An open door
Regeneration House, the local emergency men's shelter, has been open for a month now at its new location, serving an average of seven or eight men each night.
Redemption House Ministries, a faith-based nonprofit organization, operates both a men's shelter and a women and children's shelter in Prineville.
"We believe that any time we give that compassion and that love to people, that gives us the opportunity to be more influential in their lives," said Greg Sanders, Redemption House Ministries executive director.
He referred to a verse in the Bible, Matthew 10:42, when Christ was talking to his followers, "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward."
"As we do that — show that love — then, that brings up the curiosity in a lot of people, 'Why are you being so nice to me? Why are you different from other people that I've experienced?'" Sanders said.
With that, they can let them know that Christ is in their lives, they love Christ, and that's why they want to help them.
"Because of that, we've had a lot of individuals that have made steps to change their lives by accepting Christ into their lives," Sanders said.
Redemption House Ministries needed to find a new location for Regeneration House after Crook County officials decided to build a jail on the site of their Northeast Second Street shelter, which had opened in January 2016.
Last summer, they purchased a manufactured module and land on the Madras Highway using funds from the estates of locals Teresa Iskra and Ermal and Verla Phillips.
The shelter opened Thursday, Jan. 4 with 10 men that first night.
It can house as many as 16 men, but so far, they have not been full nor had to turn anyone away.
"When we see colder temperatures or rain, it seems to increase," Sanders said of the occupancy.
Homeless men are welcome to the shelter beginning at 6 p.m. each evening and must depart by 6 a.m. the following morning, unless there is any precipitation, it is 40 degrees or colder, or if local schools or government offices are closed because of inclement weather. On those days, they are welcome to stay until 8 a.m.
The guests get dinner, a shower, a bed and a sack breakfast. They also get their laundry cleaned.
Sanders said they will have Bible studies or pray with the guests only if they are invited.
"We don't force them," he said. "Our goal is to allow them the respect of what they want to believe and let them know that we have a care for them, no matter what is going on in their lives."