports continued public health efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
“This temporary shelter is located at the motel we purchased with the state funds through Project Turnkey,” said Recovery Strategy & Impact Officer Carolyn Eagan. “It will still eventually be used as a permanent emergency shelter, but we have an immediate need for more temporary shelter beds now. That’s why we’re using it as a temporary shelter until renovations can be completed and we open it as a permanent emergency shelter this fall.”
The contract with NeighborImpact is not to exceed $200,000. It is funded from the portion of the City’s General Fund that was authorized for housing and houseless services. The City will submit for reimbursement from FEMA for any approved expenses related to this contract.
City Council has a goal to create housing or facilities to house 500 homeless individuals on a temporary or permanent basis.
Council Update on Temporary Housing Strategies
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Councilor Megan Perkins shared an update on the City’s temporary housing strategies. Because of the broad community interest in housing and houselessness, Councilors have added a new standing agenda item to Council business meetings to provide regular updates on work the City is doing to address houselessness. In addition to the Division Street Shelter (Project Turnkey) updates provided above, highlights from the Feb. 2, 2022 update include:
1) Efforts to increase temporary housing capacity
· Outdoor Shelters: A contract to begin Phase I of the process of creating two outdoor shelter sites (a Senior Women’s Shelter with 10 sites, location TBD, and a Tiny Home Units of 6 sites, location TBD), is anticipated to come before Council on March 2.
· 2nd Street (a designated permanent warming shelter): Operated by Shepherd’s House with a capacity of 90 beds, the facility is consistently full. The City has received a proposal to operate location as Navigation Center and that contract anticipated to come to Council on March 16.
· Temporary Shelter (Rainbow Hotel): The Council approved the purchase last month of this hotel for a potential of 40-60 rooms. Closing is anticipated in the spring, following due diligence. The City will issue a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) from organizations that could operate the facility, potentially open this summer.
2) Efforts to improve efficiencies and partnerships
· City Councilors and Deschutes County Commissioners met last week and reviewed a narrative and strategic plan proposed by the Emergency Homelessness Taskforce. There was unanimous support to continue moving forward with the efforts to form a Collaborative Office on Homelessness.
· HB4123 to fund Collaborative Office: The City of Sisters, La Pine and Redmond have all been named in the bill along with the City of Bend and Deschutes County; there are seven other City/County pilot sites listed in the bill, which is being considered in the legislative session with possible hearing dates of February 8 or 9.
· City staff continue to meet regularly with area service providers to coordinate resources and assess challenges in providing support for individuals camping throughout the city.
- Over this past week the team has given 72-hour notices in more than 20 areas along 2nd Street between Emerson and Irving for reasons including garbage, debris, obstructions in the rights of way or things that obstruct clear vision at street intersections, driveways, and alleys.
· Contractor Central Oregon Bio Solutions was on site Monday and Tuesday this week for clean-up efforts and may possibly be again Friday.
· The City is planning to post some notices on Hunnell Road later this week in targeted areas, related to topics such as rights-of-way obstructions and trash clean-up needs.