DCSO Work Center To Serve As Emergency Homeless Shelter

Posted on in category Positive News

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office will open its Work Center in northeast Bend as an emergency homeless shelter this winter.

Central Oregon’s Homeless Leadership Coalition made the announcement Thursday, saying the Work Center, once used as a home to the Bethlehem Inn, will be made available to shelter up to 48 men and women. See the FULL ARTICLE & VIDEO HERE.

“We are happy to step up and fill this critical void in our community,” Sheriff Shane Nelson said. “We understand the importance of having an emergency warming shelter and it worked out to be the right time where we could help.”

The HLC has been working with a regional network of emergency and permanent shelters, and service providers to find a location for a warming shelter in Bend this winter. A warming shelter is vital in order to keep individuals experiencing homelessness warm at night, and save lives.

“The Sheriff’s Office is simply making a portion of this building available to fill this urgent need,” said Sgt. William Bailey “If you look at the weather forecast, we are days away from temperatures being in the low teens at night and so this was an emergency need and the sheriff wanted to help.”

In late October, the HLC met with community partners and public officials to issue an emergency call for help in identifying a location for a warming shelter in Bend.

After attending the meeting, the Deschutes County commissioners reached out to Sheriff Nelson and asked if a portion of the DCSO Work Center, located on the Public Safety Campus, could be utilized for this emergency need. The Sheriff’s Office conducted a review of facility operations and, in partnership with the commissioners, has identified a section of the Work Center building that will meet this year’s needs for an emergency shelter location in Bend.

“Actually, one of the great things about this location is it is pretty much set up for us to come in and be able to set up a warming shelter,” said Colleen Thomas, co-chair of the HLC. “There are some renovations the sheriff’s office is making to the facility to make sure it is safe and secure for the shelter guests. But it’s minimal in regards to what other locations might have taken.”

The shelter will operate with support from the HLC, NeighborImpact and service providers.

The location will be solely run by a service provider identified by the HLC and in close coordination with the HLC shelter committee, and be completely separate from the DCSO in all its operations.