REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond winter shelter opens at Mountain View Fellowship Church Tuesday for its ninth season. "We’re expecting more guests than ever in Redmond, at our winter shelter," Andrew Hoeksema tells KBND News, "And we’re primarily basing that on what we’re seeing in Bend. We’re seeing a higher demand for shelter in Bend than we’ve ever seen before." Hoeksema is the Redmond City Director for Shepherd’s House Ministries, which manages the shelter. He believes the increased demand is due to the new full time Navigation Center in Bend, "So, the longer we stay consistently open, the more reliable and trustworthy we are to the community seeking shelter. And, we’re offering more comprehensive services, which means that people are actually sticking with us, which we think is important in their pathway towards healing and their pathway out of homelessness."
This is the first time Shepherd’s House has been able to keep the Redmond warming shelter in one location for the entire season. By next winter, Hoeksema hopes the new year-round Shepherd’s House shelter near Veteran’s Way will be ready. For now, the building - first a restaurant then a church - is still being renovated. "We made a choice, because our attention is also on the construction project, to just find one location. We also know that it’s better for our guests to just be at one location, so they can find us at the same place all winter." He adds, "And, we’re really grateful to partner with Mountain View Fellowship Church because they have, at their own cost, installed showers and laundry that will be accessible to our guests."
For now, Bethlehem Inn has Redmond's only full-time shelter for the houseless community. But, Hoeksema says, Shepherd's House offers the only low-barrier shelter, which means guests are not required to enter a program or follow certain entrance requirements. Although, he points out, there are rules they must follow while on-site.
Paid Shepherd’s House Ministries staff manage the shelter, but volunteers are needed to help and the community provides hot meals through a Meal Train system. Hoeksema says, "At this stage of living with COVID, we’re really welcoming volunteers back to the shelter, to really interact more with our meal service and interact with our guests in a way we haven’t been able to do for a couple of years. So, we want to invite those volunteers back in to be a part of the community of the shelter. This is our ninth winter doing that in Redmond and we really want to build on that community experience."
The shelter will open every night from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Mountain View Fellowship Church, from November 15 through March 15.