City of Bend takes next step to develop outdoor shelters for unhoused community members
At their meeting tonight (Nov 3rd, 2021), City Councilors supported a scope of work to design and operate outdoor shelters (also referred to as “managed camps”) that are intended to provide safe places for people to reside and services to assist residents with transitioning to permanent housing. The scope of work will be part of a formal request for proposals for service providers interested in operating outdoor shelters in Bend. The request for proposals is expected to be released in mid-November.
“We have community members who need a safe place to call home,” said Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins. “They need a place where they can be treated with respect and dignity as they access the services and support they need to transition into stable housing. Outdoor shelters will help us provide that for our community.”
As potential sites are identified, the City will work with the highest scoring proposers to match their proposals with the site or sites throughout the City that best fit their proposals. A map of City-owned properties that was shared with Council Wednesday is available online. Before being considered as a potential outdoor shelter site, any of the City-owned properties on the map would need to be reviewed to consider: existing uses on those sites, additional criteria for outdoor shelters and compatibility with submitted proposals. In addition to City-owned properties on the map, there may be other publicly- or privately-owned properties that are geographically dispersed throughout Bend that could be considered.
The scope of work reviewed by Councilors says that outdoor shelters will provide individual shelters and 24-hour on-site management seven days a week. They would also have full fencing with gate access, trash enclosures, a pet relief area, and office space for on-site management.
The scope of work for operating the outdoor shelter also includes providing essential services and supportive services, including but not limited to:
- Restrooms and showers (may be via portable units or mobile service)
- Daily food service
- Storage for personal belongings
- Trash removal
- Mail services
- Case management services
- Coordination of resources towards permanent housing
- Healthcare, health screening, and/or health benefit enrollment
The scope of work also requires a Comprehensive Management Plan. The plan will address the safety of clients, the neighborhood and the outdoor shelter site. It will also include outreach plans for shelter residents and the surrounding neighborhood.
“City Council has set a clear goal of serving some of our most vulnerable community members by providing more of the shelter space that we desperately need,” said Bend City Councilor Melanie Kebler. “Now is the time for the Bend community to support our unhoused neighbors with outdoor shelter solutions that have been proven successful in other cities.”
Councilors also expressed interest in fast-tracking a Safe Parking program site and other support services on City-owned land in Juniper Ridge.
For more information on outdoor shelters, including examples of similar sites in Oregon and frequently asked questions, visit www.bendoregon.gov/outdoor-shelter.
Continuum of Housing
According to the January 2021 point in time count, there are 1,099 adults and children experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon. Bend has fewer than 215 shelter beds. Outdoor shelters are one possible transitional housing solution to help address homelessness in Bend. Mid- and long-term solutions, like generating revenue to support housing and other critical services, the Safe Parking Program and Project Turnkey, are also necessary to support community members as they transition out of homelessness and into stable housing.