BEND, OR -- The Bethlehem Inn begins the process of moving 80 residents in to a new facility for single adults on Monday. Kim Fishbach, with the Bend homeless shelter, says the increase in space can't come fast enough, "We’ve been making due by putting some additional bed space in the men’s and women’s lounges in the old building over the last few weeks. So, we expect that demand will continue and carry us into the new building, with even greater demand." She tells KBND News, "We’re seeing an even greater demand than we’ve ever seen before. We’re not quite sure what the dynamic is that’s causing that. But, I can tell you, that the new facility is going to provide shelter for 112 adults and we will probably be at that point, come Thursday, very easily." Typically warmer weather eases some of the pressure on local homeless shelters. But Fishbach says that hasn't been the case for several years.
Currently, single adults are housed in a motel built in 1966, which has only 80 beds. Fishbach says it's slated for demolition next month.
In July, the Inn opened a family services hub (pictured) with a commercial kitchen and space to house 10 families. While construction is nearly complete at the campus on North Highway 97, Fishbach says fundraising to pay for the work is not, "We are still in need of $200,000, so we’re asking for the community’s help in helping us reach that final goal. And, we’re hoping to fulfill that funding need by the end of this summer."
Bethlehem Inn asks that members of the community wanting to donate items to the shelter wait until next week, after the move is complete, to ensure the safety of everyone. Cash donations can always be made online.