BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is a step closer to creating short and long-term housing for homeless men recently released from jail. County commissioners decided Wednesday to start negotiating with non-profit Free on the Outside to build and operate a facility for up to 24 people on post-prison supervision. The county’s Community Justice business manager Trevor Stephens told the board of commissioners how on-site management might look, “Based on their current model, they rely heavily on community support providers, work source programs, and likely recovery mentors in terms of just being there, being on site and being part of that location.”
The provider operates a similar facility in Oregon City. The county’s Adult Parole and Probation department will work with Free on the Outside to a find a property and provide oversight when it’s running. County commissioners say there is an urgent need for the facility. The goal is to have the facility open in January, within the governor’s timeline for the Multi-Agency Contract (MAC) grant of $1,078, 518. It was acknowledged by the three commissioners and staff how soon that is. “We are definitely concerned about that, but we believe the project is fairly important for the individuals, and clients, and our community. So, we will do our best to try to get it moving forward,” Stephens said.
“This is the governor's emergency order dollars, homeless housing shelter. So, this is really trying to implement something from an emergency order. So, the whole timeline's been tight the whole time anyway,” said Commissioner Tony Debone. While DeBone, along with Patti Adair and Phil Chang are concerned about finding a location, they unanimously agreed to award the contract. “This would be a great tool in Central Oregon. And we also know that some of the motels and hotels being transitioned to housing facilities for people have taken some rooms offline. I mean, it's a changing dynamic out there right now,” Debone said.
The next step, following a two week comment period, will be to negotiate a contract with Free on the Outside. Target date for the opening of the facility is January 9th, 2024.