BEND, OR -- The Bethlehem Inn's newly constructed family services building is nearly ready to start serving families.
Gwenn Wysling, the Bend shelter's Executive Director, says furniture is being assembled and the rooms outfitted, this week. She admits the transition has been hectic, but she's glad they've been able to continue helping those in need, "The process has been planned out such that we don't ever have to have a disruption of services. Now that we have this building up and running, we'll take the trailers away, and the 1970s family building will be going away. It has really been beyond its expiration date." But, she says there are a few final steps before residents can move in, "We're working as quickly as we can to get the staffing level that we need, and getting the furniture in place so we're able to make sure that we're ready when families are coming to us in need."
Construction began in September. The new facility includes office and meeting spaces, two dining rooms and a commercial kitchen, and will allow the inn to serve 10 families instead of the current five. The kitchen and both dining rooms are now open, allowing volunteers to cook and serve meals for all residents, on-site.
The homeless shelter plans to build a new housing facility for single residents, too. Wysling says now that the new family center and commercial kitchen are finished, the next phase of construction should go even more smoothly.