BEND, OR -- The new women and children’s center run by The Shepherd’s House has been open less than two weeks. But, Director of Women and Children's Ministries Gloria Hall tells KBND News the facility is filling up quickly. "We have room for five, we have four in there now. So, we have one opening and we have a lot of people calling for that opening. I just got a call from a lady who has one child and she’s pregnant. And she said, ‘in fact, I’m starting to have pains, and I think I might have this baby today; and I have to be out of this house in the next three or four days.’"
Hall says the facility at Bear Creek and Dean Swift Road is not a "shelter." The single women who move in need to be prepared to make long-term life changes. "They come into a three-month basic services, it’s a stabilization phase. There’s usually a lot of PTSD during that time, so we have a counselor on staff that works with them. Then, we have a chemical dependency counselor, too. So, those are the two presenting issues, usually."
Shepherd's House Executive Director Curt Floski says he knew the center would quickly reach capacity. "We have over a thousand children and women that are homeless, in some form or fashion. Right now, we run the Redmond cold weather shelter and 50% of those accessing that shelter are women and they’re living in their cars, some of the camps, or they simply don’t have a place to go. It’s truly a huge crisis for us right now." Floski says last year, only about 1/3 of those at the Redmond cold weather shelter were women. He says they can help with emergency needs at the main shelter in northeast Bend, but womena aren’t able to stay overnight; and the Bethlehem Inn is consistently full.
Floski submitted a conditional use permit to city officials this week, asking to expand from five to nine residents. "The bigger vision is to expand that to a 40-bed-plus facility for women and kids. We have another piece of property that a donor has purchased. We’re in the first phase of the capitol campaign to begin to move forward on that and it’s about a $1.2-million project."