C. Oregon homeless shelters prep for busy August

Redmond camps to be cleared; eclipse impact, too

Homeless shelters prepare for eclipse

BEND, Ore. - Central Oregon's homeless shelters are preparing for a busy few weeks ahead of them.  

Between homeless encampments east of Redmond being cleared out, starting Aug. 15, and the eclipse happening Aug. 21, the organizations are getting ready for an influx of new arrivals.

Jericho Road provides meals to the hungry in Redmond. Its chairperson, Dr. Mark Keener, said Thursday, "There's a couple big problems, No. 1, we just don't know what to expect."

"Nothing like this has ever happened in Central Oregon," he said. 

Keener said the group might not be able to provide meals for people on the day of the eclipse, Aug. 21.

Gwen Wysling, executive director at the Bethlehem Inn in Bend, said the inn has been meeting with organizations from across the region to prepare, amid demolition work for a renovation project.

Wysling said if the inn fills up, they'll hand out tents and sleeping bags. But because they're in the midst of construction, supplies are low right now. 

"I think we're all anticipating things getting a little bit busy during that week," she said.

Shepherd's House Ministries in Bend is also preparing for a possible increase in people, said spokesman Dave Notari.

"We really don't like to tell people there isn't room," he said. "That's really hard to do, because people just have needs. So to turn someone away is difficult, so typically we won't do that."

"We have reached capacity a couple times, and we just fit people in," Notari said. "However. we need to do that, and we have a good system that allows us to do that."

The Homeless Leadership Coalition said there's been lots of outreach to the people living in the camps, and they've been given adequate time to move.

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