December 15, 2022

City Club of Central Oregon was proud to host  “On the Margins In Our Towns”–an interactive forum on houselessness across Central Oregon with the public, community leaders and representatives from the houseless community.

Thank you to the Community Advocates for sharing their expertise for this forum:

  • Donna Burklo, Family Kitchen:
  • Evan Hendrix, Shepherd’s House:
  • Gwenn Wysling, Bethlehem Inn:
  • Amy Fraley, City of Bend:
  • Cheyenne Purrington, Deschutes County Coordinated Houseless Response Office
  • Shelly Smith, Oregon Child Abuse Solutions
  • Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, Mosaic Medical:
  • Rodger Moore, Epic Property Management:
  • Johannah Johnson, Thrive Central Oregon:
  • Nicky Merritt, Central Oregon Villages:
  • Jim Porter, Central Oregon Villages:
  • Josh Reiher, MD, Mosaic Medical:
  • Eliza Wilson, J Bar J and co-chair of Homeless Leadership Coalition:
  • Erik Nelson, Central Oregon Veterans Outreach:
  • Kathy Schroeder, Non Profit Consultant:
  • Chesed Leon, Thrive Central Oregon:
  • Sophie Elliott, Thrive Central Oregon:
  • Morgan Schmidt, Founder Pandemic Partners:


Bulletin Coverage


HUD deputy secretary talks homelessness in Seattle and where she’s seeing progress

Oregon Values and Beliefs Center Survey

City Club of Central Oregon brings people together to discuss homelessness, housing issues

Feedback from Table Discussions:

The format of this program asked attendees to discuss the issue of houselessness with community advocates at their tables and then report back on their discussion to the room. Here are some key takeaways from those discussions. These are unedited and represent the view of individuals in the room.

  • It used to be that many were one major or critical event away from houselessness but now it seems many are only one small event away from same
  • DeeDee at Habitat for Humanity has developed a graphic that illustrates the Affordable Housing Continuum that many thought was GREAT
  • Upside from COVID for Family Kitchen was that it allowed them to focus on their “wheelhouse” (providing nutritional meals) and to partner with other providers allowing them to focus on theirs.  In the case of Family Kitchen they have been providing meals to some homeless shelters, allowing them to focus on their core work.
  • No carve out in CO for people with income<30% of median income
  • One of the biggest challenges is NIMBYISM / the compassion gap that the house less and their advocates face. How can we close the gap to help get to solutions faster.
  • Building relationships is important.
  • Bring home sharing to central Oregon as a prevention effort.
  • Community needs to know more about the barriers to help people out of houselessness: things like showers, laundry, how to manage “basic essentials” when you are I sheltered and working or looking for work.
  • Have a SURGE of affordable housing options created. And find more funding for houseless but also those who need support to keep up with rent and housing expenses.
  • Medical services need to be integrated with houseless population support. Alot is connected with social determinants of health.
  • # of families at risk; evictions increase 2x each month; steps to prevent eviction, not knowing how to find them, “pride” on seeking resources; wait list for subsidized/affordable housing; we’re at the beginning of our housing crisis
  • Challenges are lack of funding and access to mental health services. Hope for this to change based on coordinated effort from the Coordinated Houseless Response.
  • Truly affordable and accessible housing must be addressed, put people in homes, a right to housing?
  • It’s not just housing, we need that wrap around service of supportive housing. Housing by itself doesn’t solve the issue.
  • Support for care takers and care coordinators. Avoid burnout
  • Coordinating resources are hard and a continuing need
  • The “off ramp” from homelessness is *very* challenging and can be compounded by transportation, documentation., safekeeping of possessions, substance abuse, pets/children, etc.
  • More detailed data to assist myth busting (see Lane County)
  • Need for multi-generational housing (see Bridge Meadows)
  • If a room of people like those here today can help dispel the myths presented, we can make a big impact to advanced change.
  • We need housing at a variety of levels and options
  • Need a SURGE of affordable housing options
  • Housing authority to extend to those at 50-60% of AMI.
  • City fees for builders discourage building affordable units in Bend and there are not any regulations requiring the building of affordable housing in developments.
  • How do we create more services and remove barriers?
  • A matrix of causes that all must be addressed.
  • Better coordination, especially in healthcare
  • Three year waiting period for housing
  • What the community does not realize how many are at risk risk
  • Need onsite services: bathrooms, transportation, laundry, showers
  • Bring the houseless into our communities.
  • Need good paying jobs for those living here
  • Dignity matters
  • Lack of warming shelters region wide
  • Deschutes County Mental Health is critical for support
  • Reliable transportation is critical
  • Sometimes we need capacity and not just more funds
  • Systems navigators/advocates to walk alongside each family
  • Private market will not solve the housing crisis
  • Permanent supportive housing with onsite management
  • A large % of the houseless in Central Oregon are children and families. Higher than the national average.
  • Rental caps have caused landlords to raise rents whenever they can.
  • The cost of living vs. wage gap is the biggest cause of homelessness

Next Steps:

  • If everyone had only one takeaway from todays forum it is for everyone in the room to become “Vocal Advocates for Affordable Housing” in our community
  • Would like to know more about homesharing
  • How can we better support homeless families with childcare and support services
  • Why are their barriers/criteria for some shelters and can these be lowered to accommodate more people?
  • Can there be a central resource that is one-stop we can provide to people on the front line?
  • Look to the Houston housing first approach
  • What other similar sized cities have better success creating housing and what were their strategies?
  • Invest in our workforce
  • Do Point in Time count more often
  • Make housing a right.
  • Incentive affordable housing.
  • Identify early enough to intervene when its not all accessible information? Need a Homeless Screening Tool
  • Helping kids outside the school day
  • More shelters
  • Tell success stories
  • Outreach is an opportunity. Connect with people and build relationships. Focus on the individual path the stable, secure and permanent housing.
Opportunities for further discussion in the community:
Date: Thursday, January 19, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Mountain View Fellowship
Remote Viewing: The event will be live streamed. Channels to be announced
Prior to the forum, the panelists will share dinner with guests of the Winter Shelter. Dinner to be provided by Family Kitchen.
The Panel:
Chief Devin Lewis, Redmond Police Department
Steve Curley, Director Redmond Economic Development Inc.
Kieth Leitz, Director of Legal and Human Resources, City Attorney at City of Redmond
Rick Russell, Pastor Mountain View Fellowship and Redmond Safe Parking Program
Kara Pileggi, McKinney-Vento Liaison & Foster Care POC | Redmond School District
Colleen Thomas, Homeless Outreach Services Supervisor | Deschutes County Behavioral Health

Louise Kaplan, Host Wednesday Point on KPOV and member Rotary Club of Redmond
Tim Trainor, Editor Redmond Spokesman