It was already past the worst of winter when I set foot inside the Sagewood Sanctuary on Greenwood Avenue, near Bend's downtown. The year 2018 won't go down as one of the worst winters, but for someone who lives without permanent—and properly insulated—shelter, temps that dip below freezing pose a host of challenges and dangers. Any winter is a bad one for those who don't have a home.
Advocates for the homeless population in Central Oregon continue to work on obtaining land they can use to build a permanent encampment for houseless folks in our area—but in the meantime, Sally Pfeifer and her crew at Pfeifer & Associates weren't going to stand still waiting for someone else to open a temporary warming shelter. I'd heard from other community leaders about the need for such a facility—and hopefully, that will be a project that city or county leaders take seriously in the future.
Currently, the Source staff nod for Best Community Problem Solving goes to Pfeifer. In February, seeing the need to act right away, Pfeier and her team opened a critically needed warming shelter in her own private building, which by day plays home to those seeking support during drug and alcohol treatment. The Sagewood Sanctuary is permitted to hold up to 20 people overnight when temps go below freezing. It's far from a permanent solution to homelessness, but it's a move in the right direction.