Deschutes County Commissioner signs letter
REDMOND, Oregon (KTVZ) – A coalition of 25 local organizations and 80 individuals has signed an open letter encouraging Redmond city councils to donate a portion of the city’s COVID-19 relief funds to two conservation projects that are helping to alleviate would increasing homelessness in the city.
Mosaic Medical, the St. Charles Health System, the Homeless Leadership Coalition and the Central Oregon Health Council have joined efforts led by members of the Stable Housing and Supports Workgroup, which reports to the Health Council for the health goals set out in the Regional Health Improvement Plan To tackle the community.
The collective letter came after a recent separate vote by the city council to present the budget adjustment to fund the Oasis Village and Bethlehem Inn projects that they had previously presented to city officials.
“Access to safe and stable housing is an essential factor for health. Patients who are not housed are more likely to suffer from almost all types of chronic health problems, and many in need of consistent treatment, which is difficult to come by without stable, reliable housing. If I could mandate shelter or safe shelter for each of our patients, I would, ”said Brian Sullivan, MD and medical director of the Mosaic Redmond Clinic. “We hope the city council takes this into account when allocating aid to programs that help protect Redmond’s most vulnerable residents.”
The letter argues that “Redmond City’s investments in homelessness relief address critical community health needs” and that these two projects fill known gaps in Redmond’s homeless support system for families and individuals.
“Supporting the development of Oasis Village and the expansion of the Bethlehem Inn into Redmond will help alleviate the existing burden on health care providers, crisis services and Redmond residents currently sleeping outside,” the letter said.
The letter calls on the city council to “reconsider the proposals for using federal aid to meet our ongoing efforts and the other local investments made in these two projects.” Health care providers and health systems are struggling to respond to rising homelessness without adequate resources, and the experience of homelessness often creates new health problems and exacerbates existing ones.
Deschutes District Commissioner Phil Chang also signed the letter, stating, “I believe the district should invest in these important projects that will help our homeless neighbors stabilize their lives and get back on track. I hope the City of Redmond will work with the county on these investments. We must all work together to tackle homelessness and curb the growing number of homeless people in Redmond. ”
The 2021 point-in-time census in central Oregon documented 1,099 people homeless in a single night in January, a 13% increase from the previous year. According to the latest official census, at least 184 people lived in Redmond who were not housed, but beds in emergency shelters are virtually non-existent.
“If someone is homeless in Redmond tonight, they can sleep on a park bench or in their vehicle if they have one,” said Bob Bohac, who works with Jericho Road on the development of OASIS Village. “Until the Bethlehem Inn or Winter Hut opens, there will be no available accommodations.”
About Securing Central Oregon:
Our Mission: Central Oregon FUSE mobilizes resources to provide housing and support services to people with long-term homelessness to improve community health, safety, and stability. FUSE works with regional health systems, homeless service providers, and affordable housing developers, and is a member of the Central Oregon Health Council’s Stable Housing and Supports Workgroup.