BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is looking for an organization willing to open a transitional housing facility for sex offenders and other convicts who struggle to find housing after getting released from jail and often end up homeless. "The goal will be to provide eight shelter-style beds and two more long-term style beds for this population, specifically," Community Justice Department Business Manager Trevor Stephens told County Commissioners Wednesday.
Stephens added, "We currently supervise, consistently, about 25-30 individuals who have restrictions that prevent them from having contact with minors, or that have a condition that requires them to register as a sex offender. It’s extremely difficult to place these individuals in housing within Central Oregon. And so, many of these clients end up camping or they have access to shelter sometimes but not other times." Parole and Probation Officer Heather Simes explained, "They come out of institutions or out of the court system and there’s nothing available. So they are camping or transient - not even a set campsite, which makes the process of supervising these clients, or this population, very difficult."
But, Simes told Commissioners, a facility where several parolees can live together will make it easier for her department to provide appropriate supervision, "You can meet, not only with the person that you’re there to see or the person that you supervise, but also the other people in the home. They all expect and know that you’ll be coming by. It leads to - usually, in my experience - a lot of compliance, because everybody in the home knows that somebody’s PO is going to show up at some point."
Stephens said a little more than a million dollars is available for the project from the Governor’s emergency order on homelessness. The facility could end up in a neighborhood, but must be at least a thousand feet from any parks and schools. Commissioners unanimously approved a request by Community Justice to start accepting proposals from prospective managers.