BEND, OR -- With overnight temperatures dropping below freezing, this week, local homeless shelters are quickly filling up. The Shepherds House reports they’ve had a number of men sleep on emergency mats as overflow, this week. That means many are forced to remain outside.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says officers are often called to check on those without shelter from the cold. "That’s part of our job; to make sure the populace is safe, no matter what condition, no matter the economic background." Chief Porter tells KBND News, "Our mental health unit is in contact with these camps where these people have chosen to live, or are forced to live. We try to hook them up with social services, when available. There’s also some very strong groups within Central Oregon, like COVO – Central Oregon Veterans Outreach. We’ve also got other groups that reach out to them to provide water, fuel and warm bedding."
He says those concerned about the safety of someone living outside can call local law enforcement and request an officer check out the situation.