About five houseless veterans will move into the Central Oregon Veterans Village this week, with about 10 more to come once the shelter is fully completed. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday ended the three-year-long process to get the shelter built.
Bend Heroes Foundation conceived of the project and Central Oregon Veterans Outreach will manage the camp, and funding came from both public and private sources. The City of Bend, Deschutes County and private donors ended up spending about $1 million to get the shelter started.
The village-style houseless shelter is the first of its kind in Central Oregon, and its arrival coincides with an increase of 74 to 89 unhoused veterans in the last year, according to the Point in Time count.
"I'm just thinking of the homeless veterans that are going to be warm and dry and well-fed starting next week," said Dick Tobiason, chairman of the Bend Heroes Foundation, during the ribbon cutting.
The 15 shelters neighbor the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office's public safety campus on Bend's northside.