Work starting soon on homeless shelter
Redemption House Ministries is ready to celebrate the upcoming addition of its new men's homeless shelter at the Madras Highway location.
Leaders of the nonprofit will join other local officials who helped spearhead the shelter effort in hosting a groundbreaking ceremony this coming Monday at the shelter's future site.
The 3:30 p.m. event will feature the typical gold shovels as well as a couple of short speeches about what Redemption House Ministries is doing with the new shelter.
"It is a general thank you to the community for helping us, thanking our partners for joining with us and (telling people) how we are hoping to pull all of this together by Nov. 1," said Greg Sanders, executive director of Redemption House Ministries.
The shelter will be located at 970 and 980 NW Madras Highway and is intended to provide homeless men a place to stay during colder nights during the fall or winter months. The facility will be operated by Redemption House Ministries, an organization that needed to find a new location for its Regeneration House after Crook County officials decided to build a jail on the site of their Northeast Second Street shelter.
After vacating the Second Street location in early February, Redemption House Ministries was allowed to shelter men at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church through April. Since May, no men's shelter has operated in Prineville.
Ken Fahlgren, the local public safety coordinating council coordinator for Crook and Jefferson counties, and staff from St. Vincent de Paul of Crook County joined Redemption House in efforts to secure a new shelter location, resulting in Fahlgren finding two vacant lots on Madras Highway as well as a 24-by-60-foot manufactured module.
Sanders said little needs to be done to prepare the site for the modulars. The ground will need scraped, packed, covered in rock and repacked to support the structures, and hookup to utilities will be necessary.
"There are two trees we are taking down," he added. "One of them is wrapped around an electrical pole, which is dangerous."
The shelter location underwent some scrutiny as the Prineville Planning Commission considered the property for use as a homeless shelter. Commissioners took several hours of testimony during a July 18 meeting, where residents raised several concerns about the facility, including the potential for increased crime in the area, loitering or trespassing on or near the shelter property, wastewater management and overall appearance of the facility.
City planning staff added conditions intended to address and mitigate concerns raised by residents, and at a subsequent planning commission meeting, the location received approval. Shelter operators will be asked to landscape the property, which is already designed to look like a standard home, to improve the aesthetics of the facility as much as possible.
"We are hoping to have the majority of that accomplished before we open the doors," Sanders said, noting that a fence around the facility should be competed as well as a gravel parking lot and asphalt handicap parking spaces.
Sanders hopes to open the facility on Nov. 1, and provide 16 beds for men who need a place to stay overnight during the colder fall and winter months. The facility operates as an emergency shelter, its doors opening each evening at 5 p.m., closing by 10 p.m., and reopening at 6 a.m. when occupants will be asked to leave for the day.
"It's really exciting how it is all coming together and seeing that it can happen before it gets way too cold," Sanders said. "It is great to see how the community has come around. There has just been so much help and assistance to get this all together."