BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's largest homeless shelter has transformed over the last two years, thanks to a $9 million capital campaign. Work to expand the Bethlehem Inn began in 2017, with a new family facility opening last summer. The singles building opened this spring, and the old motel that used to serve as the primary shelter was torn down in June (pictured above). Executive Director Gwenn Wysling says one project remains, "By the end of this month, we are going to have the parking lot that is much needed for all the residents that are now staying at this expanded community shelter, here in Central Oregon."
But, Wysling tells KBND News, the fundraising effort isn't quite over, "We still have just over $100,000 that we are looking to the community to, at any level, step forward and really help us in making it over the finish line before the end of summer." She adds, "This whole process has spanned so many years, since Bethlehem Inn started, to finding its permanent home, and we are so close at this point."
Wysling hopes the community will come check out the new facilities on North Highway 97, learn about the Bethlehem Inn's history and vision, and get involved, "The name of the campaign, 'Transforming Lives Together,' is really what we as a Central Oregon community are doing, together." The campaign funded the new building for 10 families - double the number of the previous facility - a building for singles, a commercial kitchen in between two dining rooms, and added security features.
The shelter will celebrate all its progress with a benefit concert featuring the local band Precious Byrd, August 18. Click HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.