REDMOND, OR -- Shepherd’s House Ministries opened its new Redmond location before the facility’s planned renovations, in response to this week’s heat wave. "For all of us in Central Oregon, we’re going to be uncomfortable all week when it’s hot. But for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, they have nowhere to go inside the air conditioning. So, we’re really providing a comfortable place for them to spend the majority of their day," Andrew Hoeksema tells KBND News, "We’re open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., we have volunteers bring in meals, we have water bottles and Otter Pops."
Hoeksema is the Redmond Director for Shepherd’s House. He says the building on Highway 97 near Veterans Way doesn’t have a lot of amenities and it can't yet house overnight guests. But, it has a few critical features, "A big room with air conditioning, as well as refrigerators fully stocked with water bottles and ice. So that if people really come in out of the heat and they’re uncomfortable, sweating, skin is red, we’re actually trying to get them to cool their body temperature down for their own safety."
Hoeksema says it is large enough for nearly 100 people to get out of the heat. While their first priority is the houseless community, he says everyone is welcome, "We could accommodate a lot of people and we’re willing to take people in. Even if people are, frankly, really uncomfortable in their home, they could just come seek cooler temperatures and water bottles here."
Shepherd's House is accepting donations of bottled water and frozen snacks, "We’re also partnering with other service providers, including the county and other local non-profits who are going out to where people are camping and making sure that they can take cold water bottles and ice straight from our building out to where they’re going to help find people who may be suffering, as well."
Donations can be dropped off at any of the Shepherds House cooling centers: in Redmond at 1350 S Hwy 97, or in Bend at the Lighthouse Navigation Center (275 NE 2nd St.) and the original shelter at 1854 NE Division St. Sign up to volunteer or make a financial contribution online.
Bethlehem Inn also has an immediate need for bottled water for its Bend and Redmond shelters. The Inn’s bottled water supplies are running very low making this need urgent. Donations of cases of water (12- 16 oz bottles) will be gratefully accepted at Bethlehem Inn’s Bend shelter location located at 3705 N. Hwy. 97.