The Lighthouse is helping houseless families with children to achieve safer, more private living space, and at the same time, be intensively connected to housing opportunities and other supportive services. The Lighthouse is partnering with J Bar J and Deschutes County to divert families from low-barrier shelter to their own private motel rooms. This removes a number of safety risks regarding the sheltering of children in low-barrier shelters. It also replaces the desperation and worry that houseless parents feel for their children with the recognition that they are valued, they are cared for, and they need not face their situation alone.
One family helped by the program teaches us why this is true. A Native American woman in Jefferson County found herself suddenly homeless and unsheltered with her five children on the day the children’s father was declared an unfit parent by authorities. The children ranged in age from five to fourteen years old. The woman was unable to find any nearby shelters that could accommodate a family of six persons, and after being turned down for the third time, was in her car with her five children heading for Bend and The Lighthouse. Because she called ahead, The Lighthouse and J Bar J began collaborating on a diversion to a motel. At first, it was difficult to locate a motel that could accommodate a family of six. However, before the family reached Redmond, a motel in Redmond was able to provide a suite with a kitchenette for the family to occupy. The mother was very grateful that she could care for her family in this way. Once the family was settled into their new quarters, J Bar J immediately began engagement regarding the needs of the family and responsive services. Thus, the family was not only safe but had the ability to focus on planning their future.
A challenge here is that funding for this diversion program is limited, and it is unclear how many families will be able to receive the safety and promise that this program offers.
-John Lodise Director of Emergency Services
- 2022-23 Redmond Winter Shelter: over 200 individuals served with two weeks left in the season
- 2022-23 Redmond Winter Shelter: 28 guests per night in February, the season average after 110 nights is now at 24 overnight guests per month.
- On the single night of February 24, when temperatures fell into single digits and lives were at risk, The Lighthouse and the Redmond Winter Shelter together sheltered a total of 175 persons.
- Funding for the diversion program — room to request as much as $5000 per month.
- For The Lighthouse — gloves and hand warmers