BEND, OR -- Frigid temperatures are expected to continue in the High Desert, at least for another couple of days; and local homeless shelters are doing what they can to help those forced to live outside.
David Notari, with the Shepherd’s House in Bend, tells KBND News generous Central Oregonians are giving needed items, but donations go out faster than they’re coming in. "Those sorts of cold weather items, they come and go really quickly. A lot of times a homeless person will need more than one jacket just because, in this kind of weather, a jacket will get weather and they’ll have to take it off and put another one on. So, it’s a whole management system that they have to negotiate; it’s really challenging."
Notari says they are limited in how many men they can house overnight, but they try to provide those who show up at their door with cold weather gear. "Jackets, blankets and then, if I were to add to that, it would be gloves and sleeping bags, even tents. Those five things, I think, are the most practical things for men and women who are just stuck and they need to be able to survive under a tree somewhere if they can’t find shelter. We do provide shelter, but we have limitations."
He says they’re feeding up to 200 people a day and try to help get them out of the cold, when they can. "It’s probably a bit of a transition for the homeless population because they’ve sort of been coping," says Notari. "But, now with the weather changing and the temperatures especially dropping, that’s when people realize ‘I can’t, literally, survive out here; I have to get inside.’ So, we will see an increasing number of folks knocking on our doors wondering if they can stay. We do our very best to get as many of them on a cot in a warm place with a meal."